Friday, May 31, 2013


A few days ago I shared a blog with you all and although I only named a few mamas and children on the post, I thought about many!  So many!

One precious mama was Laurie...her blog can be found here.  I "met" her through our online community of loss moms and her little boy Jack has become someone I remember every time I see the word JOY.  His name, Jack Oliver Young.  As his mama shares his life and her JOY on her blog, I began to see such a huge connection in how I remember him too.

Only through a photograph would I recognize baby jack or his mama...BUT through the word JOY, I see and hear them both.  That's pretty awesome!  I can see a Christmas ornament with JOY on it and I think of Jack!  I can see a card with JOY on it and I think of Jack!  Anytime I see the word JOY, my first thought is Jack... Good job Jack's Mama...for that speaks volumes!  Volumes!

I sent her the blog post along with the following comment~ "I have to add this...whenever I see JOY I think of sweet Jack's Mama."

Her response, was one that resonated with me on so many levels...I asked her permission to share it with you all as part two to my previous post "I will say it out loud for the rest of my life..." 

"Thank you for allowing the Lord to use encourage me. It's funny because I was just telling my neighbor this morning that it's so important for me to say Jack's name every day...and that it's even cooler when someone else says his name to me. Like hey, HE WAS thank you. from the bottom of my achy heart
Just when I'm hitting the 2 year mark and start wondering if it's "OK" to keep saying his name or to say I have SIX kids, and you go and post this amazingness"

When I read the words "like, hey, HE WAS REAL..." I could feel the validation in there that a simple comment made to my sweet friend...and YES HE WAS AND IS REAL!  Sometimes we need to know others acknowledge that too!

Do you need to read that again?  "HE WAS REAL!"

We are moms and dads that love our children that aren't with us just as much as we love those that are...that will never change!  

We want to say it out loud and we want to give you permission to say it too! 

It can be scary to approach a friend or a loved one that has lost a child for fear of not saying the right thing...silence or avoidance can feel so wrong in our already so wrong situation.  Please join together with us in reaching out saying it out loud together!  I encourage you today to say it out loud on behalf of your child if you are a bereaved parent or if you are friend or loved to someone who has experienced loss, find a way to say it out loud in honor of their child!

Return To Zero, a film about child loss is shattering the silence all over the world!  We need your help to share it!  How awesome would it be to share this film on your Facebook wall, tweet it, blog about it, in memory or in honor of your child, or in honor of someone's child???  That's a great way to speak volumes!  That's a great way to say it out loud!

I am pretty sure if you do that for a friend, just seeing their child's name will give them a hug on their heart!!!

When you don't know what to say...just do something!  Do this!!!     

In memory of Matthew Clark Weatherly, (or fill in the blank of your beloved)  please share the movie "Return To Zero" and the following link with your friends!

I honestly believe this simple act of kindness or honor in memory of a child can make a bereaved mother or a bereaved father smile...because you remember!  Because you aren't afraid to say it out loud!  Because you care!  

Show them you them you will stand beside them and speak, say it out loud!  



Laurie, a special thank you friend for allowing me to share your JOY...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

my tragic circus...

We are 32 days away from Matthew's 8th birthday. 

My heart is all too aware that I am only one flip away from July...just one flip.  And then there it is...

The month...the day that would change everything about our lives, everything.  

Nothing can stop is well on its way.

My sleep is restless.  My thoughts scattered.  I want to be silent.  I want to scream.  I want to write and get it all out but it is all in there circling around like a tragic day at the circus...the ride that won't stop and the clown that frightens all of the little keeps going and going and I am nauseous.  I hate this circus.  

As I was sitting on the porch this evening, I was trying to write, too many thoughts piercing my head to even write a draft of anything.  I scribbled and scratched and got irritated with myself for that frustrates me even worse when I cannot envelop my thoughts with clarity into anything more than gibberish.  

What would frustrate a writer more than not being able to write?  Make her a bereaved mommy and give her all of the extra helpings that come along with that and see what you get. 

