Thursday, September 8, 2011

Light-Bulb Moments...

Sometimes, they just hit.

Sometimes, someone hits you with them.

Today, I was hit with a few.

I have to stop using the "My child died, so don't expect _______" card. In fairness, I don't think I use it that often, but even when I do, I am totally cognizant of the fact that I do, and that in and of itself makes me unhappy. I get mad when other people use Matthew's death to somehow be all about them, so why do I hold myself to a different standard just because I am his mom?

Life stinks...for a lot of people. Look at the famine in Africa right now. Watch the news and try not to cry over those poor mothers who can't feed their children. I cannot imagine Luke crying to me because he was hungry and I was helpless. I cry thinking about it. I do not want to use Matthew's death, and my residual 'hermit-yness', for lack of a better word, as excuses for not being the person God calls me to serve where He calls me to serve, and to do what He asks me to do. I often joke that we all have our crosses to bear, but I am jealous of those who carry 'tissue-paper' crosses when mine is more like cement.

Maybe it is, but that's no excuse for me to just claim "But you don't know my story..." and I do that. Again, not often, but I do. I want to stop.

Also, it may be pretty apparent (by my lack of writing, which a good friend says always worries her!) and in the conflicted things I write that I've been having a hard time of things lately. Hard time with being unsettled. Hard time with John being so busy. Hard time with missing my little cocoon of protection and support in Maryland. Hard time missing my boy....hard time feeling guilty about having a hard time.

Yes, just hard time.

So the other lightbulb moment thrown at me, when talking about the guilt that comes from being happy with Luke and not sad about Matthew (though I am, of course...) was this, "Luke not only wants you to be happy, he needs you to be happy. Matthew really doesn't care either way, does he?"

Nope. The reality is that it makes no difference to Matthew whether I am happy, sad, guilty, depressed, manic, content, whatever...but it makes all the difference in the world to Luke.

Don't get me wrong--Luke is a happy, happy boy and I know he knows that he is my whole world. It's very obvious to just about anyone that meets him that he is a very loved and happy baby, and very secure in his parents just being thrilled to be his parents.

But until a few minutes ago, that carried such tremendous guilt. It's just NOT NATURAL to be so darned happy and content when you have a child in a grave. Any way the coin is tossed, it's NOT. People don't understand how elation and devastation can coexist and again, it's mostly because those two feelings usually are not naturally felt together. Being so happy to be Luke's mom and to love him and mother him, I feel guilty because I AM happy...even though Matthew is dead.

That guilt is so powerful, but I'm not going to give it any more power. My guilt does NO one any good. It doesn't honor or respect Matthew...he doesn't even know or care.

But Luke does. It matters to Luke. Or could matter if I allowed it to. My counselor told me about a patient who lost a sibling at an early age, and remembers his mommy and daddy always being sad after that happened.

I have to give both John and myself credit in that I don't think we let the grief of losing Matthew color our relationship with Luke--Luke is just so darned easy to love and cuddle and be so happy for and with. He really doesn't ever see either of us with anything but pure glee on our faces with every single thing he does!

I intend for it to stay that way. I want him to know that his brother passing was the worst thing in our entire lives, but that it didn't break us. It almost did...but didn't. And that Luke is so easily capable of making our hearts full. I don't want him to ever think that he wasn't enough...or that he never had the fullness of our love because our grief stole that from him.

The grief is there...and will always be.

But I won't feel guilty about not letting it steal what is rightfully Luke's...the knowledge that he is supremely loved for who HE is. Matthew being gone will never change, but Luke's security in what he means to this family depends on us. As I said, he's so darned lovable, it's been easy to be completely in love with him--to the point that sometimes, I feel guilty that I love him so much and can't easily show the same love for Matthew.

No more guilt over that. I'd love him like I do whether or not Matthew was alive, and that's how it's supposed to be.

Speaking of...he just woke up from his (2 hour!) nap and is calling for mama. Today, at 12:08 pm, he made the sign for milk and TOTALLY meant it. That boy is growing up so much.

