Owen’s Face

I lay in bed … Listening to the thunder. I smile as I think of what the Schaefer kids would tell me … It’s the angels laughing.

I can’t picture what his face looks like. I close my eyes and I only see a blank face. A face without eyes, nose or a mouth. I don’t look at pictures of him. Although I think of him every other minute. Seeing his picture reminds me of how really gone he is. If I keep him in my heart, then in some ways he feels as though he is still alive. That part of my son isn’t gone … The part that I carry with me. It’s the same part that had me worried when I didn’t know exactly where his ashes were or the part of me that found comfort when the officials would update me as to where his body was and where it would go next. It’s the part of a mother that never stops worrying.

I carry each of my kids in my heart. I pray for each of them. I meditate on their names. I hold them up. I cherish their little souls and I ask for the strength and wisdom to be the Lord’s arms in hugging them. I do this for all four of my boys.

When I look at his picture … His face is forever frozen in time. Forever having a gummy smile. His baby face. Those large, round, dark eyes. I want to see his face. I want to look at him all the time. But it’s just more proof of the loss … A different kind of pain than just remembering he died.

It’s looking at a face that has life and then remembering his lifeless eyes while doing CPR. It’s seeing him giggle and coo in home videos and then remembering his doll like stillness at his funeral. It’s disgusting knowing that life once filled those eyes. Knowing that looking at a picture of my own flesh and blood can hurt so badly.

I welcome the pain as much as I fear it. The more I welcome it the quicker I will become accustomed to it. The less interrupting the pain will be. If I open myself to it … The pain will be absorbed and become part of my flesh. A pain that will make me stronger. A pain that will eventually hold me together. It becomes the bricks in my foundation. Apart of the path that is life.

So tomorrow I’m going to look at his picture. Stare at his face until the pain is numb. Then I’ll do it all over again. Convince myself that I will see his face again some day … Remind myself that he is still with me … And forgive myself for not remembering what he looks like some days.

Love, Mel


  1. I’ve been reading your blog faithfully for almost a year now. I recieved a prayer request on Facebook while Owen was in the hospital. Reading your blog has almost become a daily devotion for me. It’s my quiet time in the morning after my 2 older children get on the bus but before I wake up our babies. I just have to thank you….thank you for sharing your deepest emotions with us, thank you for sharing Owen, thank you for making me a better mom, wife, and nurse. I am inspired by every new post you make.

  2. You are such a wonderful person. I think you should write that book. I know that if you do, I’ll buy it.

  3. Struggling with this same thing myself. It hurts so bad to look at pictures, but I’m terrified of forgetting his beautiful face.

    Praying for you guys always!

  4. Love you Mel. My heart is breaking as I read this post. I wish I could give you a hug.

  5. Dear Mel,
    I always think of you and all your little guys, I pray your dark times get easier. Its almost been a year of all the first aniversaries of your little warior. God will help you through and help you remember the good in that little face and not the pain and hurt! Love and prayers. Sher

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