Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Questions That Surfaced

Yesterday the boys and I were driving down a road that we travel several times a week, and Cooper's attention was caught by the cemetery that we were passing.  He curiously and abruptly asked, "Hey!  Is that where dead people are buried?" I answered Cooper and we discussed a few things about death, cemeteries, headstones, and heaven.  Jack sat silently for a minute then said, "Mom, didn't you have some other babies a long time ago?"  I explained to him that yes, I had been pregnant with 2 other babies a few years ago.  "You've been pregnant FIVE times?!?"  Yes, buddy... I have been pregnant 5 times.  With 5 babies.  As much as I remember every detail of Jack's existence during the times that those babies were developing and ultimately passing through this world and into heaven, I was surprised that he didn't really have a lot of memories of that time.  He had so many questions, and I was honored that he felt comfortable enough to ask them as we drove along.  "Were the 2 babies that died twins?  Were they boys or girls?  Did they have names?  Did I see them?  How big were they when they were born?  Is that called 'premature'?  Did you have them at a hospital?  Aren't they at a cemetery now too?  Can we go to their cemetery?  Were you sad?  How old would they be now?  What are their birthdays?".... and many other things.  I answered his questions honestly and calmly.  Surprisingly, I didn't even feel the need to cry.  I actually sensed some relief that someone in my family was remembering with me and wanted to recall something that is a huge part of me... things that I recall almost daily.  Some of the answers to his questions were a little uncomfortable to give him simply because I didn't want to scare him or upset him, but I decided that if he had questions he deserved answers. The questions and discussion lasted for 15 or 20 minutes and ended with us walking the aisles in Wal-Mart.   I was pushing the cart, and he reached his soft, little-boy hand toward me and put it on top of mine.  As we headed to the paper towel aisle, I noticed that he was crying.  Sweet little grief-filled tears were spilling out of his eyes... 6 years later.



It was one of the sweetest moments that I have shared with my boy, and it was healing to my ever-aching heart.

It all made me think of many conversations that I have had with many mommies enduring loss...  How confusing it is that the loss that is such a huge part of her could be something that is hardly thought about or acknowledged by others in her family.  How dates that are significant and pivotal in her life are not remembered by those that were also flesh and blood with the lost child.  How everyone that is full of love and good intentions moves on to their normal, busy, distracted lives when her life still reverberates with the aftermath of losing a child.  The idea that she is dealing with the loss almost-alone within her family is difficult... I believe that it is one of the things that draws mothers that have endured loss together.

I learned quickly after my losses that no one was going to hurt like I did.  No one was going to remember like I did.  No one was going to grieve like I did.  I learned to not expect them to.  Thankfully, I have even found my solitude in grief to be a sacred experience that I share with my Lord.  But I must say that having Jack join me there yesterday... out of nowhere... was a blessing.  A gift that I don't take for granted.

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