Friday, August 16, 2013

A Decade of Discovery

Ten years ago today, my life long dream came true when my baby boy was born. He was 5 weeks early and had the most amazing eyes. I was in love. No better feeling in the world. I was finally a Mom. Such a crazy notion to wrap my head around. It didn't matter, I was all in.

When we first learned that something was "wrong" with our beautiful, blue eyed boy our little family utopia began to unravel. This was not what I thought parenting was while I was playing Barbie as a child! How could this be? I would just hold Eric and sing to him. He couldn't hear but he'd face me and stare at my mouth with those piercing blue eyes. Then he would slowly put his head on my chest to feel the vibrations of my voice. When I stopped, he would pick his head up and look at me like -umm where's the song? Naturally, I'd continue.

Just after three months old we learned that Eric was not "just" deaf. Things happened so fast from there and on December 16, 2003 Eric died, in our arms.

I remember leaving the hospital, shell shocked, exhausted and lost. Allan sat beside me and I have no idea what he was thinking- I couldn't even comprehend my own thoughts let alone reflect on his grief.

The next morning I wondered- "Am I a Mom?" and "What do I do now?"

Being Eric's mom was the most amazing feeling. He was who I was waiting for to enter my life. It's so hard to remember that feeling without him here. But he is the only one who gets to hold the title of "making" me a Mom.

This birthday is just so tough. They all are in some ways- watching the days slip away and the distance between then in now is just so vast. But 10. That's a big one. I remember when I couldn't WAIT to be two full hands old! I see Eric's contemporaries playing sports and celebrating the big 1-0. I can't believe that he is not here and that in 4 too short months this grief, while it waxes and wanes, can be so heavy still.

Mothering a child who has died is tricky business. He's no longer with us, but our love for him is just as poignant as if I were scrambling to make a special breakfast, and buy  birthday balloons today.

I've been a mom for 10 years. A decade, one 1/4 of my life. This milestone is squelched by the need to speak about it in hushed tones for fear that someone will become uncomfortable with the unfortunate stories of my life. Even though he is not here and I am not after him for picking up his shoes, toys and not putting his dirty clothes in the laundry I am still Eric's Mom. I am proud of that fact, because frankly, he was one heck of an awesome kid. He had an old soul and an easy going nature. He was bubbling over with personality so much that it makes me wonder what a handful he would have been if he could actually produce energy.

I wish like you would not believe that I was too busy with birthday prep and lots of crazy kids running around this morning. But that was not the plan for my sweet boy's big ten-oh day.  I know that God is keeping us together as we walk though these milestones empty handed. At the same time I know that I would want no other plan for Eric's life (he wouldn't have been him if the plan were different).

These ten years have been tough. I suppose that would be quite the understatement, actually. I remember seeing a patient soon after Eric died. She was telling me about her children. As she was telling me about them, she paused and went for it. She has a son who was a "blue baby in those days" and just like that she was right there with him, her eyes brimming with love and sadness 53 years later. It gave me permission to feel "that sad" missing my boy.

I am not talking about the "stay in bed, don't move past it" grief. I am talking about "that sad because I love" grief. The "God will carry us but it still hurts grief". The "sometimes I don't want to be brave" grief. Grief will always be a part of my  life. When Eric died I never ever wanted that event to define me. But over the past decade it has. The experiences in your life morph into how you view the world, how you shape your actions.

What a sticky situation. You are hurt, because living just hurts sometimes. You expect that God will provide all the answers and you will ride off into the sunset. You think "those things just don happen to ME". I know you do. I did too. Sometimes I revert back to the idea that it shouldn't have happened to me. So now in the crisis- what is left? A life changing event, grief and a God who knows best.


God knows best? He has MY best interest at heart? (Helloooooo? Where the heck are my babies???) YUP. It's true. I have these awful gut wrenching events that occurred in the last 10 years. I can EASILY decide that I am going to take the reigns of my ship and glibly move forward feeling wronged and entitled, letting those feelings as a result of our tragedy reign supreme and define me.

That's not what God wanted for us or for Eric and Ava. They were not mistakes. They were gifts. Yes, it's absolutely stinky and crappy that they are gone. Some may even think that it's unfair. (Although I try not to focus on that, it does crop up during some world class pity parties I admit.) But I stand before you today, 10 years later, saying that it was God's plan. Our family would not be who we are today if we didn't step out onto the plank of grief and jump- trusting that God would catch us and move us to safety.

That is Eric's story. He made me a Mom. I learned to love in a whole new way. I learned to hurt at a whole new depth. I am learning that God, even when you don't love the choices He's made, molds me and is the one who defines me. Not through my sorrow and despair (and oh yes those feeling still are present) but through Joy and Hope.

Join me through tear filled eyes as I wish my sweet sweet boy a "Happy Birthday." Oh my goodness, how I miss him.


  1. You never fail to amaze me with the strength of your heart and faith. Eric and Ava were gifts, to us all, because of them I have discovered an amazing person I might otherwise have never gotten to know.

    We will share the link of birthdays and friendship.

    May the Lord bless and keep you-
    May He shine light upon you-
    And may He give you peace.


  2. First I wanted to congratulate you for baby. Many problems come in our life for some reason but we need to face them with faith in GOD. Thanks for sharing..