A tragic circus.  That's what I get.

I am tired.  Really tired today and I want my mind and my heart to rest. 

I am hoping to close this and bring some peace to the thoughts running rapidly in my head...and give myself the okay to not process it all right now.  It is way harder than it seems.  Way harder.

As I penned the following note to myself, I realized it was enough for the day.

I was done.  It was God's turn.

I must turn to my Bible and get off of my blog...for there is where I will refresh my faith and find my peace.  There I will get clarity for the next moment that I have to make it through.  Which is right now and tomorrow and the next day and the forever for the rest of my lifetime.  Forever.  

I think the perfect place to start is Isaiah 26:3 ~ "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you." ~NIV  Yep, that is the perfect place.

Thankful to have a God that can take me and my tragic circus, give me comfort, grace, mercy, forgiveness, love me unconditionally and give me the strength to also offer that to others...for in that, there is great healing and hope.  I cannot imagine living my life without hope or living my life without sharing the hope that I have.  That is why I share my heart even when the tragic circus comes to town.  For I make it through every single ride and every scary clown!  And I want you to know that!  

God has never left me and today is no exception.



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Facets of Life: I will "say it out loud!" for the rest of my life!...

Facets of Life: I will "say it out loud!" for the rest of my life!...: During the busyness of the week, I found myself beside a precious mother who is grieving the loss of her baby girl.  As our conversation plu...

What I Didn't Expect When I was Expecting...

Looking through some photos...memories of what once was...and remnants of what always will be.

When all was alive and well...sweet Matthew...I had no idea what was to come...

This was to come...

This is "What I Didn't Expect When I was Expecting..."

and this...would be the rest of my life... 

making memories always wishing for one more set of footprints in the sand...always 

Here we had three hats signed by Coach Freeze...three.
only two boys left wearing them.

These are the "Facets of Life..."
the facets of our life.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Making of this Mama...

The making of this mama has been a very unexpected journey.

I must admit, at the first sign of the pink line, I had piles and piles of books on pregnancy; you know the ones that tell you what to expect. Yep, I had those! We took Lamaze classes; you know to help with the breathing and all! Hah! I thought I was so prepared with literature and breathing techniques, boy was I ever wrong! I didn't know what to expect with any of my boys! Here we go!

The spring of 2000 would bring me to the delivery room for the first time! Excited, scared and definitely not sure what to expect, (although I had read all of the books on what to expect) I gave birth to our first son, Nathan. He was beautiful, almost 9 pounds of beautiful. The delivery was pretty fast and I was able to pull him from my womb and put him directly on my chest. It was amazing! That was definitely unexpected as the doctor asked me if I wanted to pull him out. I remember freaking out for a half of a second and pulling him to me the next!

I remember being so afraid the hospital would mix my baby up, I remember being obsessed with his hairline and his beautiful chubby cheeks. I remember flowers, beautiful flowers and smiling when I heard the lullaby played over the hospital speakers.

I remember the PURE JOY that we experienced and that we held. Life would never be the same.

In the fall of 2004, we were building our new home and received some unexpected news that we were going to be having another baby! We celebrated and adjusted the house plans for a nursery. Life was great!

The summer of 2005, I would enter the delivery room again. This time the unexpected would not be pulling my son from my womb but losing my son due to a uterine rupture. Although I delivered another almost 9 pound beautiful baby boy, he lost his life and I nearly lost mine. I was in and out of consciousness but remember screaming “why isn't he crying?” Something was wrong, terribly wrong. The delivery room was a nightmare, hell on earth. There was death, not life. There were no beautiful flowers and no need to worry about anyone switching babies with me. Mine was gone. The lullaby never played.

That nightmare would never end. This nightmare was now part of my life, part of my journey to motherhood, the making of this mama.

