Most of my closest friends don’t know the full story. But how, on this hustling and bustling earth, could I explain every detail of the saddest story of my life?
They don’t know that I have tiny footprints in ink; a doll-sized, crocheted, blue hat which he wore (undoubtedly knitted by someone knowing a similar pain); and a drawer full of “I’m so sorry for your loss” cards that I keep to bring out and remember him on rare days.
They don’t know that my son weighed exactly what he should have weighed.
They don’t know he had 10 little toes and 10 little fingers and a sweet, little, perfect body.
They don’t know.
They don’t know that the sadness can creep up as powerfully and suddenly as an ocean wave, threatening to pull me under unexpectedly.
They don’t know I pleaded for his understanding as I set up his room with a bed – not a crib – for a bigger kid coming home in the next few years from a far away place.
They don’t know I whispered to his spirit – the remnants of his aura that circle around that space – that I miss him with a fierceness only a mother can understand.
They don’t know.
They don’t know that this pain does not go away. They don’t know that I am not trying to hang on to it, but the devastation will never leave entirely. It’s a sad gulp in the back of my throat, waiting to be formed.
They don’t know that I have to find another place, other than what is now another child’s bedroom, to house his few somethings from the hospital, along with the infant outfit and blanket I received as early gifts that I am not sure what to do with since it’s very likely I will never have said infant.
They don’t know what beakons of light they’ve been in my darkest hours. They don’t know that their gentleness has buoyed up my soul in a way I am not capable of doing without having their love and connection. They don’t know that sometimes their comfort sans intrusion is exactly what I have needed.
They don’t know, and that’s how loss works. We break through to the lighter side of things alone and hurting. This solo journey makes us much tougher and much more confident, though. We carry new, invisible “soul muscles” that help us lift others along their way in grief. And some of our friends may not be able to walk beside us with every step, but they are there to help us refuel along the path, encourage our steps, and just sit beside us without knowing all the details, and not needing to know because they love us anyway.
Beautiful and heartbreaking post. I’m glad that I now know all of these details about your son — thank you for sharing them with us. Sending so much love to you.
Thank you for reading and for your constant support. Sometimes there is just a little more to say about him and this is my private place to let the world know how wonderful his place in my heart is. Xoxo
Oh my. The pain, the beauty in this post made me cry. The line about developing soul muscles made me smile through my tears. It takes a special kind of person to take any part of such crushing pain and make it about strength and compassion for others. Inspiring and oh so humbling for me. Big warm healing hug to you.
Aww, I definitely feel your warm, healing hug. Your friendship is so vibrant! Thank you for feeling this with me and developing your soul muscles right beside me. Xoxo
Your words today were both painful and inspiring. Your son sounds beautiful, and I’m glad you have these memories.
As you say, we have built “soul muscles” as we survive, more often then not alone and without understanding. But those friends, the ones who give us space and at the same time love and compassion without truly understanding, they are the ones who show me the light and remind me that there is so much good in the world. I am glad you have friends like that in your life. Lots of love to you.
Thank you for seeing the beauty in my memory of my son. It is wonderful to share his light in such a safe, private way. I know your soul muscles are very powerful; I am lucky to have you to share this crazy reality with today and in our tomorrows!
Thinking of you today as I catch up on your journey. You inspire me to be more understanding, more passionate, stronger and to try harder to leave the pettiness behind. Love to you today, from afar.