Lori Fortin is a devoted wife, mother, and grandparent who, along with her husband, is currently raising their grandchildren. She is the bereaved mother of Randy Carvalho, to whom this piece is dedicated.
Forty years ago today, March 12, 1982, was the first of only a few of the happiest days of my life as my firstborn son, Randy, came into this world. The immediate love and adoration that I felt were second to none, and that strong bond has never wavered. Even in death, he is always with me.
These last two years, seven months, and two days haven’t been easy, but I have survived because I appreciate the 37 years we had with him. I’ve learned coping mechanisms because I have five other children, grandchildren I'm raising, a husband, a mom, two sisters, and a brother and the last thing I wanted was to hurt them further by seeing me fall apart. I decided early on that this loss would not do me in. I taught myself that every time a bad thought about the circumstances surrounding his choice to leave this earth came to mind, I quickly replaced it with a happy memory. I decided to respect his desire not to be here anymore because it was his choice, and I knew he could not handle what was going on in his life. He was suffering, not thinking clearly, and needed to be free of his pain. And no matter what anyone else may feel, I know he is now at peace in Heaven with God, his grandfather, and his godfather's uncle.