This week is infant loss awareness week/SIDS awareness week(the whole month is but it overshadowed by breast cancer awareness month) and this Friday is the official remembrance day. For whatever reason this has caused me much thought and emotions. I keep replaying the day that George died and the days following all the way up to his service. I have thought about those who I happened to loose a child in any manner especially those who I know who had a miscarriage. My thoughts have really been all over the board as I try and handle the many emotions associated with the loss of a child.
Last week a woman who lost her child to SIDS offered to create a memorial photo of any child that left this world to early. I had her make one for George and then thought of my sister and my nephew in heaven so I emailed her and let her know. She emailed me back saying that she didn't need one and had to find a way to move on. That made me think of the way that people who have lost a child to miscarriage cope. I think it comes down to what does life mean and where do you consider it begins? I've watched as parents honor the memory of the miscarried children as much as a mother who held her baby in her arms and then others who just move on as it being part of life. You then have those left in the middle not knowing what to do.
This made me think of how I feel often with the way that I cope with George no longer being here. With the holidays coming up all I can think of is how there will be no gifts for him and how to still celebrate it with him in our hearts but not our arms. To not include him seems to be as if I am not admitting that he existed when including him really makes no sense logically! How do you celebrate with or for a child already in heaven? Things will just never be the same again and some of the hardest parts are the finding a way to live still with them not here. Logically he will never know the difference but emotionally I feel compelled to not forget him and include him. It is one of the oddest feelings to ever have to and wrestle with continually throughout the day.
It has got to be even harder for those who have lost their child/children to miscarriage if they in fact felt as if they were their baby. Society as a whole has a horrible misconception about the loss of a child but especially those lost to miscarriage. People mean well but say the most inappropriate things. I recently read and article written by a father who lost his child to miscarriage and how horrible they felt and all the things people would say to them and could not fathom that sort of response especially after some of the most absurd comments made to us after the loss of a child we held in our arms.
We have friends of ours who always wanted children but were never blessed with them and happened to know the pain of miscarriage. They are much older than we are and it never occurred to me that to this day they too could be mourning the loss of that child and may actually impact their daily lives. I then thought of a friend of mine who lost her first child to a miscarriage. After George died my sister and this friend of mine were the most honest and emotionally touched people by our loss. To this day she still tells me she cannot fathom the pain that we feel because she knew how devastated she was after her miscarriage. I have to say I respect that more than someone else's vain attempt to bring comfort by hurtful comments meant to comfort but rather bring stabbing pain.
As these friends and my sister talk to us you can see their pain in their eyes and an empathy beyond compare. In a way they relive their own loss and try to fathom the pain great pain associated with the loss of a child you held in your arms. I also feel it ironic that these people are always the most awkward around you knowing that they don't want to hurt you any more than you are. They are sympathetic to your loss and how the wrong thing said can just bring more heartache. The one thing they do not do is run the other way and admit they just don't know what to say or do for you. In some odd way that is more comforting than "words of wisdom" from well meaning individuals who just really don't get it.
I often thank God that I happened to not know the loss of a child until George but happened to have a different insight into death than most people. I remember the days following my sister finding out that her son had a rare medical problem that left them with a big decision. The docs had decided that they needed to terminate the pregnancy and move on with life yet my sister was very distraught about the entire thing. She sounded "good" on the phone with it but something made me drive to her house and be there for her and talk things through with her. I could see how very lost she was and remember telling her that she already thought of this little person as her child. The days following Gavin returned to heaven on his own and my sister and her husband were left with heartache rather than a baby to hold.
I sat there wondering why in the world this sort of thing would happen. There are people who kill their children and abuse them and yet here was a child who would have known unconditional love and have two wonderful parents and was gone. I did not see the fairness in any of it and felt very lost. After George died I sat there feeling many of these same emotions. Somewhere in all of it I still believed things happen for a reason. Was George here to help my sister through her loss(to this day she still says that she had a special bond with George)? Did she loose her son so that she understood my loss? Why will our daughters both have a brother in heaven that they will never know? Was it so that the two boys would have one another up there in heaven until we can return to be with them? I don't profess to know why but I do know that they are together...I don't know what capacity we will know them in when we return but somehow I have this peace about it all.
I don't understand this peace and really have been questioning it a lot lately. Why do I have this peace when I have such pain in my heart? I really can't say why but have been thinking about it. That has brought my thoughts to those very moments that our world was turned upside down. I think of when Hugh handed him to me and I knew he was gone yet held a hope I was wrong. In my heart I knew though. We stood there in the ER watching them working on him and I prayed to God to give him back to us but knowing in my heart he already had plans for him and it was not here on Earth. Somewhere in it all through my head ran the words Christ used " please let this cup pass from me but thy will be done" Where in the world did that truly come from? How could I be so understanding as I was watching my son die on a hospital table? How could I find it in me to be understanding as I sat there signing papers to have my sweet little boys cremated? That wasn't how it was suppose to be, at least in my mind.
Yesterday, as I sat there holding back years yet again, it occurred to me finally. I believe that it was Christ walking with me during those moments. Even now when I do not truly understand but have peace about our loss I know it is only then that I am wrapped in his arms being comforted like only he can do. There are no vain attempts to say the right thing, no words need to be spoken. It does not take the horrible pain away as I wish it would but it makes it possible to make it through the day or know that I will survive when I don't feel like I can go any further. As alienated from society, friends, and family, I never have felt completely alone and for that I am grateful! Every day is a challenge right now and probably will be that way for quite a while...I need to give myself the ok to feel the pain and allow God and Jesus to walk me through it because there is nothing anyone can do or say to make it better. I am left with the ashes of my dreams in an urn on a mantle rather than my little boy and that is such a difficult thing to learn to live with. I am not alone though and that is ultimately what gives me peace.
Please light a candle on Friday at 7pm-8pm for the children who have gone before their parents. We will especially be remembering George and Gavin along with those children of our friends on Friday.
George's Guardian's of Grace Projects
Stocking project is now in full force collecting donations. We have a list of the items we can use. You can also choose to sponsor a stocking in memory or honor of someone else. We will include a paragraph or two in the cards we place in the stockings to let the recipient know about the person that means so much to you. Our paypal account is posted on this page and ready to take donations. Email us for a list of items needed or with any questions or information you would like included on a sponsored stocking/donation.
Video Tributes/Celebration of Life Footage
Here is a link to a video tribute that was made by Richard's dad in memory of George. Get out your tissues!
We Finally have footage from the service up and running:
It is in 4 sections running about 17 mins each. If you were unable to attend, you can now see what you missed. We were so blessed to have everyone there with us in person and in spirit!