A post today from Jodi.
The past few months have been a combination of staying busy establishing Caemon’s legacy and the growing, painful acceptance that he is gone and never coming back. I also had to go back to my teaching job, and in so doing, I drain whatever meager reserve I have just getting through each day. By the time I get home, I’m so exhausted I sometimes don’t speak or move for hours. Though I may be physically and emotionally exhausted, my brain never stops, not even while I sleep. I’m always wondering what I should be or could be doing for Caemon. See, establishing his legacy, making sure people don’t forget the beautiful person that he was is the only kind of mothering I am able to do now, so I am determined to make sure I do it well. His legacy has to be big, important, lasting, and as beautiful as him. If I don’t do this right, I will have failed him, done a disservice to his life and his memory.
Not long after we moved into our new place, Timaree and I brainstormed ways we felt we could best remember and honor our son. We conceived of the book drive, made a commitment to team with LLS and Blood Source to raise funds and awareness, proposed a film project with a filmmaker, and much more. We have t-shirts and other crocodile-branded gear. All over, people are running, walking and riding in his honor, wearing his colors, remembering him. Some of this is very gratifying, especially when I see how his life has inspired people. This special area of Caemon’s legacy is private and unique to individuals; no one controls this piece. One man wears a baby caiman tattoo on his arm to remind him of Caemon’s courage in making friends with his fears; warriors, young and old, still fighting their diseases draw strength from him and also proudly wear their croc tattoos. A gifted musician and dear friend composed a cello piece just for him (and us). He has a bench. Trees have been planted in his name. We tell his story and our own even though it is often painful and leaves us exposed and vulnerable.
There are parts of his legacy yet to be established, some parts that I will never even know about because they haven’t been revealed to me. For me, his legacy is inside. He introduced me to Mamma, the purest part of me. She’s patient, silly, sturdy, protective, and loving. She puts her preoccupations aside to play and be present with children. She’s compassionate and forgives. Every day that goes by when I am not being Caemon’s Mamma, I get further from that person. Working on his legacy, remembering him, writing about him, and telling his story keeps me closer to that woman and to him.
5 thoughts on “what’s in a legacy?”
Thank you for sharing, once again your words are raw and real and painful and inspiring. None of us will ever forget your son, your beautiful Caemon, your story, his fight.
Even without your dear sweet boy, you are still the silly, loving, compassionate lady whose smile shines so brightly in the image above. The endless ways he enlarged and emboldened your heart are a permanent treasure of a legacy.
You sure help me be a better Mama to my own. Thank you for that.
Such a gorgeous photo. Thank you for sharing. Your words have touched me deeply. I relate to the exhaustion of living with the constancy of grief. Yes it does become more manageable as I relearn my life without my son, but there are still times when I’m overwhelmed by absence. Last month it was 14 years since my only child died. This week would have been his 41st birthday. Playful humour and silliness were a big part of our deeply loving relationship, so at 62 I play with teddy bears, tell jokes to Ken’s photo, write him letters on the really tough days and do whatever else it takes to keep the mother in me alive. I will always be Ken’s Ma. I keep my orange Caemon braclets beside my bed. The smaller one is for Big Ted, the large one for me. Sometimes we put them on before we go to sleep, and sometimes we wear them we we go out in the car together.
Hugs from Australia
On Wednesday I’ll be visiting Caemon’s bench with my two granddaughters and thinking about your beautiful boy. As I’ve done before and will continue to do for many years.