How Terrible It Is To Love Something That Death Can Touch

I know as a believer in Jesus I’m supposed to be able to look beyond “this mortal veil” and treat death as a mere “address change”.

Well, I can’t.

Death is the enemy and I do not experience it as simply a transition from one state to another.

The last enemy to be abolished and put to an end is death.

~I Corinthians 15:26 AMP

Death is a reminder of all that is wrong with this earth.  It’s a reminder that sin is costly.  It’s a reminder that this world is not my true home.

find in ourselves a longing c s lewis

It’s just plain wrong!

I hated death long before I counted my own son among the casualties.

Living on a farm, we have buried everything from domestic livestock to random wildlife that wandered up, wounded and we tried to save.  I have hatched eggs found in disturbed nests,  loved on baby rabbits, squirrels, deer and woodchucks, nursed abandoned kittens, lambs and goat kids.  Many of them didn’t survive and every one took a bit of my heart when they breathed their last.

how terrible it is to love somthing that death can touch memorial stone

I have said “good-bye” to my 99 year old aunt, my grandmothers, my grandfathers and my own son.

There is nothing pretty about death.  It wasn’t in God’s original plan and I hate it.

Lately, I’ve been worrying about my “therapy” cat-Roosevelt.  He’s aging.  And all things being equal, he won’t last much longer.

r and christmas

 

He sat in my lap as I recovered from numerous surgeries and hospitalizations.

And he stayed with me as I received concerned family and friends when Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.  I don’t know what I would have done without his warm weight holding me in the chair when all I wanted to do was run away and hide.

hand-coffee-roosevelt

He has been a compassionate companion in many sad and lonely moments-never asking for a thing and giving so much with his presence and unconditional love.

Every night he sleeps beside me, snuggled down tight against my neck, purring peacefully.

But he’s getting old and I am becoming fearful that I don’t have too many more years left with him.  I hate that most nights I drift off to sleep thinking he won’t be here much longer.

And then I feel guilty.

Because the death of my cat (when it happens) can’t begin to touch the depth of pain of the death of my son.  It seems, though, that every death taps that wounded spot in my soul.

dominic at olive garden

But every death-whether a person or an animal I love-opens the floodgate of sadness I work so very hard to keep behind the dam.

I know I’m not supposed to borrow trouble from tomorrow and I work hard not to do that. 

I’m working hard to cherish each moment with everyone I love without worrying that it may be one of the last. 

It’s a fine line I walk every day.  

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Repost: Halloween

Except for a few years early in childhood, I have never liked Halloween.  The combination of darkness and creepiness makes my skin crawl.

And now, this side of child loss it makes me angry. 

Read the rest here:  Halloween

Bit By Bit: We Don’t Lose Them All at Once

I cannot speak for others but in my case, it seems that I did not lose Dominic all at once.

In fact, I’m still losing him.

Bit by bit, a little at a time, nearly molecule by molecule, his mark on my life, my walls, my world grows smaller.

Of course the space he occupies in my heart is safe-a mother’s heart grows larger with each birth and never shrinks again!

But in the physical world, the observable world, the world outside the safe sanctuary of my own soul-his presence THERE is fading.

And that’s it’s own brand of grief that must be recognized, felt, mourned and laid to rest.

fading-away

Every time Dominic SHOULD be here but ISN’T means another memory made without him, another photograph with a missing piece, another family milestone celebrated a bit more quietly because his booming laughter doesn’t join the chorus.

Every decision that would ordinarily involve consulting all four children’s schedules and desires is one more opportunity to count down two, skip one and go to my youngest.  I never can remember that there are only three phone calls or texts to make. My heart hurts each time I don’t check in with Dominic.

desimones uab family

Odd pieces of mail come in his name-leftover from mass mailing lists that have not yet been purged of deceased individuals.  Still a little shocking, always sad, I carry it up the quarter mile to the house and lay it on top of the pile of other things that prove he once walked the earth.

Digging through the toolbox in the garage for a screwdriver and there’s that funny little part he took off a car years ago and tucked inside the drawer-just in case we could use it for something.  I smell the grease and gas and feel him near.

Then my mind drags my heart back to reality and he’s gone again.

Dozens of moments make me miss him anew.

I’m not delusional.

I know he has run ahead to Heaven.

