Today has been a strange day.

This morning I was angry, because a friend (a nurse) posted about how she got away with running a stop sign because, as the cop who pulled her over said, “I never give out warnings but I respect your profession and I understand you are tired so have a good night” . And fifty of her friends liked and applauded her.. Did she not realize that this cop just stated the very reason that we were not able to find justice for our son’s death? (I contacted the police department five times over the past year, and they never responded). Did she not realize, as she concentrated on her successful get-away, that I have met the mother whose child died because someone else “slowed down” for a stop sign? (In actuality, she is a nice person, who has been very supportive since Rowan’s death, and would probably never guess that her post would lead to any adverse reaction.  In fact, I wouldn’t have given the post a second thought just one year ago).

And this morning I was intensely sad, because I finally ate the cupcake that my son should have eaten on his 3 ½ birthday.

And then, I put away everything else I was supposed to do today, and I spent my time reading.

I read an essay from a teenager in foster care, whose social worker raped her repeatedly, and got away with it without reprimand, even after she tried to press charges. After her story, she stated that telling her story “has made me sure about myself”.

I read an article about “getting through grief by hanging onto yourself”, and I read a post about the “gifts” that grief gives us.

And then I realized something. Something that I have worked on realizing for the past few months, but I realized that I hadn’t quite gotten there.

Oftentimes people say that grief gives them the ability to love more freely, or more openly. But I don’t think that is true for me. Rowan gave me that ability when he was born. I have never loved the world around me more than when I saw it through his eyes. I will never love the world more openly than when I felt the warmth of the smiles that came to people’s faces when he greeted them with a loud “Hi!” and a wave from my arms.

But my grief has given me a gift. It has given me confidence, just like the teenager in foster care. It has given me a voice that was always there… But is now even stronger than before.

It has given me a voice that has made some turn away. It has given me a voice that has drawn some closer. It has given me a voice that is not always pleasant. It has given me a voice that is confident. It has given me a voice that I am proud of. It has given me a voice that I am thankful for.

It has given me a voice that matters – for me, for my daughter, for Rowan, and (hopefully) for a few others.

Grief has given me a gift, the very same gift that allows me to hang onto the “myself” within my loss… my voice.

Dear Grief, I will never thank you for this gift, but I will do my best to use it wisely.




Copyright © rowansmile 2015. All Rights Reserved. No part of this website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author. Rowan was killed as a direct result of the careless and unnecessary use of general anesthesia for a “routine” outpatient diagnostic procedure.. Without his parents’ consent.