The King Boys

It was one of those days today where a simple conversation with a stranger at church brought me to tears, but for once, my tears where shed not for my own loss, but for anothers.

It’s the simplest of questions that often comes up in small talk, “how many kids do you have?”  This seemingly innocent question often makes you cringe and sends your head reeling with a thousand questions when you’ve experienced the loss of a child. Do I turn this pleasant conversation to an awkward end and tell the truth or do I lie and live with the guilt that accompanies denying my third born son that grew in my womb for 20 short weeks?

With a deep breathe and an aching heart I chose to answer truthfully and use the time I had left in this conversation to honor the life of our sweet Everett. Much to my surprise, the truth which is often met with an awkward apology and a swift goodbye, was greeted with the genuine love and understanding of two hearts that have shared the same pain. Not only did I receive validation for the increasingly aching pain I still feel 9 short months after losing our angel, but I helped to give another grieving Mommy the courage to speak her truth to a complete stranger.

I’ve learned so much from this brief encounter at church today and healed even more from it.

Loss Mama’s,

You don’t have to close your heart to the hurt that can come from sharing your child’s life. That pain, that isolation doesn’t have to be yours and yours alone to bear. There are so many other women out there experiencing the same anguish, the same mind numbing heartache just waiting for someone to reach out and help pull them out of the darkness even if just for a moment. So look around you and keep your eyes open for other women like you struggling to live a life without a part of their heart.

Everett’s Mommy

Loss Mommy Guilt

One of the most difficult things I’ve experienced, and continue to experience as a mother is Mommy guilt. 

As good mothers, we question everything, and I do mean everything, we do and say for our children because we want what is best for them. If we didn’t care so much we wouldn’t doubt, over analyze, or question anything we do for our children. Since the day our first son was born in 2012 I’ve struggled with the ebb and flow of Mommy guilt (whether it be self initiated or coming from an outside source), but since we lost our third born son in July of 2015 I’ve experienced Mommy guilt like I’d never fathomed existed: loss Mommy guilt; a harsh, unquenchable guilt that eats away at you and settles in the pit of your stomach and reminds you everyday of the precious life missing from your family.

Loss Mommy guilt is almost indescribable and makes me question everything I’ve done in honor of our son’s life since the day he was born still into this world: Is it good enough? Is it enough? Can I do more; why haven’t I done more? Why am I holding back? What am I holding back? Do I think about him enough, cry over him enough, miss him enough? The questions are endless just like my love for him. But deep down, in my heart and soul, I know that I honor him with every breath I breathe, but I continue to allow doubt, guilt, and grief to overshadow that love and stifle my voice, the only voice Everett has left.

Mommy guilt has kept me from writing this last month and has kept my heart bleeding along with my eyes. How can I heal and grieve at the same time? How can I be a beacon of hope for others like me when I’m still struggling myself? How can I give other grieving mothers a chance to share their stories if I’m holding back parts of my own? How can I fully trust in Our Lord if I’m still questioning they “whys”, “what ifs”, and “could’ve beens”? How can I honor the short life our son experienced inside my womb still aching for him to return? How can I be more, do more, help more?

But today, I realized, the Mommy guilt I carry for our son Everett is just like the Mommy guilt I carry for his brothers. I worry, question, and overthink because I love him and because that love drives me in all that I do. I will always reach for more, always question if I am giving everything I have to be his voice in this world, and always doubt myself in doing so because I care so deeply and love so much.

There are big changes coming on the horizon and I can’t wait to share them all with you.

Everett,

Until the day we meet again I promise to always reach for more. To heal, to honor, and to move forward without you no matter how slow my steps become because honoring you is all I have left to give you in this world. Until we meet again baby boy.

-Everett’s Mommy

On Dancing in the Rain

There comes a point after even the most devastating loss whether it be days, weeks, months, or years later when you reach a cross roads. You wake up one morning and say to yourself, “enough is enough.” At this point you have a decision to make, do you give up, do you allow this unimaginable loss to destroy you? Do you succumb to the searing pain in your chest? The blood boiling hate & anger? The soul crushing devastation? Do you allow evil to win? The devil to claim your soul?  Or do you turn your soul over to the Lord; choosing light, choosing love, choosing life: choosing to rise.

I choose to rise. I choose to have faith. I choose to place my life in His hands and surrender. 

This isn’t to say that the storm isn’t still raging inside of me; this kind of storm never dies, but only ebbs and flows with every breath I take. But only that I am willing to learn to dance in the rain, let the lightening run through my veins, and proclaim His glory louder than the thunder piercing my eardrums; allowing Him to energize my soul every day for the rest of my life.

