Lights, camera, cell phone … capture the live moments in action
With the loss of a child, memories become treasures to soothe our heartache. Making memories occurs in every moment of our life potentially. Whether we are awake, aware, or using some form of technology to capture moments that fade in to yesterday as quickly as they take place; memories are in the making. We naturally focus on capturing celebratory occasions. There are other memories that we look back upon with more more significance because we’ve lost someone we love. These can be random moments that take us by surprise.
At one time, techniques for capturing special moments were for professional photographers. That changed with the development of cameras, mobile or cell phones, I-Pads, and video equipment. Before that time, someone had to record memories in a diary. Possibly someone would sit or pose for a painting or drawing. With the various tools available today, capturing an event, while it’s taking place, is quite easy. I often think my grandchildren will be able to see their entire childhood in an actual timeline through all the pictures, videos and social media that my parents or for me, wasn’t available in our childhood.
Recently, I became a grandmother to a little baby boy named after my youngest son in heaven. I’ve spent five incredible weeks with him. I’ve been able to capture little moments with him in snapshots on my phone. This wasn’t possible when his father and uncle were mere babies. I already cherish these little moments because we live in separate countries. I feel like I get to relive being a mother to both my sons with this grandchild even if it’s a temporary feeling. I see the resemblance of both sons in this baby boy’s face. I’ve had many tears of joy. I have to be honest and admit I’ve shed tears of sadness as well. When I see my grandson again, he will have changed so much.
As a mother of child loss, I rely on memories captured from my mind or shared by other family and friends. I do have many pictures and occasionally a video shared by another person with my youngest son. These become heartbreakingly dear because we can no longer capture new memories. The memories that I have whether caught in physical form or from my ability to recall them are priceless and irreplaceable treasures.
There are moments that we believe we could never forget because they appear to be extreme circumstances. Yet, as time moves forward, we do lose or forget events from our past. In reality, we couldn’t function at our best if we were besieged by every moment of our past. Memories can be like echoes. They eventually fade away.
We are encouraged to live in the present moment because that is continuously slipping away too. Many people, including me, are guilty of living in the past or in the future, rather than living in the present moment. I believe this diversion is why we don’t remember certain conversations. If you are not living in the present moment, the distraction prevents you from being aware of all the details occurring simultaneously.
Especially priceless are the captured memories of an event by other people. When I see these for the first time, I live that moment in the present while my heart is living that moment in the past.
Our heart is attached to memories based on emotions and the intensity of the emotions felt. The essence of our spirit enhances the importance of any memory, but more so with a loved one living in heaven. Those memories have to last us for the rest of our lives.
The bittersweet heartbreak of a memory is still a treasure. We know the pain is well worth it every time. We will always treasure the memories of our child in heaven; even it brings tears, sadness or a bit of anguish.
For parents of child loss, we spend a lot of time thinking about memories of our children. This is the only way we get to see them again, unless they come to us in a dream. Some will say we are living in the past. But if that’s the only way to visit your child, then memory lane is an often visited place understandably. For those who don’t understand, they haven’t lost a piece of their soul.
I have nearly 23 years of memories with my son. As with any family, some of the memories are happy, sad, loving, and joyful. There are also those moments that are frightening, stressful, and filled with despair. Those memories we can’t forget and we shouldn’t because they serve as lessons in our life.
I will be forever grateful for the time I shared with my son. I feel blessed that he was, and actually still is an important part of my life. The joy of loving my son continues on through different forms. The signs he sends me, dreams, memories and moments captured from my own memory, pictures, or videos will always be blessings and priceless treasures, rare and irreplaceable.
Life is not always joyful and filled with happiness. The reality is that we become stronger through the challenging, stressful and fragile moments we experience. This aspect of life builds our character and altars our internal value system. Our faith is often challenged by loss of a loved one and definitely if the loss is your own child or children for parents. Our faith may be strengthened through our profound loss, but faith is understandably challenged on this journey.
Some experiences in life forever change you. They are supposed to change you. These events should change you because they determine the course in your life unexpectedly. Using these experiences to be mindful and live with purpose and intention is a reflection of our changed heart, mind, and soul. Our children in heaven can see the impact they made on our world.
Learning to live again may happen several times in our life through certain experiences. I don’t want to be defined by just any event that occurs. There are distinct experiences that slice your life into compartments. The before and after of these events portray extremes of your reality. Child loss will forever be the greatest dividing line in my life.
“Continuing to live a meaningful life without your child takes a lot of internal work and soul healing…in fact it may take the rest of one’s life”
We don’t consciously volunteer for devastating losses or experiences. Some of these are beyond our control and some are caused directly by our own actions. On a spiritual level, I believe we do choose our life lessons. We may not know how these lessons will appear, but we’ve chosen to learn for our soul growth. We don’t think about them in a conscious manner or have the expectation of these life-altering events.
When these occur, we have to navigate our way through the unknown sea of debris, We experience the turbulence through emotional, mental, physical and ultimately at a soul level with many layers. Grief is certainly a combination of emotional, physical and mental perception and devastation with unknown triggers.
We have the opportunity to observe other people and their personal struggles and triumphs. We may learn humility or grace by this observation, but the direct impact in our own life is always far more profound when it is our own struggle, sorrow or triumph. For some, their faith waivers and for others it remains intact and reliable. I believe most of us have to search for our connection to God at some point in life. We need to know our children are safe and loved until we are reunited. I know people who no longer believe in God. They question how a loving God could take a child away from their parents.
There will never be a satisfactory explanation of child loss in the human experience
The mental anguish of losing my son is difficult to express with the human vocabulary. The heartbreak and despair are beyond measurable words to describe. When I meet another mother of child loss, I know we share a bond that cannot be shared by those who haven’t lost a child. You might believe you could imagine this immeasurable loss. But truly it is unfathomable and until it actually happens to you, second hand perceived knowledge is useless and frankly impossible to conjure.
I could say for concise writing that I lost my son almost 6 years ago. The reality is that I lost my son 5 years, 8 months, and 6 days ago. I am specific about the timeframe because that is when my world stopped moving. That fateful day will never be any different in the future for me. I will always remember that the light of my son turned my world dark when I lost him that day. Other actions occurred on that day, but those moments faded away into nothing in a quick blink.
Every minute of our life is an opportunity to create a new memory. For me, I keep my youngest son in heaven alive by writing about him and by reaching out to other parents of child loss and grief. I could not have been a voice for this unimaginable journey until I experienced this loss. This slice in my life defined me with a before and after timeline of my son’s departure. I share my experience hoping to reach others traveling this journey. Our faces may outwardly show a smile, but we have a different heartbeat within. We move forward with required fortitude, searching for courage and strength and reliving all the memories that will have to sustain us for our lifetime.