I wonder how other parents who have lost a child cope with the loss, because I am not coping very well at all. People tell me that I should remember the “special times” that we had together and hang on to that. Platitudes like that are well-intentioned, but in reality are very hollow. You see, because of the actions of my son’s mother, I only had a miniscule amount of time to be with my son, so my memories of him are not nearly enough to overcome the loss of all the time I COULD have had with him.
Prince lived for 15 ½ months. That is about 11,000 hours of life, after he was taken from my house by force by his mother on July 17, 2011, when he was only 17 days old. Of the 11,000 hours he lived after he was taken from me, I got to see him for less than 100 hours. That works out to less than 1% of his life.
Fortunately I do have a few memories I can cling to. Memories of how he would grab my ears to kiss me; memories of his first steps (which he had with me, not his mother); memories of his “first kiss” with a little girl he was playing with during one of my supervised visits at Montgomery Mall (fortunately I got that on video); memories of him playing “hide and seek” with his older brother; memories of him on my lap “helping” me play piano; memories of “family picture day” with both my sons and me dressed in our New York Giants jerseys. But most of all, the memories of him calling me “dada” will be forever locked in my mind. I also know that the last image my beloved son had in his eyes was the image of his father and brother lovingly looking down at him as he went to sleep for the last time. No one, EVER, can take that away from us. So I guess we made the most out of our 100 hours.
But there are “other” memories as well…the “unpleasant” memories that will also be with me forever.
I also have the memories of him seizing in my arms. I have the memories of total helplessness as I watched the EMTs and doctors trying to save his life. The memories of the hours with my attorneys and the numerous court hearings I had to endure just for the right to even see my son at all. The memories of all the lies told about me in the court, the media and blogs that people have relayed to me. The memories of having the police marching into my home to question me as if I was a terrorist and seizing my property to go on a fishing expedition. I also have the memories of being accused of being a “psychopath”, a “killer”, and a “murderer”. Then I have the memories of having my older son taken from me against his wishes. The memories of not being able to grieve over the loss of my son because I was too busy defending myself from the vicious accusations by the media and the Manassas City Department of Family Services who have done nothing but lie to me and my son whom they took from me. The memories of spending every day since Prince’s passing wondering whether this is the day the police come to my door to arrest me for “killing” the son I spent months in court for the right to even see him.
I also have angry memories.
I have angry memories of his mother concealing my son’s medical condition from me. The angry memories of having to threaten to take his mother to court just to get some “bare bones” medical history of Prince so I could pass along that information to doctors if he had another HEREDITARY seizure. The angry memories of being accosted by his mother’s family outside the Montgomery County Courthouse documented on video. I am angry at the death threats I have received “anonymously” forcing me to constantly look over my shoulder as I go about the business of my life. These memories are also indelibly etched in my mind as well.
I try to put these bad memories in the background. But it is hard when I am constantly being bombarded with unfounded accusations, and having to fight not only for my freedom, but for the return of my son from uncaring bureaucrats who have to justify their petty existence by interjecting their biased opinions into the mix. Pray that you never have to go through what I have had to go through.
But the memory I will always have with me is the memory of my precious little boy looking at me, breaking into a big smile and calling me “dada”. They can NEVER take that away from me.
The only consolation I have is the knowledge that Prince is in a better place…in the loving hands of God. Only HE knows why HE took Prince from us at this time. Maybe it was to keep Prince from having to continue to endure the pain of multiple seizures, trips to the doctors and Emergency Rooms, and to keep him from seeing the effects of the constant battle between his parents. I don’t know, but I can rest easy knowing he is sitting on God’s lap and looking down at his brother and “dada”.
God Bless my little boy.