Losing Matthew changed me forever. Losing my health due to the loss of Matthew would never let me forget the pain of that day and the moments I would live with after. I sustained life altering permanent injuries along with the biggest hole in my heart. I left the hospital two weeks after Matthew passed away with a pillow in my arms and not my son. I kept saying “But I just went in to have a baby.”

Three weeks later, we buried Matthew; life would never be the same.


Fourteen months later, our phone rang…

Our determination to seek a baby girl through adoption was clearly going to work, right?

I answered the phone, and it was our social worker. She said she knew I wanted a girl because I never wanted to replace Matthew, but that God kept telling her to call me. So she did! She had a baby boy! She had a baby boy that was ready for adoption right away! Whoa Nellie! I was in shock! I calmly (not so much!) walked to the door and told my husband to come inside that we needed to talk. He walked in and after we talked we made a phone call right back to her saying “Yes!”

We didn’t tell our parents at all about the phone call. We only told our siblings. We knew this would happen fast if it was going to happen. For 23 hours we would wait by the phone and pace and cry and smile and freak out a little every now and then, and almost throw up a lot! We were filled with anticipation of not knowing if we were going to have a baby the next day! We were also guarding our hearts for we know how hard it was to let go of Matthew. We were afraid of being hurt with the adoption not going through. So we waited and prayed and prayed and waited.

During the 23 hour period, we said “if this is God’s will, then it will happen” hundreds of times! Seriously! I think that is all we knew to say. We had no boy names! Only a girl, because that is what we thought we were going to adopt. When the final phone call came in, our social worker said “come and pick up your son!” We cried and held each other and said “it is God’s will, and he is now OUR WILL!” We knew right away, his name would be William… Will, OUR WILL!

We arrived to the office just minutes after that phone call and when we walked in tears projected from my face and didn't stop for a long, long time. It was such a beautiful moment. I cherish that moment so much.

I sat down and our social worker walked over to me and placed our son in my arms. I held him close to my heart and my cheek and I said “he is so warm!” Emotions were all over the place as I remembered the very last time I held a baby boy, it was Matthew and he was so cold. This warmth that radiated from Will was amazing! He was alive and he was mine! He was the most beautiful gift ever! His birth mother loved him so very much that she chose life and chose to give him what she couldn't. I will never forget her or the selfless love that she had for him.

At just a little above 5 pounds, Will fit in the palm of our hand yet at the same time occupied our whole heart!

We were bringing little Will home. Life would never be the same.

When we were on the way to the attorney’s office to meet our son, we called our siblings and told them we were ready to throw a party and SURPRISE our parents with their new grandson! It was Grandparent’s Day, after all! What a gift!

So, they ordered pizzas and drinks and had our home FILLED with family and close friends! All but our parents knew we would be walking in with a baby! Everyone was gathered as we opened the door and Nathan shouted “Happy Grandparents Day – welcome William Gray Weatherly to the family!” Holy moly, I thought our parents were going to pass out! What a SURPRISE! We did some major rejoicing! Major rejoicing! Last time we were all together was when we were saying goodbye to Matthew and now we were saying hello to Will! It was amazing!

Within 24 hours, our home was so full of baby items! Diapers, formula, clothes flowers, yes and beautiful flowers! If you needed something for a baby, we had it! The outpouring of love from our family, friends and community was incredible! Truly incredible!

There was no greater celebration… so we thought!

Ten months later, we would find ourselves in a courtroom awaiting the finalization of the adoption. I was so nervous as I had no idea, once again, what to expect. One by one, we were sworn in, under oath to accept the responsibility of being Will’s parents. The feeling of PURE JOY heightened as we neared completion of the judge picking that gavel up. Anticipation escalated and tears streamed down our faces as Will’s adoption was in the last stages. This was it! This was the moment that brought me right back to the delivery room in the hospital when I pulled Nathan from my womb! This was IT! This was THAT! This was a MIRACLE and in that moment, the JOY that was taken from me in the delivery room with Matthew was given right back to me in the courtroom! THERE WAS NOT ONE BIT OF A DIFFERENCE! Not one! I have goosebumps typing this!

