Five years ago, on Mother’s Day, was the last time I saw my son alive although I spoke with him on the phone two more times. Mother’s Day to me is a time for pretense. I smile and laugh for the sake of the rest of my family, yet the images rolling through my head are a constant repeat of that last time I saw my youngest son.

Now I know he knew he’d never see me again. Now I can plainly hear it in his voice when I spoke with him on those two occasions. How I wish I’d known these things then. How I wish…

His name was spoken several times during the course of the day, and not only by me. His brother thinks of him often and told me he had gone to the cemetery to visit Barry only a few days ago. His grandmother spoke Barry’s name, remembering a particular occasion when he had spent a week with them many years ago. I spoke his name just to make him part of the family gathering, just to ensure no one else had forgotten his name. I saw his face in my mind many times, but mostly I saw him walking up a driveway, his backpack slung over one shoulder. He never looked back. He never hesitated. He walked away from us, out of our lives, without glancing back. The scene will never leave me!

Thank God I had told him that I love him and had given him a kiss on the cheek, just moments before he started that walk.

I miss him.