A friend of mine at church gave me a card on Sunday at church:
"I know you trust in God,
so I won't preach
about knowing He's there for us
all the more when we need Him most.
And I know you have the wisdom
to see through cliches and pat answers,
so I won't offer any easy advice.
Instead, what I do want to offer
is a gentle reminder
of just how much strength
you have inside...
I've seen it
and so has everyone
who knows you.
I hope you can feel God's presence and power
in a personal way right now...
and I hope you can feel
the caring, understanding, and support
that's going out to you
from my heart.
She included a lovely hand-written note addressed from her little boy to Babygirl along with a pin with his lovely picture on it, and a check.
Like so many of the gifts we've been given, it made me cry. My friend belongs to the Fellowship of Moms - you know the one, the Fellowship of Those Who Suffer. She lost her baby to SIDS this January. He is almost exactly as old as my granddaughter, Boo.
When our children arrive in our lives we have so much joy, so much hope, so many dreams. I think we all envision the Motherhood Path - the one that has happy well-fed Gerber babies, joyful toddlers, kindergarten, prom, and college graduation between its flower-strewn borders. None of us imagine that there will be any other way until we start walking.
Blessedly, for most of our kids there are few detours, and those, not unbearable. But for some...we join the Fellowship.
People frequently ask me how I manage all of this and keep going. I won't lie. I don't want to keep going. But Babygirl needs me to keep on truckin', so I do, just like all the other moms who are on this particular detour. Babygirl's illness does not stop me from being her mother. And I bear it because it is mine to bear. How can I turn down the joy of being her mom? It's inseparable from the sorrow, and worth infinitely more.
The death of a baby does not stop you from being his mom. My friend is the most awesome mom I know. She knows her little boy is learning to toddle with the angels, and she carries on without him here, abundantly loving his older sister and refusing to let the world forget that her baby still matters. She refuses to let go of the joy being his mom gives her, even if it can't be separated from the pain of losing him.
I used to wonder why people endowed scholarships in memory of a lost child. Doesn't giving out that scholarship each year just yank the scab off of an unhealable wound? And why would anyone want to keep going back to the hospital where their child has had so much suffering and stand up for fundraisers? Walk in walks? Memorialize your baby's name in a new church nursery?
I understand it better now. Finding a way, ANY way, to put your pain and suffering outside of yourself matters. Finding a way to honor the suffering of your child, ANY way, decreases the cost of that suffering. And making sure that people understand that losing a child doesn't mean you aren't still that child's mom, MATTERS.
So in support of my friend, anyone who wants to support Mason's Room in his honor, feel free to contact me. I'd be honored to tell you how.