Would I give anything not to be walking in “these shoes” – the tattered, ugly, and most uncomfortable shoes of a grieving Mom? To contemplate this, I had to honestly take a seat, close my eyes and ponder that question with the most raw and real thoughts and emotions. As the mountain of things that I would trade to not be wearing these shoes came in droves, there was one thing that I was certain I would never trade, never give up, never change – being his Mom.
Deeply embedded in my soul, is the incessant desire to remove these shoes that I am now forced to wear. These shoes never come off – when I awake each morning and climb out of bed, these shoes are on my feet. I wear these shoes to work, to the grocery store, to dinner, to bed each night and with each step that I take I am reminded of the significance of these shoes. Although invisible to others, with each step that I take, these shoes feel as if I am lifting the weight of a one-hundred pound dumbbell. It’s ironic that even though they are invisible, other’s look at me differently and treat me differently because I am wearing these shoes.
Most people don’t inquire about my shoes – to do so would elicit awkwardness and make them uncomfortable or they fear it may impart sadness in me. What most don’t realize, is that the sadness is ever present – lurking in the background just waiting for the most inopportune time to seep from my eyes and spill down my cheeks. The truth is, that unless you are one of the unfortunate ones forced to wear these shoes, you will never truly know the depth to which they hurt and that removing them is never an option. The only option is to adjust and learn to walk in these shoes that are now a permanent part of my wardrobe and me. The truth of the matter is, these shoes have provided me with a strength and a resilience that make me who I am and for that I am proud. To trade them would entail trading the role of being Tyler’s Mom and that is something that I am not willing to do. After all, the greatest blessing of my life was being provided the privilege of being his Mom.
It has been eight long years now that I have been wearing these shoes and I have witnessed a gradual change in them throughout those years. Today, they are a little prettier, softer, feel less awkward and I guess you could say they are “broken in.” Although it wasn’t my choice to begin wearing these shoes, I am pleased to say that I no longer try to hide them – I have begun to embrace them and display them proudly. These shoes symbolize that I am forever Tyler’s Mom and I wouldn’t trade that honor for anything.