Two years ago, we attended our first Holiday Remembrance Service for the Bereaved Parents of Madison group. It is a beautiful annual service held at a church in Monona, organized by some veteran members of our group that I'm lucky enough to call my friends now. There are beautiful readings, touching songs, and a reading of all our babies' names. I remember sitting in the audience that first year watching fellow bereaved parents take the podium and read memorial poems and excerpts so calmly and without shedding a tear. All while I sat in the pew silently sobbing over every word that reminded me of Tyler & Ethan (when you have a four year old, you learn quickly how to fall apart without anyone noticing). I wondered to myself, how do they do it? How do these parents find the strength to speak these touching words without completely losing it? I couldn't even listen to their words without sobbing. I eventually learned to talk about the boys without falling apart, and of course I can write about them until the cows come home, but songs and memorial poems/quotes have always had a way of making me tear up at a minimum. I just decided I would never be able to be that strong.
This year, however, I proved myself wrong. I was given the opportunity to do a reading for this year's service, and I accepted it. The reading I was given was incredibly "me". Here it is:
Excerpt from The Promise of the Rainbow...After A Child Dies
by Patti Fochi
You will see the light in your darkness.
And you will learn to touch your precious child in your soul.
You will meet him spiritually
and the emptiness will be somewhat filled.
It will become easier to speak than to cry.
And the heaviness will be lifted from your heart.
Your arms will no longer ache to hold him near.
And you will touch his spirit with your heart.
And he will kiss you in your dreams.
And the pain will slowly ease – but never go away-
You will find joy again and laughter will come.
You will once again feel the wholeness of your life
-But never too soon-
And only with the passing of time.
I took the podium this year and read that excerpt with my two guardian angels sitting on my shoulders, and I made it through. It was really a moment of triumph over my grief. I have to admit though, the first time I read that excerpt, I cried. The second time I read it, I cried less...and so on until I could do it without flinching. But I wasn't crying because it made me sad. The tears came because it is such a beautiful summary of what we've been through and how far we've come. I really have learned to meet my children spiritually, and that gives me peace. Over time, my wounds have healed but the scars remain. I can laugh, be happy and enjoy life in ways that I didn't think I could two years ago. It has taken time, but I've learned to look at the glass as half full. Instead of mourning what I've lost and how quickly Tyler & Ethan were taken from me, I thank God for the short time I had with them. I really believe their purpose was never to walk this earth; they were here for a short time to teach and then move on to Heaven to be our guardian angels. I know my life and my personality are completely different now than they would have been without Tyler & Ethan; they have changed me for the better. And for that, I am thankful. Glass. Half. Full.
So to all of my friends who are missing someone in Heaven this Christmas, know that I feel for you. Know that over time, your pain will lessen and you will smile again. Cherish your memories and remember to be thankful for whatever time you had with your loved one. The best way to keep him/her alive is to remember the lessons their life taught you and to find hope again. Remember that they are always watching over you always.
Merry Christmas in Heaven, boys. You and your sisters will always be my greatest gifts. Keep on smiling down on us.
thanks for reading!