They are words you see and hear quite a lot after your child dies, in cards of condolence and messages of sympathy. Words that have a certain appropriateness, to convey how unfathomable it all is.
"I can't imagine …".
To those who have used such a phrase, I can confirm what you already knew.
I know this to be true because I myself could never have imagined. I never understood. For as long as I stood on the precipice, knowing each day was a day closer to losing my precious child, I had no idea it would feel like this when Adam was actually gone. I couldn't imagine for one reason alone — he was still with me. You can try to imagine all you like — at times you cannot stop yourself in fact. You can have dark thoughts in your head; they may consume you at night as you drift into sleep, and still be there when you wake in the morning. But these are your fears, they are not your reality. As much as it feels real at the time, it's not. Not when your child is still there, to talk to, to touch, to love, to adore. Not when your child is still there for you to wake up to.
When you know that you have kissed them goodnight for the last time; will never again hear their voice, feel their touch, hold their hand, smell their essence. When all you have left to look at are photographs. When all you have left to talk to is an empty space, or a once treasured something. When there is no more making new memories, only hoping you won't forget old ones. When you think of things you wish you'd done, or said, or taken care of — stupid little things much of the time — and know you're never going to have that chance. When nothing you can do or say can ever change anything. When you no longer have fears only absolutes. When there is nothing left to imagine. When this is reality, from now until your own dying day. Only then do you understand.