"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth."
I read Kahlil Gibran's famous poem when I was very young and I took it to heart. Despite being so young when I became a parent, I knew that it was the end of youth. Youth being the contemplation of the many yous you could become, the many paths you could take, the many people you could love and be with. I was one thing - a mother. Everything else was incidental. My job was to keep still, so my son could wander freely. And we stuck to those roles, although as he grew up he would exhort me to 'get a life' even as he never relinquished his right to eschew stability in favor of pursuing whatever struck his fancy. That his life would end before mine, emptying mine of its purpose is, of course, the ultimate irony.
But that's not the only reason my life is barren without him. As mundane as most of our communications were, he was the only person I know, who lived for the sublime. In practical matters he was frustratingly inept. He told me a few weeks before he died that he admired me, but had no idea how I do it. How I did it is I had him as a flame I had to keep going. At any cost, through winds and storms, through barren days and nights. How do I do it now?