Saturday, August 8, 2015

Don't Let Anyone Dull Your Sparkle

In some ways, my life is still frozen in time, a piece of me forever idling in August 2012. That piece of me that Barrett took with him is cemented in time. That's not necessarily a bad thing. August holds many painful memories, but at the same time, it holds so much about my precious baby boy.

It seems that every day of this month serves up a multitude of memories. The Timehop app on my phone creates mixed emotions this month. I love when it reminds me of the days where I spent time just feeling him kick. When I see those posts, I catch my mind wandering back to that time. I envision ourselves in that first home we shared together and the freshly painted nursery at the end of the hall. I am back in his room in the rocking chair taking in all of the newly bought onesies hanging in his closet and Audrey's crib that we had set back up for him. I see my hands on my beautifully round belly, and I feel that peaceful anticipation that I basked in until his death.

I desperately long for just a few seconds back in that nursery with his precious little kicks reassuring me of the miraculous life I was carrying. Sometimes I think If I could just hold him one more time, but I know it would be like that songs says and leave me wishing for one more time. It could never be enough. 

Yesterday as I was talking with a fellow loss mom and trying to think of an illustration for this journey, one suddenly came to mind. We have been talking a lot recently about where Jesus uses a potter to explain how God molds and shapes our lives. So as I was searching for words, pottery came to mind.

I pictured myself before Barrett's death, not as a piece of pottery without blemish, but one that had its fair share of scratches and chips. Overall though, I was in one piece. When Barrett died, it was like someone took that piece of pottery and dropped it from a rooftop, shattering it into countless pieces. I looked at those pieces and instantly knew that I could never find them all, and even if I did, I would never be able to fit them all back together. 

For the first few months, the pieces remained where they had fallen in the crash. Then, little by little, day by day, I started to gather a few small pieces and glue them back. Maybe it wasn't exactly where they were before, but it was progress. Some days, the glue holding the gathered pieces together holds strong and other days it cracks a little. Some of the pieces will never be found; they followed my baby boy. But even if I could find every piece and glue them all back in the correct position, I still would never be the same as before; the cracks would always remain.

Sometimes, those cracks hurt. Emotionally they seem unbearable and some days they are accompanied by a physical ache that I can only describe as a broken heart and a mother's empty arms.  Despite that, the cracks do not indicate a lack of beauty. Rather, they are indicative of strength. Each one serves as evidence that you didn't give up. And every once in awhile, when you swear your eye catches a sparkle in a few of the cracks, know that it is not your imagination. Those sparkles are full of hope and an indescribable joy that is unique in its ability to coexist with unimaginable levels of pain. Those sparkles, are your baby's purpose shining through. 

One of the hardest paths to navigate in this journey is learning how to parent a child that isn't here. This is a path that is unique to everyone and there is no definitive answer. It's like walking a dark path at night by the light of your cell phone. You can't see very far in front of you, so you press forward cautiously and even still your eyes sometimes miss a rut in the path and you stumble a bit. Sometimes you may fall and that's ok too.

But when you have gathered yourself there on that path, and you are able to stand to your feet with your light once more, press forward again, leaving some of those sparkles wherever you go.

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