It Is Well

The first chord rang and I knew it was coming, it built to the reframe and I had full blown snot and eyes swollen pink from the alligator tears flowing in the middle of church. The sky not the grave is our goal. It just becomes real when you go through something so deep and a loss that challenges what you thought were truths.

I used to be a person who loved a good RomCom cry, or at least a socially appropriate cry. Today was the first time in a long time, and it was just because of the words in a song. 

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roar;

Whatever my lot, thou hath taught me to know, it is well with my soul.” 

The first chord rang and I knew it was coming, it built to the reframe and I had full blown snot and eyes swollen pink from the alligator tears flowing in the middle of church. The sky not the grave is our goal. It just becomes real when you go through something so deep and a loss that challenges what you thought were truths. 

The story of this song is of total tragedy. Horatio Spafford had moved his whole family to the U.S. and he lost his son at age 2 in the Chicago Fire of 1871. He also lost his business and his family was financially ruined. By 1873 the family decided to refute Europe, but at the last minute he decided to stay back and finish some work in Chicago before joining them. The boat the rest of his family was on collided with another ship and the only survivor was his wife. She sent him a telegram saying “Saved Alone, what shall I do.”

Shortly afterwards he sailed to Europe to meet her. The captain took him to the bow as they passed the water where his families ship sank and his children lay. Afterwards he felt so inspired he wrote ‘It is well.’

There is so much we can’t begin to comprehend. Although this is tragedy, I know God is there in the broken pieces. I think back to the peace in the room as Logan was baptized and prayed and sung to. There was no more of the Holy Spirit than what he felt in his short life. 

I will always and forever be  blubbering baby when I hear certain songs. So if you happen to be sitting next to me when they come on, please pray you have a tissue! 

Your Irreplaceable

Time will not change that. Time does not heal all wounds, it allows for a different perspective.

No matter what stage in life our children are not replaceable. No matter how many others I hold in my arms they will not be the one I lost.

I’ve talked to other loss mama’s about how we could all write books of the stupid ‘helpful” things we’ve heard since our loss. One of the top is: “Your young you can always have more.”

It truly aches hearing that.

It assumes that children are interchangeable.

This is usually not meant to be said in a hurtful manner. It’s thought to be look on the bright side. But really it is just minimizing the loss.

Would you say to your grandparent who just lost their partner of 50 years “Don’t worry you can always get married again?”

NO! That would sound completely insincere. You know that although they could get remarried it doesn’t mean that time is forgotten with their loss.

Although our time was shorter than we had wanted with Logan. Having a living child or any possible future children do not replace his place in our family.

The moment that those 2 pink lines show up your life is changed. You make plans before the child is fully formed. You alter your life choices and prepare space in your heart and home for the future you hope for.

Time will not change that. Time does not heal all wounds, it allows for a different perspective.

No matter what stage in life our children are not replaceable. No matter how many others I hold in my arms they will not be the one I lost.

I have heard other loss moms judging me by reminding me to be thankful for my living children. Which I am. But that does not mean I do not mourn the one who is not here.

I’m asking for a stop in the mommy wars.

We are all broken. You may have good intentions. I do not think anyone who has said this has said it purposefully trying to be hurtful. I just ask you to remember: children are irreplaceable.

No matter how long their stay was on this earth, there will never be another exactly like them.

I Will Always Wonder Who You Would Have Been

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I couldn’t help thinking as I drove my daughter to school today how this day should have been so different. This should have been Logan’s first day of daycare. I should have spent this last week freaking out if I had enough milk for him while I was away at work. Are the teachers I’ve trusted with him going to be meeting his needs just as I have been over these past 5 months? This fall and holiday season were supposed to be mommy/son bonding time. We were supposed to have had so much time with just the 2 of us. The thought of who you would have been is a question I will always wonder and never get to know on this side of heaven.

