This month my son will be 18. In just under one month he will be starting his next chapter in Boulder. Time is fleeting. We hear this from day one…the days are long but the years go by so fast. Truly. Where has the time gone? From the curly headed, sweet boy who could fit in my lap while barraging me with endless questions, never having enough time to say everything he wanted to say during his awake hours….HONESTLY….every night at bedtime, like clockwork, he would say, “I love you good night. I will tell you everything I wanted to tell you in the morning. I love you goodnight.”, to the now young man of 6 foot 2, a man of few words with an appreciation for privacy. I am still enamored by his smile, his serious brown eyes, his curiosity. I so admire his initiative, follow through, and ability to balance his innate goal setting with his love of having fun and experiencing life.

So why am I sharing this on Transformative Grief? Because life is complicated and messy and so are my many emotions. While I am overflowing with gratitude, excitement, joy…I am also experiencing my own kind of loss. Duality. Happy/sad. Thankfully, gratefully, more happy than sad.

I grieve the loss of my Mom. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor the first day of my senior year of college. When I left for college I had no idea that she wouldn’t see me set and reach my adult goals. I left a young girl ready for adventure and returned a caregiver helplessly watching as my source of strength and life slowly transitioned forever out of my world.

I grieve the loss of snuggles, endless conversation, playful, sweet mother-son companionship. Of him not wanting to go to sleep without one more kiss. One more question asked. One more need to snuggle tight.

I grieve the loss of being “his person”. The one he wants to share the stories, thoughts, feelings of his day with. Healthy and normal. Trust me I know this. But again, where did the time go?!

I grieve the loss of time. I already feel as if these years are gifted knowing my father died at 42 and my mother at 59. There is so much I want to do, share, experience with my children. Lessons and values to impart. Have I done this? They would say yes, at nauseum, every experience somehow becoming a teachable moment in my quest to leave them with what I did not have…answers to the questions that come during the phase of life after college. When one realizes that they actually do not know everything.

Have I shared with them how to live a valued life? One of integrity, compassion for self and others? One of hard work, accountability, fun? That is the tricky thing about time. There is no crystal ball. No way of seeing the men they will become. Time will tell. I hope I am here to witness. This I can not control. However, I can control my approach to managing all of these emotions by choosing to be in the present. To celebrate and cheer him on as he goes off on his next adventure…college.