I am a proud mother of three boys! Two that I birthed in the delivery room, one that I birthed in my heart and in a courtroom! I love each one the same! My love grows for each one of them daily and will continue to do so. I cannot hold Matthew in my arms, but I certainly do in my heart. I could not birth Will from my womb, but where Matthew was planted, he grew! He grew straight from God’s hands to my heart!

I remember being so afraid to adopt a baby boy because I thought I would be trying to replace Matthew. I now know that God needed to heal my heart and it would be done through the most amazing little boy that we are blessed to call “ours!” I believe that sometimes to heal, we must revisit the place that hurts the worst. Those baby blue blankets and little baby boys hurt the most after losing Matthew. God knew what would heal my heart and that was Will. My husband’s words, “We are so thankful God gave us what we needed instead of what we thought we wanted!” Amen!

This paragraph from my book “Facets of Life; What I Didn't Expect When I was Expecting” sums up how we have lived our lives through some pretty hard stuff, we live trusting God. “We know the importance of loving with all of your heart, we know the pain of letting go and we know the necessity of taking a risk even though you are unsure of the outcome. For in those three elements lies the true test of faith…trusting God. He sees what we cannot, and in that comes a great peace that we have also learned we cannot live without.”

I always need a minute when I read that paragraph… if you have suffered loss or taken a risk with a pregnancy or adoption, you will understand those profound words all too well.

My journey to motherhood has been unexpected and off the charts all over the place, but it has brought me many places I never thought I would be. Today, I am here with you all sharing my story with hopes that it will encourage someone along the way. If you are a loss mama, I am so sorry. If you are seeking to adopt a child, hang in there, quit reading horror stories online (I so did that!) and seek the good ones! There are so many good ones! If you are a birthmother, you are amazing! You are cherished and I pray God will bless you more than you can ever imagine for choosing life and giving life! If you are not yet a mother and desperately wanting to be, I wish you hope and a lifetime of chasing little feet around your home.

I can’t help but smile and cry as I have reflected upon my story with you all. It has brought me to my knees once again, my heart full of gratitude and grace. The making of this mama has not been defined by birthing my babies or being able to hold them all in my arms, my boys have proved that, but rather defined by the unconditional love that I have for my three sons, Nathan, Matthew and William. From my arms to my heart, from my womb to my arms, or from my heart to heaven, this mother’s love remains the same. From the delivery room or from the courtroom, this mother’s love remains the same. This love knows no difference! And this love is forever!

wishing you all forever love…

*This post was originally shared at Smitten By, published on May 7, 2013.  You can view that here.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I will "say it out loud!" for the rest of my life!

During the busyness of the week, I found myself beside a precious mother who is grieving the loss of her baby girl.  As our conversation plugged deeper, I found myself asking her if she spoke of her daughter every day.  I found myself asking her if she was saying it out loud.  I found myself understanding the need, even speak their names out loud...every single day.  I found myself wondering how many mothers and fathers are dying to talk but afraid to speak like I once was.

When I joined the team of writers at Still Standing Magazine, I began to see a movement among our community that was painfully beautiful.  I began to see moms and dads recognize, write and paint and honor their children in so many creative ways that I never even knew existed.  I began to get to know their children and remember their children through their work.  I think it is pretty amazing that I can look at a photograph and say Christian's mom did that...I can go to and I know that Jenna Belle's mom pours into this magazine daily...I can see a pink bow and think Cora's mom is spreading awareness for CHD and then I remember Colin's mom who also works diligently with this cause, I can see a painting and know that Eve's mom or Amelia's mom took deep breaths in between the brush strokes... the list goes on and on!  It truly does!  I remember because they speak.  Sure, I know their names as well, but so much more importantly, I know their children's names.  Their children's voices are being heard and recognized!  Those voices are beautiful and important!  You can read all about those voices here and I hope you will!  Those voices have the potential to move your soul in ways other voices never will.

