Thursday, December 8, 2016

Remembering them at Christmas

Last night was the always beautiful, somewhat magical, Labor of Love Christmas service.  It's a night I look forward to every year.  Last year there were two men who shared about their losses, and it moved me so much I blogged about it.  You can read that entry here.  I knew I needed to share this year, but only if when I sat down to write, something poured out of me.  And, of course, that's exactly what happened.  Below is what I shared to the many Infant Loss mommas, daddys, grandparents, nurses, and friends in attendance...

This year's ornament -  a Key, to unlock the Love in our Hearts.

I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to Labor of Love, and all the people who are now more like family than friends. Being able to gather with a group of people who understand exactly how you feel, who have endured the same tremendous loss, is such a beautiful gift.

I lost my son, Gabriel, seven years ago. In many ways it feels like a lifetime ago, but no, I'm not over losing my son. And, no, I won't ever be. This year I sought counsel from a therapist who questioned that I still had tears in my eyes as I spoke of my son. This licensed counselor wanted to know whose idea it was that I keep his memory alive each year by celebrating the day he was born. And to be honest, the experience broke me a little.

It took a lot a talks from friends and family, mostly my sweet husband to remind me that this "professional" was simply wrong. That even in his years of training, he clearly had never experienced a loss like ours. 

That every book I had read, every song that brought me comfort, every medical professional I've ever spoken to - from nurses and midwives at the hospital to therapists from Hospice, and especially every other momma and daddy who had been in my shoes - All proclaimed the opposite:

He was my child! He will always be my child. No matter how many more children I have been blessed with, there is no replacing him.

He was real. He was mine.

From the moment I stared at that positive pregnancy test, to all the times I felt him move inside me, to the day I finally got to see his sweet face. There is NO forgetting them. And trying to push all of these realities inside would do far more damage than remembering his short, sweet life. So thank you, Labor of Love, for giving us this beautiful night every year, to come together and remember. To simply speak their name, and reflect on how much we love them, and how deeply we miss them.

My sweet sister, who attends this service with me, along with my Momma.

The gorgeous tree in the beautiful church.

I ran over and took this photo of this amazing statue before the night had even begun.  Just seeing it brought me peace.

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