Many of you have said that I have the right to have my freak outs. I have the right to get angry. I shouldn’t worry about the freak out I had after the funeral … she was out of line.
I have trouble with that. I feel bad and that I was out of line. I wish I would have handled it better.
You might say that I’m being too hard on myself. So be it. But I’ve been taught to love my neighbor as myself. Period. Not love my neighbor unless I’m grieving the loss of my child. Or be kind and patient unless you’re having a bad day.
Does God understand why I lost it? Does he know where my heart is at the time my voice raises or I get angry? Yes. But that doesn’t mean I have a ‘get out of jail free’ card to treat others how I want to.
I love people. I love other’s opinions and learning something new. Seeing something from a different point of view. That’s why I have grown to ask my dad for advise. He sees the world through totally different glasses. He always challenges me to look at a situation from a different point of view.
This chapter in my life story doesn’t change my love for others. And it certainly doesn’t earn me the right to act anyway I please. Don’t treat me differently. Don’t go easy on me … treat me normal. Hold me to normal standards. I don’t want special treatment. I’m no different from you.
I went to a farmer’s market with my mom this morning. I was on a hunt for local vegetables to make the boys baby food. (ps there was only spinach and radishes … way too early for what I was hoping for.) A vendor was selling wooden plaques with sayings on them. I found a wooden picture frame with something along the lines of: When you lose someone you love, memories turn into treasures. It made my heart ache just a little bit. My mom wanted to buy it for me (love her!).
When the vendor shared how much she loved the saying after her mother passed away, I gave my mom a glance and tried my story again on a stranger. I put my hand to my heart and said, “I lost my 6 month old son just a few weeks ago.” She gave me the look of horror and utter sadness. With ease I responded, “Please don’t treat me any different. I only shared my story with you so you would know just how much this frame means to me.” It worked! She continued the conversation normally … it wasn’t weird. I didn’t regret saying something and I didn’t feel like I had thrown a rock through her glasshouse life.
I feel blessed to have found peace with my story so early. I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt. I find the wind knocked out of me several times a day … like when we got new health insurance cards today in the mail, without Owen listed on it. But I have highs during my day too. I laugh. I praise and thank God for my life, my home, my husband and my three surviving boys. I cherish my story, as hard as it is to live and for some to read about. It’s precious to me. It gives me depth and defines who I am as a woman, mother, christian.
I feel so blessed to have so much support. I think of those families who go through this alone. It’s been eye-opening just how many babies and children die in this world. I’ve heard so many stories that are similar to mine … for once I wish I was alone in this. There are so many children who leave this earth too soon. But many stories go with only close family and friends mourning.
I have had the attention, love and prayers from around the world. Trust me when I say I don’t take that lightly or for granted. I feel honored and blessed to have been heard. I feel proud of my son for making such a huge difference. I find hope in the two little girls still recovering from their live saving surgeries.
I pray that I live up to the standards of strength that have been laid before me. I pray that I am able to make as much good out of this horror as I can.
For now I take strength in orange. I’ve worn orange every day since the funeral. I painted my nails an obnoxious color of orange today. I think I bought almost every orange shirt Target had for sale today. I swear the cashier must have thought I was a nut case. Here I’m standing in my bright orange John’s Root Beer t-shirt, with 6 more orange shirts on the conveyor belt. Can you say wacko?
I wear the color like my scarlet letter. My purple heart from being wounded in the war of infant vs mortality. I wear it with pride for what my 6 month old has accomplished and the joy and hope he has spread. But I also wear it for me. Orange has turned into my security blanket … my constant prayer to God for the strength and guidance. My direct hotline to the big man upstairs. Orange. I never would have imagined a color would have been able to give me so much comfort.
All my love, Mel