Since my last post I have heard from many mothers who have lost children. As I read their stories I feel honored that they would share their heart with me. I was so touched by their stories. Although their hearts are broken, they somehow have found peace and gratitude for the lessons their children have taught them. They have the ability to share their love and offer encouragement to me.
These children who have passed have taught us so much. They teach us to cherish the ordinary moments in life. Standing at the sink washing dishes with my other children no longer feels like a chore; it feels like intimacy and love. It has taught me that the jumble of shoes kicked off at the front door is a sign of life. It’s taught me that sharing a meal is communion. It has shown me that the small stuff really doesn’t matter.
About three months after my son passed away, I was still in the “Why did this happen?” stage. (Not that I don’t occasionally have that thought still flash through my mind.) As I was wondering, “why?”, an entire dialogue flashed through my mind. The dialogue took me back 30 years. It was 1986. At that point my husband and I had been married over a year. We had been together for five years. So we were ready for a baby.
“God, I want a baby. I think I am ready. Would you give me one?”, I asked. God said, “Yes, I will. He will give you joy like you have never experienced. Some of the best moments in your life will be because of him. There’s just one thing. I will call him back to me when he is 29 years old.” “NO! I need him to be here longer than that. That’s not long enough!” I cried. “Well, that is the baby I have planned for you. You are the mother he needs to have all of the experiences I have planned for him. Believe me when I tell you, you would rather have this child for even a short time than to have never had him at all.”, God said. “I don’t know. I don’t know if I can go through the pain of that. I am not strong enough to handle a loss of that magnitude.”, I cried. “Don’t concern yourself with that. You just enjoy him. When the time comes for me to call him back, You will not be alone. I will surround you with people to give you comfort. I will give you the tools you need. You can do this. I will help you.”, He promised.
And He did.
He didn’t let me down. Within two hours of The News, we were not alone. We were surrounded by friends. We were surrounded by acquaintances that I never even knew gave us a second thought. We were comforted by strangers. At no point in the past six months have I ever felt alone.
I have had many experiences that I have had the pleasure of enjoying vicariously though my son. He pursued everything with a passion, almost as if his life depended on it. After college, he lived in Nashville and worked in the music field for a while. He later decided that his real passion was tennis, so he decided he wanted to live in south Florida, the tennis hub of the U.S., to see if he could pursue a career in that field. He lived there the last two years of his life. He told me often that he felt like he was on vacation every single day and he was getting paid to do it. He had so many amazing experiences in Nashville and Florida that are too numerous to recount here. He shared stories of musicians and tennis professionals that he met and worked with. The stories were so far out of the average persons experiences in life. I can see now that he packed a whole lifetime of living in only 29 years. I take comfort in knowing that he had a life full of excitement.
So that’s how I am managing to cope. I have decided that God gave me the baby I was supposed to have. I had so much joy watching him live with passion. I cope by realizing that I am not in control of every detail in life. I cope by hearing and reading other mothers share their experience of child loss and seeing them survive and inspire me. I cope through my faith in God. That doesn’t mean I haven’t wavered in my faith in the past six months. But as the months have gone by, I have continued to feel a reassurance that all is as it should be. I have found peace for now. I’ll keep you posted if that changes.
P.S. As I was proofing this post, that cardinal landed in my palladium window and started pecking at the glass. Hey Will.
Peace and Love.
What are some ways that YOU have coped through loss? Would you consider sharing in the comments below. I know others would be blessed to read about your coping experience.
She writes about life, death, grief, and recovery.