Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dear Jonasen,

Last night I couldn't sleep.
For the next day I knew that I would be presenting Joe with a bible.  Though I knew about this for some time, I didn't know quite what to say.  How do you share your faith with an 8 year old?  How do you share experiences that have shaped your faith?  When I think about my faith much of it was carved out of pain... when I was in the trenches going toe to toe with God... wondering Why?

But in the end I knew he was real and I wanted nothing more than to share that knowledge with those I love, especially my children.

And so last night I sat down and began to write.  I wrote in Joe's bible all the things I wanted him to know.  I know that like all of us his walk in faith will have twists and turns and detours.  I do hope and pray though that he'll always remember this path that I am trying so hard to carve for him.

Here is my letter to Joe:

And if you'd like to see the actual presentation of Joe's Bible and my reading of the letter, you can click HERE.  My daughter video taped it for us.  There are many shots of our feet, but I am glad she captured the moment.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I'll never forget that first Mother's Day.  How bittersweet it was.  I had a beautiful baby in my arms but a huge hole in my heart.  I had a flower on my wrist and I remember those around me in church looking at me and smiling at me.  A sweet young mother.

What many of them didn't know was that whole story. That my motherhood didn't begin with the baby in my arms, but with his brother who was born one minute before him that September before.

They didn't know that I felt God that September night. Felt a presence that is indescribable.  One that I will never forget. I grew up that day.  I had a purpose.  I was a mother. But that first night being a mother, I looked at my first born one last time, kissed his forehead and whispered to him how much I was going to miss him.  And God knows I miss him still.

I am not alone.

Only after losing my Andrew and sharing his story with others did I realize that the pain that I had was not unique.  Friends who had had a stillborn baby, or miscarriage came to me~  Shared their stories~ Cried their tears~ Carried me.

I didn't know.

And you probably don't either. There is something about us. We have an amazing strength to smile again, to get up, to live life, to laugh... and still right there, just below the surface we have them there... with us.  Be it a child we held in our arms, a heartbeat we saw on a screen or a dream we had when we saw those two lines on a pregnancy test.  We remember.  We never forget.  We never will.  We are their mothers.  The one who loved them first and we will love them still until we take our last breaths and join them once again.

I'm sad that I am part of this group, but I am proud.  For no where in this world have I found the love and support and undying kindness like that of a bereaved mother.  One who walked my shoes. One who would carry me when I could not walk it alone.

Thank you.

Thinking of all of you on this International Bereaved Mother's Day.
You inspire me with your stories.  With your strength.  With your love.

Wishing you peace~

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The things we can't change

I was just thinking of that puppy.  The one you saw when you were in third grade that you KNEW you had to have.  The one you had already named and whispered to saying, "You are just going to love your home.  We are going to have so much fun together!"

I was just thinking about the job interview.  The one that you nailed!  The one that you knew would be yours and you started thinking about the commute and how you would set up your classroom when your 5th grade students arrived in the fall.

I was just thinking of that boy... the one you fell in LOVE with when you were 12.  The one that had the last named that you were sure would be your own and practiced writing over and over.  The one that made you cry heavy sobs when you learned it was never going to be.

Well... mom and dad said that puppy would get too big.  And that job... mom and dad said that would be a long commute.  And that boy... your folks said you'd be over him soon... Sometimes mom and dad are right.

The thing is Laura, you have learned that there are things that we can't change in this life even though you wish you could.  I wish your hair was thicker and that horrible twin skin that Andrew and Joe left you would go away (without the heavy price tag that a tummy tuck would bring).

But I want you to think about this...
Had you gotten that dog, there would have been no Jenny Puddles.  Could you imagine your life without that sweet dog?  ~The one you told all your secrets to- the one who you held, tears rolling down your face as she took her last breath...

Had you gotten that job there would have been none of them... All those children that you were meant to teach- those children that were meant to teach you.  You know their names... the students who you think of still and wonder if they remember you too... (They do!)

And that boy.  The one you cried for days over.  Look at your life, your amazing husband- the one whose kiss can still make you weak in the knees, those beautiful children that create the laughter in your home.  Let's face it.  It was a good thing that God never answered those prayers or perhaps more importantly, He answered them, NO!

But what about him?  What about that little boy that you loved and prayed for.  The one that you dreamed about.  The one that you dream about still?

What about her?  The girl you had thought would be a perfect little sister to your Ali Jane?

I have seen your tears.  Been with you on those nights that you screamed in the shower hoping no one would hear you (though they probably did).  I have watched you as you sat.  Silent.  Wondering.  Wishing. Missing them.  No one knew your mind, but I did.  And I was there.  I know you wondered where God was.  Did he hear your prayers?  Of course he did.  But why did he say "No?".

All of these answers you wanted now.  You wanted them yesterday and let's face it... you have had a pretty blessed life.  Not much struggle.  Not much pain (though I would never minimize your dog, your job, that boy...) But what about them.  Your CHILDREN.  That's when things seemed to change.  They were bigger.

Why them?

Laura, there are things that you can't change.

You didn't get that dog, but you fell in love with another.
You didn't get that job, but you had one that turned out to be perfect for you.
You didn't marry that boy, but the one you married is more amazing than any other boy you know (or will know!).
You didn't have those babies... you didn't get to look in their eyes... hear their laughter... feel their arms around your neck... hear them call you,


And you can't change that.

Laura, you know they are safe and that unlike that dog, job or boy you know they will see you again.  That you will see them again.  You know they are waiting.

God said, "No."
And in time you figured out there were others meant to be in your life.
Ali Jane.
Lives you were meant to touch.  Lives meant to touch yours.
And you do.  And they have.
But they were meant to be in your life.  You were meant to keep their memories alive.  You were meant to write this, share them, show others...

There are things we can't change,
but hang in there- endure the painful wait.
Something is in store for you.
Someone, somehow is in store for you.
The next chapter is always better than the last.