Hey mom, how do you think Timothy likes it up there?”
What? Did that just come out of my five-year old’s mouth? And why am I surprised that it did? My daughter wasn’t even two years old when her little brother was born…straight into the arms of angels. But yet, more and more every day, his name peppers our conversations, sometimes even in the most of awkward of times. My daughter never allows an opportunity to pass by to bring strangers up to speed on the status of her little brother in heaven… the poor paint lady that merely showed up for a paint job…the quiet woman working tirelessly to paint my daughter’s torn and tattered toenails… the kind little old lady that’s hard of hearing and in all likelihood didn’t understand a lick of what she said. Yes, even after two subsequent children, she holds onto her precious brother’s memory as the priceless gold that it is, proudly proclaiming his existence for all to hear. My dear friend who lost her son recently texted me with her newborn daughter sitting on her lap: “Still have bad days?” she asked. As moms who have lost a child, at any stage in a pregnancy or thereafter, we often wonder – will this ever go away? Will I ever stop missing him? Will I ever stop imagining his tiny feet running down the hallway? Will I ever look at my child who sits on my lap and stop wondering just how much alike, or different, he would have been from his sister? Will I ever stop holding my breath at birthday parties knowing that I will never get to watch him blow out his candles? Will I ever stop LONGING for his rightful place in this family? And perhaps the hardest of all…will he be forgotten? I am one hundred percent confident that my little boy is alive and well, waiting to welcome us with open arms when we meet again. And until then, I know that I will never stop missing him, and that I can always expect “bad days”. But his memory will never stop living on here on earth…it lives on in my daughter’s sweet proclamations of his life. It lives on every time I speak to another mother broken and crushed by the loss of their little one. It lives on when I realize to take life just a little less seriously…cuddling a little longer, dancing a little sillier, finding my laughter instead of anger when my two-year old son hurls the box of mac and cheese out of the cart at the supermarket while my daughter struts by in her footsie pj’s. Sweet mamma, your little one’s life was not in vain. He has taught you to love deeper, hug tighter, laugh harder, and how to face the un-faceable. He has taught you about courage, healing, and hope. Your child has become a part of the tapestry of your life, and in turn, others. He will never be forgotten, because you see, you will never be the same. He has changed you forever, and I promise, for the better.