Monday, May 23, 2011

It Must Be Said...

It must be said.

Before I say it, I apologize in advance (Gina, borrowed that from you!) because I know I am bound to offend someone.

Someone who really meant well.

Someone who honestly is happy for us.

Someone who had no intention but just to express their gratitude for the joy in our lives.

Someone we may know and love and are grateful to have in our lives.

And I’m sorry if you or anyone you know is that someone.

If I don’t say it, though, I’ll burst. I’ve had it on my heart since Wednesday. Probably longer, but our television stints (seriously, Luke is just as precious and adorable on TV as he is in real life, isn’t he?!) have brought up the exact circumstances about which I must speak. Or write, rather. And I've always tried to be honest...especially now for Luke. I always want him to know his mother's heart.

We do not have a 'happy ending'.

Tons of people (and truly, we are honored, humbled and amazed!) saw our TV coverage and shared the links on their blogs/Facebook pages. Each time, because I was ‘tagged’ or ‘mentioned’, I was able to see the posts and the comments of friends of friends of friends.

And we saw SO MANY things like, “Sad story, but glad it ended well,” or “Heartbreaking, but at least they finally have their baby.”

Ahem. We had two babies.

We only get to raise one. Well, we pray each night that we continue to get to raise one. We know there are no guarantees.

As grateful as we are for Luke…for as much joy and happiness and sheer bliss he brings into our lives…our Matthew is still dead. I still mother a grave. My first-born is not with me and I miss him so much

I don’t think that’s a happy ending. I think there really *isn’t* an *ending* to our ‘story’ (save when I take my last breath, maybe).

So, do we have a lot of happy in our lives? Absolutely!!

A happy ending? Not so sure. To me, that implies that we had a struggle; Matthew was born and died and that was a ‘bump’ in the road, but now we have Luke, so we finally had success!

I know that’s not what people mean, and I feel bad even saying anything about it because I do KNOW that the intentions are not to hurt our feelings.

The thing is that it sort of does. It takes me right to the heart of where my emotions have been lately--in that it sometimes seems that Matthew is forgotten because Luke is here. All the hopes and dreams for Matthew just got transferred right on over to the son who is living and can fulfill them. When people ask me (and of course, again, I KNOW it is well-intentioned and NOT ever meant to hurt us!), "Wasn't it all worth it?" (With all, I assume, being the infertility, the treatments, the attempts to adopt, trying another cycle after Matthew, etc.)...I can't answer, "Yep, sure was, because Luke is AMAZING!"

Yes, Luke IS amazing. I love him more than I can even put to words. I did not have ANY idea that I would be so utterly in love with him. I can't imagine my life without him.

But is he 'worth' Matthew dying?

How could any mother be expected to answer that? One child dying to pave the path for another? No, I don't think it's worth it. And I think I'd be a horrible mother if I was ok with Matthew not being here if that's how Luke had to come to be.

Though Matthew died, he WAS SUCCESS! He was our first miracle! He was precious! He was perfect! He was sweet, sweet, sweet and I loved every thing about him.

He made me a mother.

His death doesn’t allow us to have that ‘happy ending’ to a loooooooooong road of infertility, but neither does Luke’s birth—because I’ll never observe a Mother’s Day with Luke without remembering that I, as Linda so eloquently said in her interview, carry one child in my arms and one in my heart.

Our story hasn’t ended…it’s sad and joyous and heartbreaking and redemptive, but it isn’t over.

We live it and are grateful for it every day.

Here are the links to the segments.


  1. Amen. Words well spoken, and if what you've said offends anyone, oh well. I noticed at the end of the clip you posted this morning that she closed with the words "beautiful ending"...which almost falls along the lines of happy ending. Absolutely, beyond any doubt at all, Luke is one of the most handsome little men I have ever seen...but the phrases 'happy ending' and 'beautiful ending' imply that all is (and will forever be) well...which we all know is not entirely true. There will always be a little piece missing, and until we are reunited with those pieces, there is no ending... Much love and many hugs....and lots of cheek pinching for the Lukester!!

  2. I learn a lot from what you write.

    I think that people want life to have structured narratives, with beginnings, middles and ends, because it is so hard to understand life otherwise.

    When we were doing our first homestudy, I was telling the social worker about how both our first spouses had died. She said something like, "well at least you ended up happy." I'm not saying losing a spouse is the same as losing your child, but the response was similar to what you are describing. I would have thought a social worker would have something more meaningful to say!

