Sunday, January 23, 2011

This I know...

There is something that I have been pondering...

Many have said that there is no pain quite like the pain of losing a child. And having been through it- twice- I nod along with that statement. It is hard to describe to others who have not experienced it. It is a physical pain and more- and it is something that never quite leaves you- is always there- lingering...

I have also heard "everyone has a miscarriage" and it suddenly dawned on me that those who make that statement (about losing a child) are probably referring to those parents who (in addition to grieving dreams) are grieving memories. They are talking about those parents who left the hospital with a baby in their arms. They aren't talking about me.

And to be fair. I can't imagine that. I can't imagine grieving both dreams and memories and I pray with all my heart and soul that I never will have to experience that pain...

But I do live with pain- the pain of losing a child. It is my 'normal' by 'reality'.

But at the same time my 'normal' doesn't mean I'm 'OK'. Sometimes I will go outside just to look at the stars- see the moon's reflection sparkling on the fresh fallen snow and I want to scream, "I MISS THEM! I AM THEIR MOTHER! I MISS THEM STILL!"

How can you miss something you never really had?
How can you miss someone you never really knew?

I knew the way that Andrew would kick me. I knew the weight of his body when I held him that dark September night. I knew the way he smelled. But that was all.

I will never know his favorite flavor of ice-cream, the sound of his laugh, the color of his eyes...
Oh, the color of his eyes...

How can I miss them? Miss them like this??

But I do- and I hate that I have all these 'holes' in who my children are/were/could be. I hate that I feel them dance around me- as if they can hear me- and yet they are beyond me- I hate that they know me... and yet... I don't know them.

But this I do know.

I know that they know me. I know that they lived and breathed my breath. I know that they slept to my heartbeat. I know that they heard me sing. And I know that they felt my love.
-That they feel it still.

And yes- I think they know that I miss them- and that while I feel like screaming it from the rooftops, I don't need to.

They know.
There is nothing quite like the pain of losing a child- and yet I go on- and they know that.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

He's Right There

Tonight I went and watched my first grader as he sang songs about ants and bees and... butterflies. And all of a sudden my eyes blurred and I remembered. I remembered that boy that I never do forget. The one who is always right there, lingering.

And as I watched, I got a lump in my throat as I heard the first grade voices sing...

Butterfly, Butterfly, Where do you roam?
Whose lucky garden do you call your home?
Butterfly, Butterfly, Why won't you stay?
Why are you always fluttering away?

And as they sang, I thought of my son. The one that is so often not remembered. Wondering where he was that night. Wondering if perhaps he had fluttered into that crowded Elementary gym to listen to his brother sing. Wondering why he couldn't stay.

He didn't stay.
And yet he's always right there.
Right beyond my thoughts- and he appears at a moment's notice.

Walking down the hall of my school I overhear, "Andrew."
And he's there.

Walking through the store and seeing 'Twin pack."
And he's there.

Watching his brother on stage at his first grade concert.
And he's there.

He's always right there.
And I find comfort in that.

To quote a mother who recently was reunited with her son...

"If you know someone who has lost a child and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died- You're not reminding them. They didn't forget they died. What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived- and that is a great gift."
-Elizabeth Edwards

Tonight he was right there for me. I could almost see him. Remembering that he lived. That he existed- and had things been a bit different, I would have been cheering on two winged first graders that stayed- instead of remembering one that flew away too soon.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Our Sparks, Our Children.

Sometimes someone will walk through your door and change your life. You don't realize it when it is happening, but they do. I still remember one of those moments.

I remember the way she looked that night. Her face. I remember listening as she spoke - not of a baby that she held in her arms- nor a child who had breathed but was gone- but a spark- sparks. Children. Children who lived inside of her- hearts that beat inside of her- but gone far before anyone else would even know they existed.

She was my first real window into what it must be like to have lost a child so early. I remember after losing Andrew, one of my husband's friends said, "Everyone has a miscarriage." It bothered me. Not just the words he spoke, but their implication... Everyone has one... No big deal... and then comparing my full term son to a miscarriage bothered me...

But as I listened to her, tears streaming down her face, tears streaming down mine (which was rare because having gone to so many meetings my tears seemed to have run out), I finally got it. I learned something that I should have already known. For it is in that moment when you look at a positive test that your love starts to grow. Your mind starts to dream. Your heart starts to soar.

And like the babe I held in my arms that September night... the babe who left too soon- who shattered my dreams- who broke my heart- Well, sparks can do the same.

When I was pregnant with E, and praying and pleading with God to spare my child, to spare my spark, I called my dear friend. We cried together and she carried me. She spoke every word I needed to hear that night. And she spoke them again. For I needed her to carry to me- and she did. She has taught me so much in this world, but in the days that followed, I understood. I understood the pain of losing someone you only dreamed about... someone who is just a shadow... someone you would have given anything to meet.

I always think of my dear friend on New Year's Eve. You see, that was the day one of her sparks would have been born. I remember the story of her and her husband, toasting a New Year, when there didn't seem much to celebrate. I know that there are many in this world that did the same- 2011 was to be their year. But life has a way of taking turns down paths that we never thought we'd walk.

I think of those like my friends and I said a little prayer. That this year would be kind to you, and gentle to you. I prayed that there would be angels in your life, like those in mine, who have gotten me through so many storms and that the rainbows would find you- for I have seen that after those storms they are there- waiting to pick you up again.

Thank you Mary, for picking me up when I needed it and sharing yourself. The world is blessed because you are in it.

And to those missing their sparks, their children, their loved ones... hoping your storm passes quickly and you will be bathed in the glow of that rainbow that awaits. You will never forget, but you will see peace again. I hope it finds you.