This point for me came one bright sunny Saturday morning when I looked in the mirror and was disgusted by what I saw starting back at me; not the superficial reflection mirrors are meant to depict, not skin and bone, blood and marrow, but the part of my soul only He can see. It was dark; clouded over by hate and anger; stained, and what I believed to be irrevocably shattered. But worst of all it was HIDDEN, not only from my friends and family, my husband, my children, myself, but from the One who should see every part of my heart and soul, the One who will always accept every part of me, the One who accepts me for who I am, no matter what; it was hidden from our Lord in an effort to hold onto some sense of control, some sense of empowerment through the storm my life had become after losing you.

And right then I realized, since losing you, I’d lost my direct line to my faith, the one thing that could help me piece the broken pieces of my heart and soul back together again.

That’s when I decided. I will surrender; whole heartedly, with everything that I am and everything I am going to become. I will place my life in our Lord’s hands and accept that He and He alone can help me through the hole that I’ve dug. 

I am a loss Mom, a Still Mother, a still birth survivor, but I am also so so much more. And lately, I’ve been letting the bereaved mother part of my identity consume me, hiding behind my grief, let it shield and protect me from a world I no long recognize; a world now tainted by child loss, still birth and miscarriage statistics.I will not allow my life nor my families to be definied by our loss. It is a part of who we are and will forever be; just as Everett is, but it is does not define us.  I refuse to let Everett’s still birth be my death. I refuse to let his life be remembered that way, I refuse to do anything, but honor him with every breath I take.

So from now on, I give my life to you Lord, take my hand and guide me; lead me to where I am meant to be.

 

To my husband…

To my husband on love after loss on our 1st Valentine’s Day without you,

I love our boys, absolute and whole heartedly, just as you do, but despite the immensity of my motherly love the love I have for you is uncomparable. One look from you lights me on fire and sets my very soul ablaze. You are everything I’ve ever wanted, everything I ever asked for, everything I dreamed of and I’ll never love another with the ferocity in which I love you.

My day is not completely unless I am falling asleep in your arms; our bed feels empty without you by my side and not a day passes that I am not thankful to be spending forever by your side.

The love we share makes me a better version of myself; a better daughter, a better wife, a better mother. You see my flaws and love me more because of them. You always know just the right thing to say, or not say, to make my dark and stormy days full of sunshine and when to let me wallow in the rain.

On the day we got married, almost ten years ago, I thought I would never love you more, but through the years, as our family grows, so does the love I hold for you inside my soul. Watching you become a father has been one of life’s greatest blessings and spending my nights seeing the bond between you and our boys grow is the greatest blessing of them all.

-XOXO-

me

I’ll always wonder

I’ll always wonder what you’d look like. Who you would’ve been. What your life would’ve turned out to be if you were here with us; a rolly polly six month old trying so hard to keep up with your brothers, but I’ve finally accepted that those days will never come. I’ll never see you grow along side your brothers; tagging along in their mischief and keeping Mommy on her toes. I’ve finally realized that’s okay. These are the cards we were dealt and dwelling on the what ifs and the could’ve beens will only hurt us all.

I’ve let go of the pain, the anger, the guilt. I’ve emptied it all into the trash and focused on creating a legacy you’d be proud of; a legacy full of love and light and hope.

I long for the glorious day that I meet you in Heaven and hold you in my arms again. Will you have grown alongside your brothers? Will I miss your baby years or will I hold you in my arms as if you’d never left? Will you have Mommy’s eyes like your brothers? Daddy’s ears? Grandpa’s nose? So many questions I’ll have to wait a lifetime to have answered.

Here’s to hoping a lifetime passes by in a blink of an eye for you and I get to hold my sweet baby in my arms again one glorious day in Heaven.

Until we meet again.

Everett’s Mommy

We survived

Life gives you two choices when you suffer a tragedy: give up or survive.

I woke up this morning and realized, WE SURVIVED.

Somehow.

Someway. 

By God’s grace.

We survived.

The Holidays have came to and end, 2016 has begun, 2015 is over and here we are as a family, not completely whole, but not completely broken either. We made it to the other side of our first Holiday season without you. We survived.

Here’s to surviving without you baby boy. God only knows I’d rather have you here by my side, but for now, for the rest of my days in this lifetime, I’ll survive.

-Everett’s Mommy

 

 

2016: bring it on. 

We’ve been through it all this year; I mean really been put through the trenches. There aren’t words for the pain and heartache our family has seen in 2015, but we survived & for you, for them, for us, for me I will do so much more than that this year.