I challenged myself to reflect upon my own life and I admit I was afraid for years to speak...I was afraid of letting the world know that I was hurting.  I was afraid that the pain would be too great.  I was afraid to say my son died...saying it meant I could no longer deny it...saying it meant the world would look at me differently.

With a deep breath and armfuls of faith, I did it anyway.  I spoke.  I let the world know that I was Matthew's Mama!  And it was amazing!

Sure the world looked at me differently...but the world looked differently to me also.

I look at the world and I see the quiet mama sitting on the other side of the room dying to talk but afraid to speak.  I recognize her well because for so long that was my reflection in the mirror.  I can see it in her eyes and feel it in the air.  She is dying to talk but afraid to speak.  Perhaps she feels the way I did...

I was dying to talk but afraid to speak...

I was afraid to say it out loud!

I was dying to talk because I was hurting inside.

I was afraid to speak because I was hurting inside.

I heard others call his name and secretly I wanted to do that too...

I wanted to say his name but I was afraid...

I was afraid that others would think I had lost my mind as well as my baby.

I was afraid that when I said his name the echo of the silent response would be too much to bear.

I was afraid I did not have enough courage to speak.

I was dying because I could not speak.

I did not know if anyone would listen or if anyone would want to.

I did it anyway.

Slowly, I began to speak...

I whispered, I cried...

I said it, I said his name...

I screamed it!

I didn't know if anyone heard me.

So I said it again!

I felt brave for the first time in forever.

I had spoken his name...

I had spoken!

I was no longer afraid to say it...

I was no longer afraid to speak...

I was no longer afraid to say it out loud!

I will say it out loud for the rest of my life!

Will you join us in saying it out loud?
Please take a look at this film trailer ~  Return to Zero, a must see for everyone!  Together, we say it loudly, say it proudly and are breaking the silence!  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

rewriting history...tic toc

Rewriting history...Last year's blog...but every years feelings and thoughts...July is coming...

It's like rewriting history year after year..For those of you that have lost your children, you understand exactly what I am talking about!  I share this blog with you again today with only one change...eight years, I have been no stranger to grief for almost eight years now.  

Just having a SAD day...

You ever have one and not know why?  Nothing really to blame it on... just sad.

Well, I do not have to look at a calendar to tell you why my  heart is on the brink of tears so often these days.... because I KNOW what the calendar says... and it says July 2 is approaching like a freight train.

And literally the closer the freight train gets to me, the heavier my heart feels.

That freight train runs full throttle for me.. from the beginning of June until July 24th... Matthew passed away on July 2nd, and we buried him on July 23rd...

You see, when a mother (or a father) buries their baby / child, their hearts ALWAYS know when the day of the anniversary is drawing near...  Within our hearts are like little clocks that tic and toc as the hour draws nigh... tic toc... tic toc...

You can hear the silent rocking chair sway... back and forth.

But no crying... at least not tears that you would expect to fill the nursery... not an infant's tears but a mother's heart wrenching groans...

Tic toc...

If we could only rewind the time... WHAT IF???   If you lost a child, I know you have replayed the scenario time and time again... "IF ONLY..."  If only you knew... and the what if's...

NO matter where you are, what you are doing as the clock is ticking your heart is very aware of the time...

One minute closer to the time of death proclaimed on that horrible piece of paper, the death certificate...

Tic toc...

Sadness, spontaneous tears and buckets of crazy ups and downs are swept in uninvited, yet at the same time, embraced.

How does that happen?  You may wonder if you have never experienced the loss of a child...

It just does.

Grief is no respecter of persons.

I must be honest with you... I have been no stranger to grief now for almost 7 years... and I think that when you lose a child you lose part of you, forever.  And as much as people would, and do 'suggest' to me to get over my grief, I don't want to.  And if that shocks you, please keep reading...

You see, part of being Matthew's mama is very painful, because he isn't with me and I miss him... and as much as God has helped me and healed me, I am forever going to miss him and that makes my heart grieve.  I will never quit missing him, and I never want to quit... so my heart grieves my baby and that is how it works.  I am just doing the best I can and when grief comes, I embrace it... and let it flow.

