About three and a half years ago my son died at the age of three months. The situation with his mother (my ex-wife) was complicated, he was the primary reason for both the marriage and the eventual divorce, and she was alone with him for the three days leading up to that morning. The whole event is still a blur, punctuated with crystal clear memories of smell, pictures, the paramedic's heavy hand on my shoulder as I raced into my apartment building, my boss's callous "we got a call from your wife, there was some kind of emergency with your son at home, can you try and make it in before the next shift", then the weeks and months of emptiness. Even still I find that emptiness lurking on the shelf at the supermarket behind his brand of baby oil that I grabbed to deal with a sunburn. My life still feels shattered. Even though I have a very supportive family, I feel alone in this, like no one else understands what I am feeling. I don't understand everything I am feeling.
But I have learned many things from this experience, and I have grown incredibly from it. These days I really listen to people, not just to what they are saying, but what they aren't saying, to what they want to say. I give people the benefit of doubt more often than I used to, and I find myself giving complements to strangers. I try to infuse each moment with a little more depth, and to challenge people to be their best. I do this because I know what it is like to fight through an omnipresent fog, I know how those gray skies suck out all the sound from the world.
I am finally at the point where I want to be able to face this head on, and use it to help other people. If Lance Armstrong's battle with cancer can inspire people to face their own cancer, I want my history to help inspire compassion and hope for a better future. Anything else would be an insult to his memory. I am posting this here both because I need to be comfortable talking about what happened, and because I hope someone is reading this and can gain strength from it.
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