I have never lost a child; at least not one that's taken her first breath. Not one that's been living and breathing and talks and walks and sings and cries and hugs. I've never cried myself to sleep because my child is no longer two doors down from me, sleeping silently like they were before. And no, I've never held a dying child in my arms. I've never had to experience that. But I have been pregnant.
And I've lost it.
I will never try to pretend what I went through hurts as much as it would for someone who has actually held their child, whether it's a stillborn or older child. But it does hurt. It aches and leaves a pain in my soul that I've never felt before.
I think all of the little spirits that never made it deserve to be remembered.
This month I've thought a lot about the women I know who've lost babies, children....and those little spirits, gone before they came. So, I thought sharing a few thoughts from grieving parents and loved ones would be appropriate for this month- Infant & Child Loss Awareness Month. It's about remembering these precious ones we've lost..from precious people who have lost them.
“When your eyes freeze behind the grey window and the ghost of loss gets in to you, may a flock of colours, indigo, red, green and azure blue come to awaken in you a meadow of delight.”
"Little by little, we will begin to remember not just that he died, but that he lived".
"In my troubles, I have seen Him move".
“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
"Every parent who loses a child finds a way to laugh again. The timbre begins to fade. The edge dulls. The hurt lessens. Every love is carved from loss. "
Wouldn't it be great if we could take all of the heartache every mother and father have ever felt, stick it in a box, set it on fire and never have to feel that pain again? Never have to talk about it. Never have to experience it. Never have to remember it. But that's not real life. That world does not exist. That possibility is not possible.
But you know what we can do? What I can do? I can put my arms around my friends who do feel it. And I can cry with them. And then I can come home and watch my daughter sleeping quietly in her bed. I can stand near my son's door to hear the sound of his breathing. And then I can kneel at my bed. And I can thank Someone for those two little spirits I get to hold each night. And I'll thank Him that they did make it.
And then at last, I'll say a prayer for the little ones that didn't.
I know that someday, they'll all be held, too.
"Come back, mommy. I miss you". That was the moment. That was the very moment I saw our two and a half year old daughter as a little girl. Not a baby throwing bottles on the ground and making messes. Not a toddler throwing a fit or ripping off her diaper and running through the house shrieking that she is a monster. When she said those words to me I couldn't leave the room. My heart wouldn't let me. She held her head down and I had to go back and pull her into my arms and hold her until she smiled. I held her as long as she would let me.
We danced, we sang, we colored, we played, we listened to music really loud as we cleaned the house together. She has no clue who is benefiting here. She doesn't know it's me. She's not the lucky one. It's me. It will always be me. And someday, when she is a young woman, shedding her first tears over a guy, I want to be there for her. When she gets married, I want to hug her and tell her she found a great man. And when she is a mother, and she calls me up to tell me she's messed up, I'm going to tell her I am proud of her.
She may not remember these moments with me. She won't recall every detail about me, games we used to play, or things we used to do. Or how perfect she is. But I will. I always will. And I know there will come a day that we will say goodbye. Where Buzz Lightyear, ponies, crayons, silly dancing, and butterflies won't matter anymore. Eventually life comes in and sweeps that all away. But she doesn't know that yet. Isn't childhood amazing...
So next time when she asks me to pretend I'm Buzz Lightyear and drop my voice 3 octaves lower, maybe I'll do it. When she sweetly says "Wanna draw with me?" at 5 in the morning, maybe I will. Because I know, I really truly know, that someday I will be sitting somewhere, thinking of my daughter. Of her laugh, her silliness, her innocent smile. And she will be off in her own little life, living her own little dreams.
And my heart will ache for her. And I know exactly what I'll say....
"Come back, Emmie. I miss you".
So this is it. Two more days. I've thought long and hard about it. We've already been to a specialist, but this is different. This is a second opinion, and whatever this specialist says, will determine whether or not we allow Rowen to have surgery on his head. It's routine, they do it every day, these doctors know what they're doing, blah, blah, blah. I know all that. I've heard all that. "It's probably not cancerous." "It's probably nothing". Thanks, but probably doesn't put me much at ease.
It was in the NICU, when they took off his C-pap helmet for his oxygen, when they noticed the bump. A nurse and a Dr both said it was probably nothing. His pediatrician said it was fine. But his Urologist was worried. So, we went to a specialist and she too, wanted to have surgery to take it off, then send it to the lab to make sure it was not cancerous. Now, we're taking him to a different specialist, hoping he has a different theory. Maybe he doesn't need surgery. Maybe it will dissolve and never be a problem.
But honestly, I am afraid. I am SO afraid that the results will come back, that they will call us and tell us we need to come into the office to see the specialist, and that the results found it is indeed cancer. Then they will send us to a cancer specialist, and we all know where that road could possibly lead. Far fetched, I know. Is it likely? Probably not. There's that word again.
But so many children have died. Little children. Babies. I don't think I could remain sane if Rowen had to go through that.
Whatever happens, all I want is for my son to always know we love him. He's gotta' see it in our eyes, in our embrace, and I know he feels it when he drifts off to sleep in our arms late at night. And right now, that's all I care about. That he knows he's loved.
I'm not going to fear Friday. I'm not going to dread the results. I'm going to love my son.
And tomorrow, when he wakes up, I'm going to make sure he feels it.