It is just as natural as it is loving someone.  You cannot stop that either.  It is natural for my heart to feel the grief of my baby just as it is as natural for me to love him more every day!

As my heart is doing the countdown... I loudly hear the tic toc... and the echo of the silent rocking chair going back and forth...  as much as I don't want to feel the pain, I do not want to miss it.

Sad... I am sad today.

Tic toc... tic toc...

Friday, May 17, 2013

exhausted mom meets grieving mom...

Being a mom is exhausting some days, being a grieving mom is exhausting every day.

When the hustle and bustle of the ballgames are over, when the laundry is folded and put away, when the kids are fed and clean, the dishes washed, preparation for the next day is done, homework is complete, prayers spoken and everyone kissed goodnight, exhausted mom can go to bed to rest. But there she meets grieving mom that has accompanied her all day, every second.  There she cannot escape the presence of grief or the absence of her child any longer. There in the still of the night she sits.  Exhausted mom's duties are over and grieving mom is taking over.

Exhausted mom wasn't able to yield to grieving mom throughout the day, however, exhausted mom was very aware of her presence every moment, every moment. While exhausted mom functions to keep the house together, making sure tasks are handled with care and keeping her composure, grieving mom sits right beside her trying to balance the surge of emotions as she wishes she had just one more pair of socks to more fork to more baby to kiss goodnight.  For grieving mom never forgets there should be one more...

Exhausted mom is very protective of grieving mom and the cord that binds them together.  Grieving mom tries to be strong so exhausted mom can carry on throughout the day, but sometimes grieving mom needs a minute or two...Exhausted mom gives her all of the time she needs.

Exhausted mom will get an occasional day of "rest."  Perhaps Mother's Day or her birthday, but for grieving mom, these days only amplify the rawness and reality of her duties.

There is never an end of the day for grieving mom, rather a cycle that just repeats.  She wakes up (if she sleeps) to missing her child, she shops missing her child, she talks missing her child, she works missing her child, she does EVERYTHING IN LIFE, MISSING HER CHILD.  There is never a schedule for her grief, or specific time allowance for such. There is no calendar end to missing her child here on earth.  There is no relief squad to come in and lighten the load, this, only a grieving mom can carry.

When the season has ended, the kids have grown, and there are gray hairs and fine lines, ("Beauty Marks") that are evident to all, exhausted mom retires, but in those tender years, those golden years, grieving mom keeps going...until her last exhausted breath she grieves...

©2011-2013 All rights reserved
Author~ Lori C. Weatherly

Monday, May 6, 2013

Matthew's brothers...

Today I dedicate this post to my boys Nathan and Will ~ Matthew's brothers

What were you doing at five years old?  Playing in the dirt?  Barbies?  Perhaps...

My son, Nathan, at five years old, was attending his little brother's funeral after three weeks of his life being totally turned upside down.

Nathan was so eager for Matthew to arrive.  He was going to teach him how to play ball, catch frogs and lizards and all that good boy stuff!  He was ready!  He made sure Matthew had the perfect 'going home' outfit...Ole Miss onesie, of course, complete with matching hat and on the bottom it said "future tailgater!"  We had no idea when we said Matthew's going home outfit, it would really be his 'going home to Jesus outfit!' 
Nathan was so proud to be Matthew's big brother!  Look at that smile! 
He bought him a little car to give to him on his arrival day... that car he placed into his brother's hand very tenderly as he laid in my arms lifeless at the funeral home.  He was buried with that special car. 

Nathan experienced the delivery room excitement alongside of us...and then the unexpected came.  His little brother lost his life and his mother would be fighting for hers.

Imagine a five year old's mind in these brief moments when there was life and then death and then there went his mama...emergency surgery and then some...