I am thankful for those who wonder with me. Those who help remember that I am a mother of 2 even though they can only see 1. Today I am lost in wonder. The wonder of what my reunion with Logan will one day be. Will he be the baby that I will finally be able to hold again, or a grown man? One day I will have answers to my wondering. Until then I will continue to be amazed at how life continues to slowly move on, but how so many lives are forever changed from the brief moment Logan was with us. Even the smallest things can have the greatest impact.

When The Waves Hit

Until this wave I had forgotten how grief can physically hurt! How your arms long for something that you can no longer hold! Grief can tear you up until you are raw!

#infantloss #lifeafterloss #oneinfour #writingisthereapy

Most of the time I feel pretty together. There’s many times now where I can put the memories aside and focus on the present. A feeling of being both present and also my mind on Logan has become my new way of thought. I feel I’ve prepared myself for the dark days when I know they’re coming. For the holiday celebrations and making time for myself to have my time alone. I feel like overall I’m getting better at managing my life with grief as a partner.

Every so often there’s a wave that will come out and even though I think I’m ready for the grief it seems to almost swallow me whole.

The other day at church I felt this wave as I watched a family walk up with their baby to be baptized. It wasn’t the ceremony that got me, it was actually seeing the baptism gown. I was hit with a wave so hard I felt that I couldn’t run fast enough to get away from myself. The sudden memory of Logan in the same gown that myself and my daughter had worn. The memories of him cuddled in his blanket in his casket instead of a bassinet.

Until this wave I had forgotten how grief can physically hurt! How your arms long for something that you can no longer hold! Grief can tear you up until you are raw!

There’s times can come crashing down reminding you of what you don’t have. How overwhelming the sense of anxiety is when you’re in the thick of it.

I know times like this are now a regular part of my life.

That in between the waves, there is life. That some days I’ll see it coming and others where the day will wash over you. I may have some more learning to do from these waves.

I know that without my support I would allow myself to get swallowed. To be surrounded by those who understand why some moments I have to walk away and not have to explain has allowed me to allow myself to surrender to some of the waves that hit.

This week was a reminder to me that sometimes I still don’t know as much as I think I do.

In order to heal you’ve got to feel.

Why Behind the Willow Trees

The history of the willow

I decided to call my writing behind the Willow Trees because when we were in the hospital room, our room had a label of a small post-it sized picture of a willow tree. This was supposed to signify to not only nurses and doctors, but the custodians, food prep and other staff that although this room is normally a labor and delivery happy room, today it is not. There will be no crying baby when you enter this room. You will instead be seeing crying family members making memories of their too short time together all as a family.

I am sure for many of the staff they would take a deep breath try their best to just get in get what they had to do for their job in our room and leave as quickly as possible. To try to not linger thinking about what this day was like for the family on the other side. I know from personal experience with so many of the staff who have stayed in contact with me that they were personally touched by what they found from our family on the other side of this door. They helped us bathe him, they cried with us mourning our tragedy. They prepared memories of and whatever they could find to give us. I have a feeling their special love is why I now have 4 extra-large water bottles, uncountable number of breastfeeding support items and all the extra tissues they could scrounge together.

I wanted to let others see a deeper look into our family on the other side of the Willow Tree. That when you open this door this is the family you will find, we are broken and hurt but we are growing through this. Willow trees are capable of bending to outrageous poses without snapping and one of its most valuable traits is in its flexibility. The message of the willow tree is to adjust with life rather than fighting it, surrendering to the process. It reminds us to surrender to our innermost selves and gain a deeper understanding of our subconscious. It is a tree that can survive in challenging conditions. It’s symbolic meaning is that even through great loss we have the ability to grow and potential for something new. The image of the willow tree is our path to stability, hope and healing.

The tree is also symbolic as we have it placed on Logan’s headstone. In the book the giving tree the tree gave the boy everything she had so that the boy would be happy. The tree loved him more than she loved herself. She sacrificed her own self for the boys happiness. This is the story of parenting. That you wish you could give everything to watch your child thrive and be happy. Just as in the book your relationship and needs of your child will change, but you continue to do what you can. We will adjust as the tree and grow around our pain. We have continued potential for greatness and a deeper love through this pain. As the book says, “and the tree was happy.”

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