Saturday, April 8, 2017

Before There Was You

There are many twists and turns in life; aspects which seemingly have nothing what-so-ever to do with who we are in every other regard. The truth is that all parts of our lives are what create our identities and all experiences shape us. If someone had told me, at 25, that addiction would one day shatter my world, I wouldn't have believed them. I'd have stared at them in horror.  If they would have told me that a genetic disorder, which I couldn't even pronounce, would become a focus in my life, I'm not sure I would have fully understood what that meant at that moment in time.

When I became a brand new mother at the age of 26, life, as I'd known it previously, was no longer. It was a wonderful new normal to be a mother and have a family and it thoroughly changed me for the better.  The maternal instinct was strong within me throughout my life and this one event completed me. I was blessed to be given this precious gift of motherhood subsequently, three more times.

When they place that newborn on your chest in the delivery room, they don't tell you about all of the possibilities to come. They don't warn you about heartache. I suppose that would not be the time and place for that. Truthfully, nobody ever prepares you for the worst; those are just events that happen to us and we are forced to face them, unprepared, when they do.

As most mothers do, I had hopes and dreams for my first-born child, for all of my children, but different hopes and different dreams for each of them. This child would go far in life and he would conquer the world with his gifts and talents!  Turns out that his path was different than what I'd imagined it would be. Coming to terms with that and fully accepting it will mean that I have another new normal to embrace...that, for me, is the most difficult part of grief of all.

I wrote this poem for my first son and for all of the parents (most especially the mothers), who are forced to live with a new normal that they were not prepared for in advance. If you replace some of the words, the poem is relevant to many situations that did not turn out the way you'd expected them to. I've faced this reality twice, with both of my sons; one with addiction and the other with neurofibromatosis.

Before there was you,
I never knew,

That love could be so selfless and so pure.

The fierce protector inside me; knowing no bounds for the lengths I could go to keep you safe.

That being your Mommy would give me infinite purpose; nothing I'd been, nothing I'd done before, had any meaning at all.

The capacity in my heart to treasure another person's life, above all others, unconditionally.

Before there was you,
I never knew,

That pride could taste of the sweetest fruit, yet prevent me the ability to swallow.

That my breath could be stolen by your every accomplishment and the wind knocked from my sails by your every defeat.

That my melting point consisted of your smile and your frown equally, yet without similarity.

Before there was you,
I never knew,

How intertwined joy and sorrow could be.

That my love would not be enough to save you from your demons.

That immense promise lay in your courage and complete despair in your choices.

That my ability to hold tenaciously to hope would arise from you losing yours.

That I could want more for you than you seemed to want for yourself.

Before there was you,
I never knew,

That someone who was so deeply loved could be devoured by perceived pain.

That your mind could be ravaged so completely by a substance that you could no longer recall my love.

Before there was you,
I never knew,

The agony in helplessness and the conflict of being unable to shield my child.

The many sleepless nights of unimagined fear; unaware if you were cold, hungry, safe or…alive.

The anguish and heartbreak that comes with having to refuse your child's appeals.

The compelling necessity for belief in a higher power.

I never knew,

That I could survive the horror of your addiction, when you would not.

That the gaping hole, left by losing you, would prevent me from ever again living life like the one I knew,

Before there was you.

~Connie Sorman

Dedicated to my B-loved son, Brandon, 2/2/1992 to 2/13/2017

Brandon Stephen Roat, Obituary and Eulogy:


  1. That is so utterly beautiful. Love you dear

  2. Beautiful Connie, heart-breaking, true, deeply touching and goes to the core of every emotion that a mom feels. My heart is for you and with you; sending my thoughts, love and prayers to you always. Eloquent as always, xo. Love & Prayers, Lisa