I love my life.
I do. I love it so much. Pretty much the main reason I enjoy social media is because I love my life so much it makes me happy to share it.
But just in case people get the wrong idea about these skies remaining unclouded, I’ma be real with you real quick:
Mother’s Day. It was hard. Harder than I expected. See, our “ordinary” days are so great that “special” days get me pretty psyched up. I mean, when every day is so great how much greater could a day be when you were putting in extra effort?
But yesterday…I was missing my baby. My little second baby.
This isn’t a fun post. It’s not cute or quirky or charming or easy to read or easy to write. But after mulling it over for the past few days and discussing it with my sweet husband, we decided together that it was worth writing, worth sharing, because maybe someone else has felt this way too. I have so many beautiful friends who have lost precious babies. What I’ve been feeling isn’t something I have heard anyone describe before, and it made me wonder if anybody else had gone through something similar.
So, if you’re reading this and that’s you: sometimes the hardest part of sadness or fear is thinking you’re maybe the only one who has ever felt like that. We decided in case someone else has felt like this, we just wanted you to know you aren’t alone. Our experiences won’t be identical, but they may be similar. And that may be enough to comfort you.
When we lost our Evangeline Grace in January, it was sad. But we had so much peace. A lot of peace. We were confident that God had a beautiful plan for the few weeks we knew we had her with us, and we were humbled at the knowledge of a little saint interceding just especially for our family. Our loved ones closed ranks around us: we were surrounded by prayers, soothed by shared heartache, and consoled with selfless acts of service. The Church gave us a burial and hope. I’m not a crier but I cried some then…though not as much as I thought I would.
I remember saying to somebody that I was okay for now, but I thought it would be harder later.
It did get harder later.
On random days for no apparent reason, it is harder. And yesterday, for many reasons, it was the hardest day yet.
I am certain of one thing: I think no two people have the exact same experience of losing a child. That’s okay. There’s a reason God made us that way, I’m sure. So, I don’t feel any more qualified to try to comfort somebody who’s lost a child than I felt before Evangeline. Do they want a hug? Do they not want to be touched? Do they want to cry? Are they cried out? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t know. How can anybody know what the hardest thing for anybody else is?
The hardest thing about losing Evangeline turned out to be something that surprised me. Something I wasn’t expecting.
The hardest thing about losing Evangeline was being afraid I wasn’t going to think about her.
Not forgetting her. I knew I wasn’t going to forget her. I was afraid I wasn’t going to think about her.
I’m not sure I can explain this to anybody who isn’t a mama, but I think all the mamas will understand.
How often do you think about your children?
Every mother I know would probably do what the movie subtitles describe as a “derisive sound” and then say, “What planet are you from? When do I NOT think about my children would be easier to answer. Because I think about them All. The. Time.”
Sometimes…many times…since January, I’d be falling asleep at night and then jerk awake, guilt-stricken. “I didn’t think about her today!” I would gasp, then recall several times I had, in fact, thought about her. Isaiah 49:15 took on a whole new meaning for me…how impossible for a mother to forget.
If it is impossible for me to forget a child I never even held in my arms, how much more impossible would it be for God to forget any of us? Even for a moment!
I never thought the hardest part of losing a baby would be the fear that I might not think about it.
I like thinking about her. I like following the counsel of the wise priest who told me right after the loss: “She’s your daughter, and she’s with God in Heaven. That means she knows you and also that she can speak directly with God on your behalf. Just tell her things. Tell her when you are having difficulties or frustrations or a sadness and she will act for you.”
I figure: Jesus says to let the little ones come to Him. He also says to honor your father and mother. Those two statements combined imply to me that I have an obedient saint…this is pretty legit. I like thinking about it.
It’s not thinking about my little one that hurts. It was worrying I might not.
So Mother’s Day, it was hard. But it was also beautiful. My sweet husband gave me a ring with our Evangeline’s initial…you better believe it’s practically welded to my finger. A little corner of my heart sighed and rested for the first time since January. A similar sort of feeling to having a Rosary in your hand instead of trying to keep track in your head, or seeing the colors on the altar change with the liturgical seasons…God knows we need material things to help us grasp spiritual realities.
There’s my little saint at work already…teaching me more heart-knowledge about the beauty of sacramentals by her own little life than I had in my whole life as a Catholic.
If you need some help with anything like that, you can ask our Evangeline.