This evening as the sunsets and unfamiliar feeling overwhelms me; I hate you. I look at you sitting on my nightstand and all I want to do is throw you away; I don’t want you. I don’t want the empty bear the holds my child’s ashes; you’re not breathing, you’re heart doesn’t beat, blood doesn’t run through your veins. I want my Everett, not my Everett Bear. I want my child back.
As Halloween begins, so does another restless night filled with dreams of you. This year, Halloween is yet another reminder of a milestone you’ll never get to reach, another reminder of what our life could have been, and the pain is almost unbearable.
October is over. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month is over. But you’re still gone. This month of reflection didn’t bring you back. It didn’t miraculously heal my aching heart. It didn’t make my family whole again. I’m not “okay”. I’m not “fine”. This is the reality I live in now. My child died. My heart will never be whole again.
I’m broken, but I’m still breathing. I’m not stable, but I’m not crumbling either. I proudly wear the scars your life left on my heart. I proudly call you my son. And I anxiously await the day I meet you at Heaven’s gates. The roar of a bereaved mother’s love and pain will forever be inside of me.
I am strong.
I am a child loss survivor.
I am an angel’s Mommy.
I am 1 in 4.
But I am also so much more. I am a mother to two babies I get to hold in my arms on Earth. I am a wife. I am a daughter. I am a friend and confidante. And because of that, I live on. Your legacy will not be my destruction; I will rise out of the ashes left behind and create a legacy you can be proud of. Your memory will not die, but will graciously live on through the lives of those that loved you. And let me tell you baby boy, so many people love you!
As I wrap up this month’s Capture your Grief Challenge I am reminded of this:
“Grief never ends, but it changes. It is a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith; It is the price of love.” –Author Unknown
Three months ago today, we lost you. Only God knows when you truly left this world, but you were born sleeping on July 30th, 2015 at 1:06 am. Your precious body weighed only 0.74 oz and measured 4 1/4 inches long. You fit perfectly into the palm of our hands. Who would’ve known such tiny footprint could leave such a huge imprint on our souls. Until we meet again baby boy. Mommy and Daddy love you, always and forever.
For you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mothers womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. -Psalm 139:13-14
Everyone goes through moments in their life where their world is rocked to its core. Moments that rip away your innocence, break your heart into a million pieces, and leave you breathlessly screaming for answers. In these moments we are left with a choice; do I turn to God to help ease my suffering or blame God for it.
Losing Everett was my moment & will always be my moment.
In the beginning there are days that you can barely breathe. Days that the fog never lifts. Days where your anger makes you question every aspect of everything you thought you knew. Days that turn into nights that turn into weeks of suffering through the reality that is now your life.
In my moments of desperation the darkest thoughts slip through to the surface of my mind. The stark reality of losing a child is beyond words or explanation and rips apart your very soul. A soul that can only be healed by one thing and one thing alone, its Creator.
It is in Him that I will heal. Through Him that I will find the peace my heart needs and the courage to bring another miracle into this world. It is because of Him and His sacrifice that I will see my sweet angel Everett again. It is because of Him and through Him that I will hold my baby in my arms again and my family will once again be whole.
We may not fully understand what took Everett from our world, but I do know this; God did not take our child from us. He may have allowed his spirit to leave this world, but I can guarantee He welcomed Everett into Heaven with open arms and will watch over him until we meet again.
Four months ago, before the fated day we found out Everett’s heart had stopped beating, I was anxiously planning all the cute pregnancy photos we should take and how to do so without taking away from our recently promoted middle child’s 1 year photo shoot with the talented T. Marie Photography. Dreaming of how big my 6 month baby bump would be and all the adorable ways to announce if we were adding a little Mr. or Mrs. to our growing King crew. You see I am that Mom. The over sharer that uploads way too many pictures of her children on social media (Yes, I am aware of what I’m doing & No, I do not plan on stopping). The one who has her kids faces plastered over practically every free wall in their home. The one who gets yearly family photos taken several times a year and would pay whatever the cost for those priceless moments captured in time. The one whose life revolves around her children. Being a mother is my identity, it is what I was born to do; it is ingrained into my DNA.
My children are the life force that runs through my veins; their love and laughter is what fuels me through my hectic days and living without one of them is the hardest things God has ever placed before me. I wake up every day to a world where one of my children is dead. I know, I know, harsh words, but that is the reality that I live in and a lifetime of memories with my sweet sunshine babies won’t change that. Everett may have only lived 20 short weeks inside my womb on this Earth, but he is just as much a part of my soul as Jack and Lucas are. His DNA will literally forever be entwined with mine; it is called maternal fetal microchimerism and it is the most amazing biological after effect of pregnancy. The emptiness in my womb his death left behind is constant aching reminder of the life we must live without him.
