It’s so nice to be back here with you. I want to thank you for all of the love and support you showed as we remembered our sweet heavenly son Noah this month. I was really touched by your kindness and comments. It might not seem like much, but those small acts of reaching out in love and compassion make all the difference in the lonely, lifelong journey of grief.
As of this week, those anniversaries are over now for another year, thank goodness. We have been through it for 19 years so far. It is always a difficult time, no matter how many years pass by. I am usually chugging along quite well through May, and even into early June. Every year I always wonder if this will be the year I get through unscathed, but sure enough, every single year that deep well of sadness opens up and rises slowly through my tender heart demanding attention. It consumes my emotions first, then my energy, my thoughts and finally my ability to think and concentrate. It is all consuming. Thankfully, these times are now a lot shorter and less brutal.
There are so many precious mamas out there who are in different stages of grieving the loss of their child or children. From those first few years of inconsolable heartbreak when grief grips you so tightly around the neck you feel like you can’t breathe, to the dull ache of seasoned grief which ebbs and flows like a continual tide but never quite abates, and all the long, confusing years in between. Grief is here to stay and although it changes over time, it is a constant presence for the rest of your life.
In those early years, the intensity of my grief was quite overwhelming and debilitating. You think you will never get through it and your life is all but over. You wonder how you can still be breathing when your heart has been ripped out. But as the years pass you gradually have more space in between the consuming pain and sadness, until eventually your heart begins to fill up with love and life again and its only occasionally, in times like anniversaries, that your loss rises up familiarly to greet you. It stays for a while, and if you wisely choose to let it runs its course, instead of pushing it away, the grief will recede again into the secret place of the heart, and you keep on walking forward. But it does demand that you sit and embrace it. Every time. There’s no getting around it. This is the new normal.
It’s hard to learn to live with grief, but over the years, I have realised that you can. It is true that you will never again be the same person you were before you lost your darling, but there does come a time when you begin to co exist with the loss. I was going to write accept the loss, but upon reflection I don’t think you ever really do. How can you accept that you will never hold your child again or that your son will never get married or have children of his own? No, I will never be able to accept that. But by the grace of God I can live with it.
If you would like to read Noah’s story about his brief earthly life, you can read it here . It is a heartbreaking story, like so many others. His story is interwoven into every fibre of my being now. It shapes my identity and affects my life profoundly. Through it all though, even at the most difficult times, I am still so glad that I had my son. It was only for nine months in the womb and 11 days earth side, but I carried him in my body and had the privilege of delivering him, feeling his warm body on my skin, hearing him cry and breastfeeding less than a handful of times. I am so keenly aware that not every grieving mama has been given these gifts and I do treasure them.
I am so grateful for his little life. I thank God for choosing me to be his mama. I can honestly say that I am also happy that he is and forever will be with Jesus in Heaven. He is safe. He is home. And I like to imagine that he is planting a garden near my heavenly house with all of the brightly coloured flowers he knows I will love and is longing to welcome me home when my time comes. I still have my darling son. We are apart for a little while now, but I still have him forever. He will always be mine. He is uncorrupted and perfect and close to the Father. He will always be my son and I will always be his mother.
One year and 3 days after we buried our precious Noah, I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl Lillian, the first of five more daughters. She was like sunshine bursting into my heart, bringing healing in her rays. On Thursday this week our Lily turned 18. She is living a full life, a life that she may not have been given if our darling boy had lived. There is much I am grateful for.
Once again, thank you so much for listening to my heart. A precious friend reminded me this week that writing cements something. It makes our thoughts tangible and concrete, helping us to process and find perspective. It marks our place in the world and validates our story. It has been an honour to share a small part of my journey with you.
And now, back to cake! Next week I think it’s finally time to share my super delish Pina Colada cupcake recipe with you! I tried really hard to wait till Summer, but I just can’t. It’s too scrumptious not to share now. So make sure you pop in again next Saturday ready to bake up a treat.
Don’t forget to say hello, leave a comment and share a bit of your story with me. I’d love to hear from you.
Lots of love,