I love every second of it. Guilt free.


  1. Bless you Lori -as usual, well put. HUGS!!!

  2. Lori, you bless me time and time again with your words. (And by the way, I can so relate to the tissue paper vs. cement crosses.) Thank you for so generously sharing your heart. ♥

  3. I love love LOOOOOVVEEE this post. Times a million. Oh my goodness this is so well put. I feel the *exact* same way. Bubby is a ridiculously happy little boy, and everyone that sees him knows that he is mommy's world and vice versa. I hope he never ever thinks he isn't enough. (makes me want to cry thinking about it that way!). Thank you for putting this out there. Every last picture I've seen on facebook and your blog of your boy, is just another beautiful reminder of God's grace in your life. XO

  4. Another one of your posts that I can totally relate to. I think you put everything very well. I love how you said, " I often joke that we all have our crosses to bear, but I am jealous of those who carry 'tissue-paper' crosses when mine is more like cement."
    This reminds me of a 20/20 show I watched recently. At the end of the show the girl they were interviewing said, "I always said that if our lifes were shoes and we all threw them in a pile, at the end of the day, I would be happy to pick up my pair and walk away." I know that is opposite what you are saying, but it made me think of that episode.
    Yesterday I was watching the 700 Club and the man on there said, "God only gives us what he knows we can handle. It doesn't mean there is never pain." It made me realize that God thought I was strong.
    Thinking of you often!!! Megan

  5. Good for you, Lori! Getting to this place of "guilt free happiness" is not easy and takes time. I am so happy for you and proud of you that you have gotten here. I had a lot of those same guilty feelings when Kate was born. How could I be so happy and so in love when she was a constant reminder of what I had lost (both her twin and the baby before her). But I realized that SHE deserved me to be happy for her. That, while insanely sad, the babies I have lost cannot see or feel or hear my sadness. But Kate can. And she deserved as much of me as I could possibly give her.

    I still think of my lost babies all the time. But I feel like being a good mom, a happy mom, an energetic and upbeat mom is the best way to honor them. Being sad and "hermit-y" does nobody any good. Especially Luke.

    You have every right to own your emotions and you will obviously be sad sometimes. You will obviously want to remember Matthew and that might be solemn and sad for you. But it isn't what defines your mood and persona anymore. And that is healthy!

    I love you!! Wish we were still able to get coffee. Stupid military and their stupid moves! ;)

  6. ahhhh, the lightbulbs that smack us up side the head..... you always put it into such perfect words!

    we gotta hook up sometime- sooner rather than later i hope! maybe do some tailgating :)i know there are some other blm w/ rainbows nearby too.... a weekend hook-up just might be in order!

  7. It is so healthy for you to express what you did in this post! I am actually glad you shared it. I went through depression when my Father passed away when my son was 2. It took me quite some time to realize my son needed me to be 100% there for him. Even though our loss was different I can relate. You are an awesome Mother and it was important for you to get to the point where you realize how Luke may feel in the future about your loss. Keep enjoying every second of that gorgeous child of yours! I'm sure Matthew is enjoying every second in Heaven and smiling down on you all!

  8. Lori:

    What a wonderful post! I am so glad you have reached this place in your heart and mind. Indeed, Luke needs a Mommy who is very in the moment.

    Kathy W

  9. I have been waiting quietly for you to turn this corner :-) I knew you would!

  10. um did i write this? because this is what goes on in my head 24/7 EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!!!!


    "but I am jealous of those who carry 'tissue-paper' crosses when mine is more like cement."

    YES....why are ours made of cement? I feel the same...I cant even comment more cause this is EXACTLY how i feel!! xoxo love you my friend!

  11. (((HUGS)))
    Your post was very meaningful to me (as always) as I needed to know I'm not alone in my own feelings.

    Luke is very loved, and his smiles and eyes tell it all!
    And so it Matthew!

    Our surviving children deserve all our love and joy...and they certainly get it :) xoxo

  12. I love this post! I love how honest you are and I love that you are sharing that grief and joy can live together in one heart.