  3. Wonderful post and you guys did a great job sharing your story on TV! I think that all of us who have lost children can relate to what you're saying about the "happy ending". I've often said that my fight with infertility after two losses was all about getting that happy ending. To me, a "happy ending" does NOT erase or fix the losses in any way - it just helps to put joy and sorrow more in balance. I know that others around me DO see a "happy ending" for me as a fix. Already I feel like people are frustrated with me for not being all better (and the "happy ending" hasn't even happened yet!), but I'll always miss my boys and be sad that I'm infertile and that I'll never have the family I hoped for. Like you, I'm very thankful for what I have, but it doesn't mean I don't miss the ones I've lost.

  4. *sigh* I know. Another that always makes me pause, "Is this your first?" *sigh* Lots of love to you and ALL your boys.

  5. lori -- beautiful doesn't even come close to describing you -- you are truly just beyond words incredible... thank you for being the honest and faithful voice this world needs more of... :)

  6. When I read the interview, I was struck by how neat and tidy it seemed, but I knew it wasn't even scratching the surface. The video is a much better depiction because we can see and hear the emotion. I know it's still just a glimpse, though.

    Thank you for sharing your story thus far. I'm looking forward to watching the rest unfold!

  7. can't really add much more.. you've summed up so well how it feels to love Kathlyn, not here, and Glory, here.

  8. after watching the segments, i am just crying and crying. i always thought matthew was SUCH a gorgeous boy, and luke looks just like him. and it's so touching to see and hear another mother, not just read her words. you are beautiful and have a beautiful family. it's all so heartwrenching, bittersweet, and joyful at once.

  9. I think every rainbow mama has wanted to write this very same post! So many people said the very same things to me and although they meant nothing by it, the words still stung. It was if my precious Lily never made a mark to people...

    Luke is awesome and precious and so is Matthew! Huge ((hugs)), friend!

  10. Very well put. I was just told the other day from a family member that they feel that Nolan will always live in the shadows of Wyatt. It hurt when they put it that way. I, like you, want to scream at the world and tell them that just because Nolan is another miracle who came to bless us, doesn't mean that we forget Wyatt. Wyatt lived, just like their children live. And I agree, happy endings have been gone forever.
    I have a little sign in our bedroom that says "And they lived happily ever after". Everyday I look at this sign and I think about how wrong it really is. We are happy for Nolan but we are sad for Wyatt. We will always hold sadness in our hearts and we will never again live happily ever after.

  11. Yes.



  12. I think maybe a better way for people to look at this rather than a "happy ending" is in chapters. In my book of life there will always be a chapter in which I lost my son. No matter how many other chapters I have in my life with "happy endings" (and I hope there are MANY!), it doesn't take aways from the fact that in my story I lost my son, whom I love with all of my heart, and it changed that story (in good and bad ways) forever.

  13. Oh Lorie, I just love your heart. Thank you for speaking your mind. Grief is so hard to comprehend for those who have not been there and those who have not yet experienced such a deep loss want to see that we will all "be ok" and that sad stories do have happy endings. It makes the non-bereaved more comfortable to focus on our happy than our sad. This makes me cherish the friendships I have with those who "get it" so much more. We understand that every ounce of joy we contain still has hints of grief intermingled in it.

  14. I am so glad you responded to this! When I saw or heard some of those comments I just cringed. I thought the same thing you wrote here. So elequently said my friend!

  15. Very well said and I agree with you 100%. We KNOW people don't mean the way these things come out and they mean only good, but sometimes, there just isn't a reasonable response! Not worth it, blessed by the gift you now have and maybe more appreciative, but not "worth it". My MIL has said some ridiculous things lately that my hubby says, "She didn't mean it that way", I know, I know, but come on!!! You wrote this beautifully!!! You're amazing!

  16. You are completely entitled to your feelings. For me, when dealing with my losses, I think I often worry too much about other people. Because for me, I tend to focus in much more on the INTENT of a comment, less the literal interpretation. I know people just plain old don't know what to say. So they dig around in their brain for the most positive thing they can think of. And as a PP put it, we naturally want to arrange life into a narrative with a clear beginning, middle, and end. People are looking at your IF journey and see Luke as the light at the end of the tunnel. Hence "happy ending" - without regard to the dark tunnel you traveled through to get to him.

