The dark ceiling at night has become my enemy. It doesn’t just stare down at me, the darkness, the void sucks me in. It tortures me. Pretends to lull me to sleep, only to stab me in the heart and remind me that my baby boy, my precious son, is no longer with me. I’ll never hold him. I’ll never throw a baseball with him. I’ll never watch him score his first goal or take his first sweetheart to a dance. I’ll never, because he’ll never. My son, Bennett Jack Lawton, didn’t die because my wife and I didn’t go to the doctors, did drugs, or ate deli meat. My son died, because the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and killed him. Yet because he had grown healthy and big, my wife still had to go through with the birth. The pain I felt knowing that only unhappiness and misery was at the end of the birth, paled to what my wife had to endure both physically and mentally.
Since Tuesday, I stare at my enemy, because I am less afraid of it than I am of the alternative. Like Hamlet, it is not the sleeping that keeps me looking into that dark ceiling, it’s the chance of dreaming. Dreams remind me of what could have been and wake me up to what is. Even during the dreams, I often wake up as my son disintegrates in front of me. Every night, I hold him and every night I watch him die. Over and over again, it doesn’t stop.
Yet, what is the most painful of all is to watch the pain that my wife is going through. All I want to do is take away her pain. I want to make her happy. I want to make her laugh. But I’m powerless. All I can do is be there for her. To listen to her. To tell her that I love her. But ultimately I can’t take away her pain. I couldn’t save my son and I am afraid that I will not be able to save my wife.
I know that this pain, this hole in my soul will always be with me. Regardless if we have 3 beautiful, healthy children, I’ll know that it’s only 3 out of 4. There will always be that black person shadow in our family pictures of where Bennett was supposed to be.
For the first time in my life, I’m completely useless. I can’t concentrate on work or any of the business ideas swirling in my head. I can’t make my wife feel better. I can’t bring myself to enter his room to pack up his baby clothes and blankets. I can’t bring back my son and I can barely hold myself together enough to work through the funeral arrangements that are both something that we would have done and are also mandated by the State of Texas.
If every widower finds his world darkened, than every parent who has lost their only child finds their world to be black. I pray that the sun will rise again, because this gloom is unbearable.