Until Matthew's birth, Nathan was only away from me one night.  The next two weeks would prove to be oh so different for him.  Loss of his brother and no one knew if I would come home to him again.  They had to prepare him for the unexpected.

I would  be un ICU for days and on life support.  He saw me twice as a kind nurse snuck him into ICU for very brief visit.  I only remember one of those visits, and that is vague, very vague.  But what a sight I must have been to my baby boy.  I had NG tubes, a ventilator, a pic line, kidney stints, JP tubes, and much more.  I was a sight, I am sure for Nathan.  I didn't look like his mommy. 

RW didn't know if he would be raising Nathan alone.  He had some very special moments with him that he shares in the book, and they are moments that remain forever etched in both of their hearts. 

Two weeks after Matthew's death, I was released from the hospital to go home.  (miraculously)  I don't remember much about that except for pulling out of the hospital with a pillow and no baby.  I was so confused.

Nathan was a trooper, so my family says.  I don't remember the first time I saw him after I was out of the hospital or what I even said to him, but looking back on it now, I wonder how his little heart felt.  What was he thinking.  So I asked him just the other day... he wrote down his response~


I can tell when Nathan is thinking about Matthew and the tragic time that changed it all for him.  He will touch his heart and that touches mine.  I can catch glimpses of him with tears in his eyes as he stands in the hallway looking at Matthew's picture.  I can tell when I need to just hug him or talk.

Many people have said to me "kids won't remember or kids are resilient, they handle things better than we older ones do."  Sure, I agree if we are talking about a broken bone or a stomach virus... but I promise you Nathan remembers so very much about losing his brother and almost losing his mother too. It's all there... in his head and his heart.  All of it. Those things are evident in his life and I believe they always will  be.

As he grows up, now 13, he still remembers that time and those days like it was yesterday.  He often says things that make me so sad for him to have experienced, and at the same time, I know because he experienced these things, he is able to have much more compassion for those who are hurting.  Losing Matthew is shaping him into who he is becoming, and I am so proud of him.  He is still Matthew's brother and through his words and his actions, I see that more and more every day.  He always did talk about him when he was little and now he still is but in a much more grown up way.  He is developing an even deeper connection and love for Matthew.  I didn't think that was possible... but it is happening.

Nathan is learning how Matthew passed away and just what happened.  His older mind is digesting it all over again and that is fresh, so fresh.  I see we are having more conversations about the depth of what happened and how.  Growing up with loss is what he has done since he was five, experiencing loss again as he is growing up at thirteen is what is happening now. 

He is also learning much about life using Matthew's death as perspective...there's nothing quite like losing someone you love to get you grounded and appreciative for what REALLY matters in life!  And Matthew's death is teaching him lots about life!  (as  it does daily with us all!)

Being thirteen is  hard stuff.  All the teens are changing and developing emotionally and psychically as well.  We have daily conversations about things happening at school and sports, etc.  And ALWAYS, ALWAYS, he takes whatever it is and applies the perspective of gratefulness that Matthew has taught him... it may be at the very end of the conversation, but it ALWAYS comes! 

We talk about how you never know what kids are experiencing themselves at home or what they are going through personally or mentally.  Nathan knows this all too well!  This is so important to teach our kids!  So very important!  Just as no one knows when Nathan is sad or having a mixture of emotions that he doesn't understand that come from growing up plus grief, no one knows when someone in class has no parent at home to tell them they love them, or care for them, or being abused.  Our words matter.  Our actions matter.  One word can make or break the spirits of a child from a peer.

Kids, of all ages, are hurting too...most in silence for fear of not being accepted or perhaps being made fun of for being the way they are.  Who they are is being shaped by what they have been through!  Please take note of that and teach our kids to be kind to one another. 

Grieving a sibling is probably not lunch room conversation, but I bet someone else in that lunch room is grieving a sibling too or on the ball field!  Everywhere! 

I write all of the time about grieving as a mom but I never forget that my boys grieve too.  Sometimes it is silent... and I can just tell... and those moments are still and where they need to be, but then there are moments that we talk and those moments I embrace for what they are.  Reminders to all of us, we all lost Matthew and we all need to do this together.

