Mourning Mammal Mamas

Dear Isaac,

It’s your birth month. 22 years ago this month I carried the weight of your life. And it’s been Three Years. Nine Months. 15 Days since I began carrying the weight of your death.

Some days I feel like the Mama Orca off the coast of Seattle who has been carrying her dead baby around for 2 weeks in an “unprecedented display of mourning”. I drag my own body around weighted down with grief and just missing you so much. And what exactly is an appropriate response to the loss of your child? That’s what I wanna say to all the whale experts.

And some days it feels as though I had a spiritual lobotomy–Or maybe I mean a transplant? I feel an urgency to smile at every person I see and say to every cashier/helper a genuine “thank you so much for your help”. And make lists of nice things I might be able to do for other people. I feel empathy for people and situations I used to just not see/feel/understand. Like you would have.

Since turning 42 I’ve been feeling a combination of emotions– 1) my life could be half over– or more. What am I going to do with my one wild and precious life? Like seriously, what things have I held myself back from and how do I begin to unpack all the excuses and just fucking live 2) how can I live enough for both of us, for all that you’re not experiencing. 3) getting older is fucking awesome! Bullshit just vanishes. It’s.Just.Gone. 4) I also feel the utter absurdity that is Crying Every Single Day Atleast Once And Often Many Times For 1384 days AND feeling authentic joy and gratitude for things like Paco’s steady heartbeat when I lie on his chest in the morning, sunlight shining peeking out from an otherwise cloudy day just at a moment when I need a little light, and even when I see opportunities to help someone– I feel just so ridiculously giddy for a chance to show up and be kind. Like you have hand delivered me a triple dog dare from the great beyonda. I now have time & I am very reliable to others like I was to you only. I listen and consider what I’m hearing. I pause when I’m not sure how I feel about something. I pay my bills on time every month!!!! Even when injured for 9+ weeks. I pick the raspberries so they don’t go to waste even when I’m hot and I don’t whine.

Who the fuck am I?

A hummingbird or a

Monarch will approach me in these moments of humorous self awareness and I say thank you. Thanks, you. I’m sorry it took all this horror to

See all this beauty.

Thank you for lifting the veil and showing me the difference between what I thought I knew and understood and now what I feel in my heart is real.

You always made me a better person. But damn. I wish more than anything I could hear you laugh about all this craziness. I wish I could hold you and say thank you in person. Thank you for teaching me so much. Thank you for the gift of your presence and kindness and generosity and forgiveness despite the time difference.

I love you bigger than the sky.

I am forever yours,


Published by: christinaryanstoltz

I write to touch the supple center of unguarded ache~ To release myself from the pressure of not knowing how to move forward from the unfathomable loss of my beloved son, my beautiful boy Isaac, to suicide, of not knowing how to release my grip on of the past, both the worshipping of it as well as the beating myself up for it, and letting go of the need to know what I could’ve done or what on earth I will do now. I write to heal.


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