Four years ago today I shared my first post in this space.
It was a timid foray into the wider world just a year and a half after Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
I was truly frightened that once I began sharing my intimate thoughts, good (and not-so-good) experiences and things I was learning in this Valley of the Shadow of Death I would either (1) find out no one really cared and/or (2) offend friends and family.
But what motivated me to overcome that fear was a sense that for all the information out there on grief in general, I couldn’t find nearly enough first-person experience written in bite-sized chunks on child loss in particular.
After Dom ran ahead, it was difficult for me to sit down and read a whole book. I needed bits I could read on a single computer screen.
I also needed someone to be upfront and honest about what it meant to continue to cling to faith even when it was hard and even when it meant acknowledging doubts and living with unanswered questions.
It’s difficult to believe now with the plethora of popular books (both secular and religious) on “open broken” but four and five years ago, there weren’t many around.
So I decided I’d just say what I had to say and let it fall on the ears that might need to hear it regardless of who didn’t like it or chose to ignore it.
And here we are four years later.
I don’t know how long I’ll keep writing-probably as long as I feel like I have something to say, people are listening and my fingers can still tap-tap-tap the keyboard.
For now, writing is what I do.
Even when life interrupts almost everything else I will find a few moments to jot down thoughts and hit “publish”. I know some posts are much thinner than others-maybe just a meme or two and an encouraging word. But I want to show up in case THIS morning someone’s having an especially rotten one.
I want you to know that there IS life after child loss.
A very different life.
A harder life.
A life you didn’t want and wouldn’t ever choose, but life nonetheless.
And I appreciate every. single. heart. who joins me here and cheers me (and others!) along.
Some people say they’d love to know what life has around the corner.
At least not much past tomorrow morning.
If my husband and I had known thirty-five years ago what our lives would be like along the way, we may very well have turned tail and run in the other direction!
There have been many, many good things in those years.
We have four beautiful children whom we love so much. Two are married and their spouses are a blessing to our family.
And this year our first grandchild made his dramatic appearance at only twenty-eight weeks! We are oh, so thankful he’s doing well.
It’s a brand new feeling to watch your son with his.
There have been a fair number of not-so-good things too.
Job layoffs, illness, the death of Hector’s parents one right after the other and the stress and strain of life’s details when it seemed we couldn’t get a break.
But nothing compares to burying Dominic.
How does a heart learn to live with a giant piece missing?
We have, though.
We’ve muddled through.
The commitment we made all those years ago has stood firm.
It’s battered, crumpled, muddied and torn, but it remains the guiding promise of our lives together.
I wrote this last year for our anniversary. It is still true.
We are battered and torn but hanging in and hanging on to one another.
Don’t believe the myth that a marriage cannot survive child loss. It can and many do.
Today my husband and I celebrate 33 years of marriage.
Our thirtieth anniversary wars a mere two months after we buried our son.
Here’s the last “before” anniversary photo (2013)-unfeigned smiles, genuine joy, excitement to have made it that far…
Read the rest here: Dispelling Marriage Myths Surrounding Child Loss
This week marks the beginning of a countdown no mama wants to observe.
It’s not the happy “days left ’til delivery” of a newborn bundle of joy. It’s not “days left ’til school’s out” or prom or a wedding or a college graduation.
Instead it’s a heart-wrenching countdown to all the “lasts” before the final “last time I saw his face”.
Today is the third anniversary of the last time I saw Dominic alive.
The last time I spoke to him in person, the last time I hugged his neck, the last time I hollered, “Be safe!” as he pulled down the long driveway on his way back to his apartment.
I wish I had said more,
studied his face more closely,
breathed in his scent more deeply,
done ANYTHING that would have made that moment more memorable.
But it was just one more ordinary moment in what I was certain would be many more ordinary moments.
Except it wasn’t.
I don’t know how many years it might take for my heart and mind and body and soul to stop marking these dates. I doubt I’ll live long enough for that to happen.
I’m thankful I will see him again. But I want to see him NOW.
My heart cries, “I want it back! Oh, how I want it back!”
My heart hurts.
And it is going to hurt-the countdown is only beginning.