As for Will, our amazing little Will... he got a car too from his big brother!  Right before our very first family photo with Will, Nathan grabbed a car, a special car and placed it into Will's hand, just as he did with Matthew, this time, we ALL smiled!   

It was wonderful to see this smile again on Nathan's face as he was once again a BIG BROTHER with Will! 
At five years old, Will was playing ball, catching frogs and learning about lizards from his big brother! 

Tears!  Oh what a difference!!!

I didn't know how growing up with grief was going to translate into the teen years for Nathan, but I do know it is making him stronger in many areas of his life... and I don't know how Will is going to filter through it all as he grows up, but I do know that my prayer is for both of my boys to always be comfortable talking about losing Matthew, for in that we gain so much and for both of them to always feel him inside our hearts and home.  I pray that my boys will always remember the lessons that Matthew's life and death have taught  us and continue to teach us along the way.  Matthew's life is and always will be a gift, just as Nathan and Will's lives are a gift!  His brothers will always love him very much and this mama will always be grateful to watch that love continue and thrive just as it would if he were here with us on earth!  That is what is happening! 

I know many of you in this great big world are missing your siblings too!  Sending my love to all of you!  XO!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

today I am just going to cry a while...

"One cannot truly separate the sadness or gratefulness within a grieving mother's heart; there is nothing else capable of producing a tear that can be followed by a smile or a smile that can be followed by a tear for the duration of our lives such as this." 

~Lori C. Weatherly

Today I am just going to cry a while...

It is just one of those days when I am crying for no  particular reason but over everything!  I am crying because I am happy.  I am crying because I am sad.  I am crying because my friends are hurting.  I am crying because tragedy is everywhere.  I am crying because Matthew's garden has weeds in it.

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I looked at was Matthew's photo by my bed... and I said out loud "did my baby really die?"  And it has been on since! 

Some days it is so hard to believe.

And then I looked at sweet Will and the joy that was in my heart made me cry more! 

I just looked at my granite counter top and saw a spot that needed to be cleaned and I cried.  Yep, that kind of a day!

And you know what, when I got the 409 and cleaned it, I was still crying.

I watched a video this morning of a mother and father to be going to the hospital to have their baby and they were laughing and smiling and full of joy not knowing that their baby girl would just live a short while before she would be with Jesus.  I cried because I saw myself in that video, the girl I once was before the death of my son.  I saw her again.  And I cried. 

I remember that joy, that laugh, the moments before Matthew was born that everything was fine... my son was alive, I was excited and couldn't wait to meet him!  And that joy never came.  That laugh went away.  That feeling that existed before Matthew's death was so incredible, so incredible and I took it for granted thinking everything was fine!  I remember that so well.  And it breaks my heart.

Please don't take that last paragraph and think I don't have joy because I have much joy!  Remember, happiness is circumstantial, but joy is God-given!  And God has given me so, so much joy!  I know Matthew is with Jesus and I celebrate that so much!  I smile at that thought!  But I am his mama and I sure miss him and that makes me sad!  And I laugh a lot but I have never laughed like I did before Matthew passed away...everything I do now, I do missing him...even laughing.  And that is different.  Everything is different.  Beautifully different. 

And then I think of the extreme joy that our little Will has given to us!  OH how amazing his life is!!!  And I cry more!  Happy, happy, happy tears!  JOYFUL TEARS! 

This is the kind of rainy day when I can walk outside and not feel the difference between the rain or my tears...

Happy tears, sad tears and grateful tears...

I am grateful and full of anticipation of some really wonderful things to come!  And even in that, I cry!  A good cry...anyone ever heard of that?  Today I am having a good cry!  Probably long overdue too!

Smiles, tears, laughter, fears! 

"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get..."  Forrest was smarter than anyone thought!  ;) 

Today, I get tears!  oh... and chocolate!