For all the Moms and Dads

emptyswing

 

For all the Moms and Dads who have a child missing from the “first day of school” photos.

You are not forgotten.

The barrage of photos on my Facebook hit me harder than I imagined they would this year. Please don’t misunderstand. I enjoyed seeing the photos. I even liked and loved many of them! Especially my family and friend’s little ones! I’ve just been wishing in my momma heart that I could have taken one too.

You see, my own son would be in preschool this year. We should haven been buying school clothes, supplies. Picking out a backpack. What would he have chosen? Cars? Dinosaurs? These are the things I ponder when I see the back to school displays. What would he have wanted? What would have been his favorite color? I have ideas in my head of what he might have liked, what clothes he might have worn, but these are just thoughts in my mind… thoughts that aren’t often shared.

Grief is funny in that you can’t predict when it will rear it’s head. When it will drop in suddenly and unannounced. It might be a daily activity you’ve done a million times, but suddenly it triggers a memory and then “oh, it’s you again.” The unwelcome guest who has taken up a permanent residence. Sometime’s it’s just a tugging and other times leaves you breathless with tears, but you can’t ever be ready for when it will strike.

What I’ve learned through my own personal grief is to take this unwelcome resident  and embrace it. Don’t fight it or push it away. It’s not going anywhere after all, so we may as well learn to live together. Because what I’ve found is that sometimes this grief brings up very painful memories. But other times, it brings forth funny memories, happy memories, and memories where there is so much love bursting through, it practically leaves a glow in my heart.

So while this unwelcome guest, turned unwelcome resident, turned almost “partner,” and I had a very rocky start, we’ve learned to live together. I might feel terrible while bawling my eyes out, but I honestly do feel better after. I’ve learned that grief is a form of love, and having an outlet to express that love helps me get through all the other days.

So to all the other Moms and Dads out there who should have a child starting preschool, middle school, high school, college… you are not forgotten.

Sending so much love your way.

 

 

 

 

When you can’t be with the one you love

 

I thought I knew how much I loved Lincoln while he was here. I would’ve done anything for my boy. At Riley all I could think when I saw that sweet little baby in that hospital bed, I would’ve given anything to trade places with him. I absolutely would have died for him so that he could live.

What I didn’t understand at that time was that while he was here, at least I could still show him affection; I could still hold his hand, and kiss his face. I could lay my head down beside his on the little hospital bed because I knew our connection was so much more deeper than him needing to be awake to know I was there; our souls were connected because he was my baby. I knew that if I was close to him he  would know his mommy was there.

I still have so much love for Lincoln in my heart, but there is no release of giving him the love daily. Instead it builds up, builds up and builds up until  it feels like my heart is going to burst. That is part of what makes the pain and grief so incredibly hard. Loss mommies have to find other ways to show their babies love once they’re not there for you to physically give it to them. You have to find a release.

This is why I write. This is why we have our charity Lincoln’s Hope in his memory. This is why we have golf scrambles and walks and sell T-shirts. This is why we do things like visit his grave and set off lanterns and balloons and light candles. Anything we can possibly do to get some relief from the built up love we have in our hearts.

This is also one of the ways I have found some healing. The love that pours out of a grieving parent’s heart is powerful enough to change the world. That is the legacy my son has left behind. A legacy of love. God is using the love that we have for our son to make a difference in the world. Through our love for Lincoln we are able to show others the love that God has for that them.

So while this isn’t the life I would have ever in 1 million years have chosen I am so proud of my son and what he was able to accomplish during his short life. I don’t know how I could be a prouder mom of my first born. He has forever changed my heart, and this world, for the better.