Today I reflect upon the year that we lost Matthew, 2005. Devastation was an understatement for us and just eight weeks after his death, Hurricane Katrina would wreak havoc upon our lives, our friends, our families, our communities, our neighboring cities, our economy and our businesses.
There was nothing that wasn't affected. Nothing.
Let's go back to before Katrina...July 2, 2005, Matthew was born, twenty five minutes later, he passed away. I remained on life support for four days and in the hospital for the following two weeks. July 23, 2005, we buried our son.
Five weeks later, August 29th, Hurricane Katrina came to claim what was left...
The aftermath was like nothing I had ever seen.
But you all have read and seen footage and photos, so today I am going to tell you what was going through my mind in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The news reports were that the remains of bodies were lifted from the surrounding cemeteries. I stopped breathing, I think when I heard that. WHAT?
My baby's body was at a cemetery...the thoughts began...
As you can imagine, it took some time for my husband to get to the cemetery to see if Matthew's body and his little "bed" were still underground. The thought of anything different makes me sick, literally sick.
But it was a possibility, especially since his space was so "fresh" out there.
Lives were lost, bodies recovered, bodies here and remains there...the news horrified me at the mere thought that this produced.
I was so sick, physically sick and recovering from severe complications and trauma to my body from the uterine rupture and the loss of Matthew and all I could think of was did we lose him again?
Was his body taken from the ground in the rising flood waters like so many others?
Horror, this gave to me horror.
The eight weeks after losing Matthew and then the hurricane claiming so many lives, homes and businesses really made the wounds deeper. It was too much.
We had no electricity for weeks, and please keep in mind I was recovering from major surgeries and was covered in infections from the antibiotics, no air conditioning and adequate bathing for such infections. I had zero bowel and bladder control so you can imagine the hell that it was. It was so difficult.
And my baby's body, was he still there?
I find it really hard to even write about all of this, so I am going to close, for it is too much to bear at this moment.
Matthew's body was where it was supposed to be when we were able to check on it...such a relief but such a heartache at the same time when my husband saw the tiny cross where his sweet body was laid to rest.
So tonight, I know that so many are reflecting upon this tragic time in their lives, the lost loved ones and the lost homes...and I reflect upon that too. But what my heart is really remembering is the terror I felt not knowing if my son was floating around in his little white "bed."
It's pretty amazing the things we are triggered by and the things that make it all so fresh...
Hurricane Katrina took so much...added to the loss of our child, it was so much to bear.
I remember isolating people in my life because they were devastated because they lost their home and their things, and I understood that, but it was pale in comparison to losing a child. It was awful to see my friends and community lose their homes, but if they had their children, I envied them. I had a house, but not my son. It took me some time to sort those awful feelings out and to put them in perspective. I would have given my house up and everything else we had to have my baby.
I am grateful for the findings that he was where he was supposed to be in the ground, but so sad because he really wasn't where he was supposed to be, in my arms.
Last year I reflected upon a little as well written in this piece Still GONE...so much has changed.
I ask that God gives us all of the strength as we face this time in our lives of such loss. Such life changing loss and tragic memories.
Many have rebuilt their lives and their homes...but the bittersweet feeling of gratefulness and sadness encamp my heart for the rawness this time brings to the surface.
Life is short, things are just things, love each other, make memories and most importantly if you can tuck all of your children in bed tonight, be grateful. I would have given everything we had to do that for mine.
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