    So I agree, Luke isn't the "happy ending" to your story. He is a huge blessing that that deserves to be celebrated. Many women with losses, whether they be neonatal or first trimester miscarriages often wrestle with "if I had given birth to my angel baby I wouldn't have my rainbow baby". I even wrestle with the idea that if I didn't need IVF I wouldn't have gotten Kate. So should I be "thankful" for my infertility? "Thankful" for my first loss because it led me to where I am today?

    For now, I just choose to live in the moment as much as possible. I know that isn't for everyone, and for some processing these deep feelings is the way they survive and move forward. I have gotten in the habit of letting emotions envelope me... Like, if I see Kate do something amazing I let myself say "wow, this is amazing". Full stop. Not, "wow this is amazing... her twin would be doing the exact same thing right now... wow...". It is how I stay happy. And how I feel like I am doing right by Kate. Because if I didn't try to focus on her, I might not be a very happy mommy.

    My point (haha) is that it is OKAY to not allow yourself to think of Luke as a baby who wouldn't have existed without Matthew dying. Life is so complex, so much of our life wouldn't happen without a series of crazy events preceeding it. If we tried to reason all of it our brains would explode. Matthew and Luke are just a very vivid vivid cause-effect relationship in your life.

    Enjoy your sweet Luke. Carry sweet Matthew close to your heart. I believe you will have a very happy life - even if it isn't a "happy ending". xoxo

  17. Perfectly written..You seem to know just the right words to say!!! Many blessings to you and to your beautiful family!!

  18. could NOT have put it better myself :)

  19. Thank you for this post. It was neat to see you "in real life" and Luke is so precious! I appreciate you sharing your thoughts - so very well articulated.

  20. Thank you for your honesty. And it isn't a hurt to others. You couldn't be more right and real and have written every word that is always on my heart every day.
    I've had LOTS of comments from those who tell me "but at least you have Evan..."
    OK...and now Evan no longer has his twin brother, and I no longer have my first born son...but sure "at least". I hate that term "at least" because Evan is no "at least".
    People just do NOT get it. And because they have never experienced the death of their own child...they will never get it. How the importance of cautious wording is required.
    No..."happy ending"...that just isn't right. Yes, joy has come through tragedy...but the ache in a mothers heart who has lost a child and will never hold him in her arms again...that doesn't qualify a happy ending.
    Thank you for sharing your heart! It is like reading my own words.
    We will always ache for our sons in heaven, no matter the undeniable joy our living sons allow us...and that is beyond comprehension to those who never experience such a loss.

    Love you girl!!!!!

    Heather (heathershope - HP / GOL)

  21. I just had someone ask me LAST night about that same thing. How many children do you have? 5, but one is not with us and died. Oh, but now you have a 4 month old? yes. Well, that is great and you must be happy now. UM ~ WHAT@?#*$&@

    I think that people want to put a 'spin' on something tragic and horrible in order to make them feel better. We still are living with it, but if they walk away thinking that we are fine ~ it is easier for them.

  22. SO amazing seeing you on TV and hearing your lovely voice ... I cried through both videos and felt my heart jump into my throat everytime that little phrase came up (happy ending) because it makes sense to me ... a happy ending would not be Matthew being gone ... and a happy ending would not be Luke not having his big brother ... but the fact that they were both born to you and loved by you, is happy. I'm so happy that Matthew has you to persue any cause in his name. I say his name out loud everyday ... and I thank God you have the courage and grace to share your stories and thoughts and your lovely, lovely heart with us. YOU are irreplaceable and I can't imagine my life without all of you. xoxo

  23. I.feel.the.exact.same.way.

    xoxox Hugs to you Lori. xoxo

  24. You know you will have your happy ending someday.

    For now you will have your happy in between.

    Love you always. So proud of you for sharing your heart always. You mean so much to me.

  25. I agree and am excited about your tv coverage. I'm sorry I haven't commented as much, but I've been around. *hugs*

  26. Oh.My.Goodness!!! As always, you're amazing! Can I just say that I am in my local Burger King, sipping on a hot cup of joe, and I had to sit here in front of EVERYONE and try to watch that segment on you and your family, without "looking" like I am an emotional fruit case! lol

    That was so beautiful Lori. Just plain beautiful...