We Should Have Been There – Another Missed Milestone


A woman putting flowers on a gravestone. As many will say, grief changes with time. The waves of grief come and go, but just like the ocean, they will never stop. 

Dealing with the grief of not being able to have a neurotypical life with my son and then not having him physically in my life over the past 11 years has shown me first-hand how grief works. There is the loss of not only my son but all the milestones he missed out on, what I’ve missed, and what we’ve missed as a family.

Recently a friend sent me a picture of her son getting ready for the fifth grade moving-up ceremony. Of course, I loved it, and it was so exciting for them to experience this milestone. Then the social media feeds were flooded with all these beautiful pictures celebrating the end of elementary school. I realized I wasn’t quite ready for it because we should have been there. It was another missed milestone.

On the last day of school, I was walking by a celebration for the fifth graders moving on to sixth grade with my friend and our little girls. We smiled and waved, and one of the moms said, “Oh, you guys will be here soon!” My smile quickly faded because we should have been there. 

I know I will feel similar feelings for each missed milestone in the future. I know the feelings of grief for missing all these things with him will come and go, and I’ll be able to keep riding these waves. I must accept that I’ll be in this water for a long time. And I’ll keep staying afloat by keeping his memory close.

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Caroline is a mom of four, D born in 2011 (a son who left us at 3 years old after significant medical issues), H born in 2013 (daughter), and A & M born in 2016 (twin daughters). Originally from Westchester, she and her husband settled in Wilton in 2010. She became a stay-at-home mom after D was born. She serves on the board of STAR Inc. and is also very involved with the Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley, where she stayed for almost 3 months. She enjoys reading, tennis, cooking, baking, and grocery shopping!


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