But my heart holds on to every shred of physical connection as long as it can.

And then he’s ripped from me all over again.any place we ever walked i miss you

 

International Bereaved Mother’s Day: An Open Letter to my Fellow Sisters in Loss

Dear Mama,

I know that you never-in your wildest imagination-thought that you would need a day set aside for your broken heart and your empty arms.  

Who thinks when they learn a new life is growing inside that this same life might be cut short?  What heart is brave enough to consider the possibility? 

Yet here you are.  

I’m so, so sorry.  

But there are a few things I want you to know.  There are some important truths to remember on this broken road-truths that can help you hold onto hope and finish strong.

You are not a failure.  I don’t care about those silly social media memes that are tossed around like candy from a Mardi Gras float.  You kept your baby or your child as safe as you knew how.  You are not omnipotent nor omniscient.  You did the best you could.  That’s all ANYONE can do.

no way to be a perfect mother child in arms

You are a mother even if you don’t have a single child to hold on earth. You have a child-just not one that others can see.  When people ask how many children you have, answer boldly and count the one (or more!) that wait for you in eternity.

love she holds in her heart

Your love is valid and worthy of expression.  Love for your missing child may look different than love for a child still walking the earth with you.  That’s OK.  Grief is love with no place to go.  Tears are fine.  Laughter is fine.  Speaking his name is your privilege.  Carrying her legacy is your honor.  No one gets to tell you how or when to express your heart.

mothers grow love intl bereaved mothers day

You are brave.  Bereaved mothers are not the only brave ones on this planet but they are some of the bravest ones I know.  You have received the heaviest blow a mama’s heart can know and you are still standing.  You get up every day and carry on.  You continue to love the people in your life and serve your family.  You have not given up although giving up would be the easiest thing to do.  Don’t discount your own courage.

You are strong-not because you want to be but because you have to be.  Other people depend on you and you are trying your best not to let them down.  It’s no compliment when someone says, “I just wouldn’t be able to survive.”  Because, really-what choice do we have? We bear up under the burden because the alternative is to further burden our families.

you are amazing strong and brave

You are beautiful.  Every time you look in the mirror and notice the circles under your eyes or the lines around your mouth, don’t think that makes you ugly.  They are scars-scars of love and sacrifice.  They bear witness to the fact that you choose to carry on and carry your child’s legacy even though it costs every ounce of energy and will you can muster.  You may not like the way you look in pictures, but trust me, you are beautiful.

beautiful mother bereaved moms day

You are a living legacy for your missing child.  You carry his light.  You honor her memory.  You keep it fresh and alive and present and refuse to let others forget or ignore it.

ill be your legacyYou have a story to tell so tell it.  Your story may be the key to unlock another mom’s prison.  We cannot do this alone.  We need one another.  Don’t let fear of being dismissed or misunderstood silence you.  Speak up.  Stand out.  Shout your truth for others to hear.

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This day is for YOU.

It is set aside for all the mothers who love a child they can no longer hold. 

Observe it however is meaningful and healing for YOU. 

There’s no right way or wrong way to grieve.  

grief as timeless as love

 

Repost: Vocabulary Lesson: Learning the Language of Grief and Loss

How do you speak of the unspeakable?

How do you constrain the earth-shattering reality of child loss to a few syllables?

How do you SAY what must be said?

I remember the first hour after the news.  I had to make phone calls.  Had to confirm my son’s identity and let family know what had happened.

I used the only words I had at the time, “I have to tell you something terrible. Dominic is dead.”

Read the rest here:  Vocabulary Lesson: Learning the Language of Grief and Loss

Repost: Trust After Loss: Access the Truth

“I wake before the morning light.  Every. single. morning.

I get my coffee, sit in my chair and wait for sunrise.

I never worry that today it might not happen.

Read the rest here:  Trust After Loss: Access the Truth

Repost: Trust After Loss: Acknowledge Doubt and Ask Questions

Grief forces me to walk Relentlessly Forward  even when I long to go back.

I can’t stop the clock or the sun or the days rolling by.

Those of us who are more than a couple months along in this journey (or any journey that involves tragedy and loss) know that it is ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLEto feel worse than in the first few days.

Read the rest here:  Trust After Loss: Acknowledge Doubt and Ask Questions