It was MY house, but I didn’t feel home. We pulled into the driveway, and I felt a sense of dread. How could I live here without him? How could I do any of it without him?
I opened the front door in a daze, then saw my baby boy sitting on the couch with my sweet sister in law. I took him from her arms, and without a word, I walked directly to his bedroom.
I had left him. Unexpectedly, and without a goodbye. I had been gone for five long days.
But I was home now.
He stared up at me, confused, as I settled into the wooden rocking chair in the corner of the room. His eyes were wide, and he was lying unusually still. His wiggly fourteen-month-old body rarely would pause long enough for me to cuddle him anymore. But this time, he let me cradle him. He stared into my eyes as tears streamed down my face. I kissed him and apologized for leaving him. Again and again I apologized. Crying. Rocking. Caressing his sweet fuzzy blond head. Inhaling his baby smell. Holding him close.
And then I told him. He didn’t understand, but I told him anyways.
His Daddy wouldn’t be coming home again.
I wept as I took in my surroundings. There was a navy-blue shelf, shaped like an airplane hanging on the wall. It was the shelf that his Dad had carefully cut out of wood and painted. He had nailed a wooden propeller to the front, and we decorated the top of it with family pictures. Vintage airplanes, curtains that I had stitched together, and soft striped bedding in the crib. It was the room that I had decorated, while I dreamed of the little boy that would one day play there. I had rubbed my belly, had felt him move inside of me, and had wondered what he would be like.
And now he was here. And he was perfect.
I wanted everything for him.
I didn’t want this.
Our new reality made me feel sick to my stomach. I knew that whether little Hudson knew it or not, his life would never be the same. His Dad had passed away quietly, only hours before.
I was on my own. And though I didn’t want to face it, I was a single mom. Fear overtook me, as I realized that it would be my responsibility to raise my beautiful baby boy into a man, without his amazing Dad. I had never felt so alone or inadequate. I didn’t know what I was going to do.
But I had to try.
I whispered in his ear as I rocked him.
“It’s going to be ok. WE are going to be ok. I don’t know how, but I promise you, I will do my very best. I won’t give up. I promise…”
I held him there for as long as I could, until eventually my mom knocked on the door. My extended family had just arrived.
I wiped the tears from my face, kissed his sweet cheeks, and took a deep breath.
And then I stood up.
Since that day, I have done my best to keep that promise. I haven’t been perfect. I have made SO many mistakes. But I have never given up. I never will.
For him. For all three of my children.
Because, I promised. ❤