Before and After

I AM __.

I wish __. I wish with my whole heart that no one ever had to experience the loss of a child, that there was some sort of guarantee that parents get to die before their kids do. When I hear of another child who has died, my heart hurts most in knowing what the parents are in for…how hard, how long, how much struggle will come for them in the years ahead.

I remember __. I remember wanting and waiting to feel better. All the hurts I’d experienced before just seemed to fade with time. I wanted this hurt to do the same thing. It didn’t. This was a different kind of pain. Once I started looking at it as something like an amputation—a wound that forever changes the way you live—then I was able to start looking for ways to live well again.

I could not believe __. I could not believe that I, as a 26 year old kid, was having to choose a place in the ground to bury my baby. Walking through the cemetery, choosing a spot, was one of the most surreal moments and it was there that I was really hit with disbelief that this is what I was doing. It wasn’t fair. It didn’t make sense. Young couples who are just starting their families don’t choose cemetery plots for themselves and their children.

If only __. If only my loss were enough. If only my suffering could protect myself and everyone I know from having to experience those big trials that life brings. I want to think that I’ve paid my “dues” for myself and my loved ones, and that we are now immune to the tragedies life can bring. If only it worked that way…

I am __. I am braver than I believed, stronger than I knew, and smarter than I thought. I am more humble than I used to be and more graced than I deserve. I often hear people say, I don’t know how you do it, or I could never survive the loss of a child…I didn’t think I could either. Believe it or not, you too, are braver than you believe, stronger than you know, and smarter than you think. 

Day 25 I am.jpg