Posting this week will be sparse, even though I have half-drawn thoughts on Father’s Day, E. Coli and other odds and ends wasting time in my WordPress Drafts folder. Our boys’ memorial is this weekend, see, and all available moments are being directed that way.
I mentioned last time that Carey and I have been lucky enough to receive a lot of notes from a lot of beautiful people and today I decided to share one of them. Noelle runs her own blog over at These Mountains Are Mine and, rather than picking through what she said and presenting it in bits for the sake of modesty, I’ll just give you her whole letter.
It’s difficult to explain what it’s like to lose your children and Noelle doesn’t claim to know, but I think she has an idea:
I appreciate the mention on your blog and I hadn’t originally planned to write to you, but after reading your most recent post I figured maybe you’d want me to. I originally wrote a much longer post specifically inspired by your blog. But, after rereading it, I decided not to post it.
I thought maybe my honesty about my lack of understanding would offend or be misunderstood. So instead I decided to steer people towards your blog and experience the story for themselves.
But I’ve decided to share some of the original post with you:
There’s something about the loss of a child that changes you, isn’t there? I haven’t experienced this personally, but I have family and friends who have, even recently. Tips for Triplets dad, Jeremy, got to me today. I read the story of his three sons. It was heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. I blame his writing skills for my emotional breakdown. I’ve heard these stories before, but the way he wrote it conveyed all the emotions they were feeling and suddenly I understood.
Losing a child of any age is heartbreaking. It’s just out of order and isn’t suppose to happen. But I’ve never truly understood before, the concept of equal heartbreak for a child who was never born. I know friends who’ve lost babies. I know that they still think about them, love them, grieve for them on their birthdays each passing year, and believe they’ll be in heaven waiting for them someday. Above all they consider that child as much one of their children as any. It’s hard for me to relate and sympathize with those feeling because I guess I’ve just never experienced it. If you miscarry and never name or meet your child can you really already love them that much already? I’m guessing the answer is yes, but the story of the sons that Jeremy lost takes it even deeper for me. They were each born into the world, held in their parents arms, talked to, loved, and then they died. That has to be one of the most heart wrenching situations. He introduces and describes each boy, their unique names and characteristics–I have no doubt they’ll never forget their sons. I’m not sure that I will ever forget their sons.
I remembered something about myself as a child today. My mother had two miscarriages and a stillbirth. I think the still birth was the most painful because they’d already found out the gender and named her…Naomi. She was born, buried and mourned. I remember that growing up I always told people that I had a sister in heaven named Naomi…I really considered her my sister. I don’t even know what it’s like to have a big sister (and honestly, if she’d been born, I probably wouldn’t be here anyway), but I considered her to be very real and she was just a story my mom told me, before my existence. I also remember telling people that really there were six kids in our family, but three were in heaven. I had it in my head that the other two were boys.
Maybe it has something to do with being wanted. When you lose a child that you wanted in your life and should have been…you just lose a child. Once you give your child a name, and a face, how can you get them out of your heart?
I guess the answer is…you can’t.
I know I can’t really understand, but I was absolutely struck by your sons story. I appreciate your honesty about your feelings. I also appreciate your cinematic references. 😉 But most of all I admire your courage. You know, the messy-sometimes angry-courage that it takes to keep blogging and remembering your sons. They have found there way into many of my conversations, and they absolutely will not be forgotten.
Since I have no idea how to end a letter to a stranger, I suppose I will just share with you one of my favorite poems…
At the end of my suffering
there was a door.
Hear me out: that which you call death
Overheard, noises, branches of the pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun
flickered over the dry surface.
It is terrible to survive
buried in the dark earth.
Then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.
You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice:
from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure seawater.
Thank you, Noelle.