A child without a parent is an orphan, and when a spouse loses his or her partner they are called a widow or widower, there is no word in the dictionary for a parent who has lost a child. I am forever changed after the loss of my 20 year old son Jacob after a short 13 month battle with Ewing’s sarcoma on the 7th Oct 2015.
An online creative workshop helped me get through my first year as a bereaved mum. While completing the workshop I came across a free four week, self-paced online photography class called Illuminate – lighting the path to photographic healing. This class seemed perfect as I was using Jacob’s camera and seeing the world through his eyes – the lens of his camera. During the class I had to think of a one word mantra to guide me through the year. As a grieving mum I chose ‘smile’ (see miracles in life everyday) as my one word mantra for nothing is as beautiful than a real smile that has struggled through the tears.
As I entered my second year my one word mantra was ‘focus.’ It was a year to focus on me & focus on my camera skills as an amateur photographer. The stories on my blog site took on a different shape as the words were guided by the photographs taken that year, but they still contained memories of Jacob within every one of them. It was a year to focus to get into a healthier eating pattern with the intent to lose some much needed weight.
My one word mantra in the 3rd year year was an acronym of the first letters of my children’s names – Jacob, Amy, Rachel and Benjamin – JARB. It was the year I tried to be a better version of me, for them. On reflection that year was the hardest one since Jacob’s passing as it became clearer that he wasn’t coming back and these random outburst of raw grief was going to haunt me for the rest of my life, for grief is the price we pay for love. The way we deal with grief is as individual as a fingerprint and DNA.
We are nearly coming to his angelversary, the fourth year without our beautiful brown eyed boy in our lives. The one word mantra that guides me through 2019 is ‘Shine.’ I googled lots of songs and quotes that contained the lyrics ‘shine’ and came up with enough reasons to vouch for my word of this year:
Let your light shine
Shine on you crazy diamond
Behind the clouds the sun (son) always shines
Do what makes your soul shine
A strong soul shines after every storm
Stars can’t shine without darkness
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
Let your weird light shine bright so the other weirdos know where to find you
Rise & shine
You are my son shine
I will continue to find my one word mantras to guide me through each year as I made a promise to myself that I would live out the rest of my life in ways to make Jacob proud and what better way by choosing a word at the beginning of a new year to honour him with.