In just three short months without him, that life has taken a toll on all of Everett’s family; but it has been especially hard on me. I am not the same mother, wife, friend, or person I used to be. I will acknowledge that some of that change has been for the better but the fact of the matter is, my reflection is no longer my own. Everybody grows and changes over the years, but this change was drastic, sudden, irreversible and unwanted. When I look in the mirror I no longer see the woman I used to be staring back at me; I am unrecognizable and everyday I pray to catch glimpses of my former self peaking through the dark clouds surrounding me. I pray to see the rainbow at the end of the storm; a sign of the promise God made to his people, a sign of His never ending love.
I found myself sending up that same prayer of hope in our driveway as I held onto the only piece of Everett we have left; our Everett bear. Instead of capturing my growing baby bump that day at Lucas’ 1 year photo shoot we would be capturing our family without Everett. Our Everett bear would replace my growing belly and represent our missing piece. I prayed that Tiffany would find the perfect way to honor and memorialize Everett and that I could look at these pictures and see love and light in our eyes; not pain and sorrow. I longed to see my family whole; not broken up and separated into the dead and living. I wished beyond all logical thought that somehow, someway, I could look at our family photo and not see a family ravished by the loss of a child.
Let me start by saying this: I know Tiffany is not a miracle worker, but I do believe she is one of the most genuine, caring, empathetic, God driven women I have ever met and that God sends people into your life for a reason.
That day, Tiffany captured our family; not a family torn between Heaven and Earth, not a family lost and finding its way through a life without one of its members, not a family trying to mend their broken hearts, but our family. She patiently (what can I say, my husband and children don’t love pictures as much as I do), captured the beauty behind our emotions. She capture smiles, tears, and tender moments of love. The pictures we received from Lucas’ 1 year photos where everything I dreamt of, everything I prayed for, everything our family needed. They will forever be loved and cherished just like our sweet baby boy and will serve as a reminder that God hears our prayers:
Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. -Genesis 9:16
A sunshine baby is a child conceived before a family is struck by loss; a baby conceived before devastation held a place in their hearts. A symbol of love before they knew anything about the shattered world of child loss.
In the bereaved parent community, a crowd I now find myself a part of, the King boys have a new title; sunshine babies. And let me tell you there is no better way to describe the light they bring into our lives. Like a warm ray of sunshine on a cloudy day their smiles and laughter can push away even the darkest of storms. I don’t know where I would be without their sweet snuggles and salty kisses; they make me want to be more, to do more, to live more. They are the reason I get up every morning and the last thing I worry about at night. Being their Mommy is my greatest gift and there will never be a day where I am not proud to call them mine.
There is so much we have done in remembrance of you sweet baby. It is almost as if we are afraid of forgetting you. Truth be told, Mommy certainly is. The thought of your memory fading into the background of our life terrifies me, but I know that is the harsh reality of living without you. We will always remember you and celebrate your life, but the truth is, there will come a day when thinking of you doesn’t send me into hysterics and I can breathe without you. There will come a day when your birthday and holidays is the only time I won’t be able to move on without you. There will come a day when I don’t ache with missing you and our life moves forward. Please know sweet boy that this doesn’t mean Mommy loves you any less. I will always be anxiously awaiting the day we meet again and I get to hold you in my arms once more. Every space we’ve made for you is special, but the Wesley Memorial garden holds a special place in my heart as a piece of you will always be there. The same place your brothers and you were born and the same place your future siblings will be brought into this world. The one place you have all been. The one place we can be together as a family.
Mommy loves me miss you Everett, always and forever.
The journey through grief is just that; a journey. Everyday I wake up and chose life; I chose joy, I chose sadness, I chose love, I it all. I chose everything that comes with being a mother because you can’t just accept part of your child and that is just what Everett was, what Everett is; my child.
Denying a part of my grief would be like denying a part of him so I chose to embrace it, just like I would’ve embraced him.
How can we possibly sum up our love for you. Our love for you is endless; beyond words, beyond reason, and transcends time and space. Our love for you; for all of our children extends from this world into the next and began the moment I saw those two pink lines. We should’ve had an entire lifetime to show you that love, but instead everything we wished for you is now an impossible dream. As we await the day we get to hold you in our arms again we can only hope that you are proud of the lives we live in honor of you.
I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.