Irene Peterson lives in Sonoma, where she enjoys year-round gardening, swimming, and enjoying the great outdoors with her husband, John (traveling from mountain to ocean in their hippie van). She also relishes time spent with her daughters Michaela and Grace, and grandchildren Hailey and Tommy. Irene lost her beloved son Kai in December 2010.
I have been grieving the loss of my only son for 12 years now. It doesn't feel like that long. There were many years that I didn't think I would ever be happy in any way again. I was in so much continuous pain that I was constantly trying to put band-aids on my seemingly ever-bleeding heart.
I left no stone unturned in seeking ways to make that pain lessen. I tried 5 therapists for 10 years, did Reiki healing and ancient Hawaiian healing, saw a psychic, tried EMDR, and attended classes for PTSD. For many years I could not attend anything social or actually enjoy anything that I used to enjoy because "moving on" didn't feel ok.
He was my first, the one who made me a mother. To be honest, being a mother has by far been my favorite part of being here on earth.
My son was difficult. There, I said it. He was extremely active, hard to get him to listen, obstinate (mostly with me), interesting for sure because his curiosity was insatiable, very concrete in his thinking, yet extremely creative. He was indignant if he thought something was unjust for himself or for others. He would protest loudly if he felt something wasn't "right."
I was forever trying to fit that square peg into every round hole because I thought that is what a good mother did. He gave the best hugs in the entire history of this world. Since he has died, of course, with my 20/20 hindsight, I now know that I should have accepted him more as he was. I thought he was incredible. I miss him every day.
I was fortunate to have attended the first Sacred Sorrows Retreat at the Jesuit Retreat Center in Los Altos in March of 2022. This retreat (my first ever) has helped me to realize that my son is resting in God and that someday, I will see him again. It will be the longest hug in the history of hugs.
As I have been aging, I have noticed that, for some reason, some songs (even though I haven't recently heard them) will come into my head and not go away for a few days. Some of them are songs that I never particularly liked, and artists that I was never particularly interested in. This has made me wonder if it isn't my life flashing before me like they say happens when we die...but who knows? And honestly, I'm old now, so I don't really care why this is happening.
In any case, Paul Simon made an entrance recently, with a song that was never a favorite (Even in 1971, I thought it was stupid). But, there it was, uninvited, playing like a broken record in my head:
No, I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a moment away
As I mentioned, I don't know why these tapes play in my head, but, this one seems to have a pretty poignant meaning. Maybe, just maybe, I really do have a guardian angel who likes to cheer me up and remind me that although sometimes it may seem like a long time before we get to see our children again, in God's time, it's only a moment. Truly, in eternity, it IS only a moment. That being said--and digested--I think that the way for me to engage in this world again is by serving others until my time comes.
When I feel down, I'll remember that the mother and child reunion is only a moment away...