Because of you I now live a life defined by love and have a drive and purpose like I’ve never know before. That’s what happens when you lose someone you love with your entire heart, your entire soul, with everything you are and everything you have yet to become. You break. But then, when the time is right, you mend and you arise stronger than you’ve ever been before.

I look forward to another year here on this Earth, even if it means another year without you in my arms.

So bring it on 2016; give me your best shot.

-Everett’s Mommy

I choose you. 

Without this pain, without this heartache I wouldn’t have you baby boy. I choose you; every single time.

Even if it means living the rest of my life without you. Even if it means never getting to see you grow; never getting to feel you breathe, hear you cry, or experience your beautiful laugh and radiant smile. No matter what, I choose you. 

With every breath I breathe. With every day I live without you. For the rest of my life. I chose you Everett. 

Every. 

Single. 

Time

Because no matter what, I am yours and you are mine; nothing  and no one can change that. You became mine the moment you started growing in my womb and losing you doesn’t make me any less your mother just as dying doesn’t make you any less my son. 

No distance or passage of time can undo the bond we share. I am your mother and you are my child. You may not be here living your life along side me, but there is not a person alive who can take you from me.  

Always & forever. From now until eternity. I belong to you & you belong to me.

Everett’s Mommy 

We wished for a baby, but got an Angel instead.

   

  

Photo credit: T. Marie Photography
 

Last Christmas as your brother Lucas experienced his 1st Christmas and the awe of the holiday season filled our home Mommy made a wish; a wish for another baby to complete our rowdy bunch of boys and make our family complete. A wish I thought would be fulfilled this Christmas as I held you in my arms for your 1st Christmas (a moment I will forever long for). As Christmas day came and went without you Mommy realized something; sometimes the biggest miracles are sent in the smallest of packages. 

We may not have been able to hold you in our arms for your 1st Christmas like we’d hoped, but you were there. You were there in every minute we spent as a family with hearts full of love for each other holding ever moment dear. You were there with every smile exchanged, every hug given, and every kiss kissed teaching us to love like we will never have another chance. You were there as grace was said and our love for our Lord & Savior grew as we celebrated His only son’s birth. You were there in every gift, every star, every twinkling light shining down your love from above. 

As you celebrated your 1st Christmas in Heaven Mommy realized you, my sweet baby boy, will always be there; as our hair begins to grey and your brothers grow, as milestones, birthday parties, and Holiday pass us by, as year after year dwindles away. Until we take our last breaths on this Earth and are reunited in Heaven: you will be there right beside us showering us with your love. 

We wished for a baby, but got an Angel instead. Our Guardian Angel who will spend every moment of our lives by our sides loving is from afar until we meet again. 

We love you baby boy. Always & forever. From this life until the next. 

-Everett’s Mommy

Gone Too Soon

You should’ve been in my arms today baby boy; my arms ache to hold you and our family feels incomplete without the joy awaiting your imminent arrival would’ve brought. I find myself playing this song over and over in my head graciously accepting the tears that follow if only to feel closer to you for another moment. 

We played this song at your memorial and it will forever remind me of everything we lost when we lost you. Some days, when my eyes are clouded by tears, it is hard to see the things we’ve gained through this journey, hard to see the beauty of having our Angel watching over us, hard to accept the fact that I will live my life with a piece of my heart missing.

This song speaks to my soul as if it was written just for me. Many people who haven’t experienced child loss don’t see and hopefully will never truly understand (as that understanding comes with only one thing, the loss of a child) that you don’t just lose your child, you lose everything they could have been, every year you could’ve spent with them by your side, and every milestone their life would’ve held. You lose a 1 year old’s first step, a 5 years old’s first day of school, the awkward teenage years, first crushes, first heartaches, first loves, graduations, marriage, grandchildren; you lose it all. It is a devastating loss that changes your world forever. It is not something you “get over” or “move past” and it is most definitely not something you will ever forget. Your life may eventually move on: as everyone’s must, but the pain and the anguish will forever be a part of who you are, peaking it’s way in at the most inopportune moments and leaving behind a wound on your heart that will never fade away.

Everett,

Your life, your death has left a wound on my heart. A wound that cuts so deep it touches my soul. A wound that will never completely heal, but that I proudly wear as it is the only thing I have left of you. A wound that will bleed until the day I die and meet you again. My arms ache with the need to hold you and for now, I fill them full of love for your brothers and the time I get with them here on this Earth. I anxiously await the day I get to hold you again baby boy and I hope beyond measure that until then, I can live a life that will make you proud to call me Mommy.

Everett’s Mommy