It was 3:30am and I was awake. Why does your brain insist on making you remember when you should be sound asleep? I can’t answer that but it happens to me often. I don’t remember when I realised I was wide awake but I know all I could think about was my eldest son. He is 32 years old now and I haven’t seen him in almost three years, but I remember.
I remember when I first saw his little face and I knew then that I was in love. I was in love with his tuft of red hair and his tiny fingers. I was in love with his almost translucent white skin and his tiny little mouth.
I remember when he was two and I heard the deafening screech of car brakes. I remember instinctively knowing it was my little boy the car had hit. I remember seeing him lying there, not moving and covered in blood. That picture has haunted me for 30 years. I remember.
I remember the nurse telling someone my little boy would not live through the night and how I hit out at her. I remember watching him all night after he had been operated on for seven hours. How he didn’t sleep but just lay there motionless, holding my hand through the cot. I remember not sleeping when he came home from hospital for fear he would be gone when I woke. The sound of him crying softly still haunts me. I remember.
I remember how he struggled through all his school years because of the injuries caused from that awful day. I remember how he was also bullied time and again because he had red hair and freckles. How he closed the door to his room and cried alone. I remember how despite all this, he excelled in many things. He could run like the wind and kick a football like Tony Lockett. He could write so beautifully but still he was a lonely soul. I still see his face when he bought his first car with money he had saved. It was old but it was his. The other boys in school ridiculed him and nobody would ride with him. They came from farming and wine families. They drove big fancy utes. We were poor folk. I still remember the disappointed look on his face when I couldn’t afford a particular pair of shoes he so desperately wanted. He was silent but I saw that look. I remember.
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I remember how hard he fought to be accepted at university and how hard he fought to get employment and how hard he fought not to let the break-up of his engagement affect him. I see him standing before me now a man. I haven’t seen the man in nearly three years as he travels and I wonder how he is, is he happier, why he never contacts me.
The sad little boy who has grown into a beautiful man still bears the scars. I remember back then how I felt helpless to take away his pain, I am still helpless. I wake early and I see his face. I still wish he could see how I wish it had been different for him. I hope he is happier now and I hope that one day he remembers how much I love him. Till then his life is there for me to wake up and remember.
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