Here I am, sitting in my “spot”, the one place where everything seems to go away and I feel a blanket of comfort wrap around me. I find a peaceful calm come over me. It is the one and only spot where no matter what is going on in my life, everything falls into perspective. Things that seemed so big, stressful and even impossible are quickly reduced to what they really are…insignificant worries. The small blessings that seem to quickly pass without a second thought are again brought to light. I have an overwhelming feeling of being blessed and thankful for the love I have in my life. I am joyful. I am at peace and I am strong. It is the place that I feel closest to God, I think because I can see the beauty in life so clearly here.
I bet if you tried to imagine my “spot” it would go something like this: a quiet and serene place set in nature, off the beating path where the birds sing softly to each other, the sun’s warm rays kiss your skin, vibrant green grass looks like a velvet walkway inviting you to take your shoes off and stay as you watch butterflies dance. You can feel your cares slip away one by one as a blanket of comfort is gently draped over you. Here your smile is easy and natural.
That is exactly what this spot looks and feels like to me but the biggest comfort about my spot would be the very thing that for you, would take the beauty I described and turn it into a grey haze barely noticeable in the background. You would wonder how and why I could feel love, comfort, peace, strength and even joy here. This significant detail would leave you with your heart aching and rob your smile from your face. I have seen it happen. I don’t know if you, or anyone for that matter, could ever see the beauty in this spot as I do. I could only imagine you seeing this as a place of sadness and grief. I don’t know how to change that, but I want to try. You see, the place that my heart and soul finds so much comfort in is the very place that my little boy’s body was laid to rest. It is a place my husband, kids and I call “Mac’s spot.” I could never call it his grave site and even writing those words make me uncomfortable and seems unnatural.
We drive by the cemetery every single day. We purposefully picked out his spot with this in mind. There is a small comfort in looking over and seeing it. The kids and I have a comforting ritual, as we drive by one of them lovingly yells out “There is Mac’s spot! I love you baby Mac.” Then it is my turn to say, “Hugs to heaven my baby.” The kids then end it with, “Kisses to heaven baby Mac.” Everyone is smiling. They feel like they talked directly to their little brother, their personal angel. Like they are saying it all for him.
Can you believe that? I could imagine it would be hard. But, for me, there is comfort in so many things about his spot. For one, it is proof that he was here, he mattered and his life although short, it counts. There I can admire his name carved so eloquently into the black granite. There is it, his name, written by someone other than his momma. Do you know how rare that is? I’ll tell you, very rare.
I wipe his stone clean when I visit. It is one of the few things I can still do as his mother. Here at his spot, I am his mom. I find comfort that his home is far more wonderful than I could imagine. I remember that he is not ‘gone forever’ and find comfort that one fine day I will see him again. I will learn the color of his eyes and hear his giggle. I will see him run towards me with his arms open wide. I will watch as he smiles and listen to him say my name for the first time.
For so many, this is something that is unfathomable. It is painful and nobody wants to think about it, let alone talk about it. The pain and heartbreak that comes with the death of a baby or child is unimaginable. I know, but what I would like for others to realize is that through the pain and tragedy I, like so many others, learned how to really live.
The words in Alana Sheenan’s quote could not be more true to my life and my grief. After Mac’s death everything unimportant seemed to burn away and what was left over was all the beauty, all the love. I want you to listen for the joy in my voice and watch for the sparkle in my eyes when I talk of him. It isn’t all heartbreak and tears. I know it may sadden you, but it saddens me to pretend he wasn’t here and to keep my thoughts of him only for me. He wasn’t JUST a tragedy… He is so much more. He is a reason to celebrate life here and now. He is a reason to move forward. He is a reason to make good choices full of love and faith.
I have said it a thousand times and I will say it a thousand more, without taking a single breath, that little boy has changed my life for the better. He opened my heart and soul to a better life and a stronger faith. He opened my eyes to the blessings I had taken for granted. I cherish my two little angels on earth and all their shenanigans (even the 15,000 times they have interrupted me writing this) because of his loss. I squeeze them a little tighter and hold them a little longer. I sometimes give them ice cream before dinner and I do it just to see them smile and hear the beautiful sound of their giggles. For this reason, “Mac’s spot” is without a single doubt every beautiful detail and no less than how I described.
I have a purpose for sharing…
Mother’s Day is fast approaching and I want to ask a favor of you. I want you to remember my son is more than a stillborn. He is more than a baby that never opened his eyes, never rocked to sleep by mommy or a little boy that never had the chance to throw a ball with his daddy. He is my son, living or not. He is and always will be my son.
As you can imagine, Mother’s Day is a holiday that is hard for mothers who have suffered the loss of a child. I am blessed, so blessed to have two beautiful children at home to help me celebrate Mother’s Day, however it is bitter sweet for me. I smile, I laugh and I hug my children on this holiday as you do. I am very thankful and very aware of what a gift they are to have here with me. Through all the celebrating, all the love, I always think of Mac and wonder every what if imaginable. I think I will ALWAYS think of him. I want to always think of him. It doesn’t make me weak or broken. It doesn’t mean I am depressed or hopeless. I means I love each of my children equally, even the one I have to wait to hold again. I love him no less and no more.
I received my first “Happy Mother’s Day” wish yesterday and it threw me. Instantly my thoughts went to my angel and I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. I held it in and these words instinctively flowed off my tongue, “Thank you so much! I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day too.” and that was that. I meant these words and I know the sweet friend wishing me happiness was simply doing just that…wishing me happiness. I do not know if my sweet friend had remembered Mac or if the urge to mention my sweet angel’s name was buried by the sadness she thought his name might bring me. I DO know that it was a loving and simple gesture and yet being the mother of an angel that meant it was complicated at the same time. I would love to erase all the sadness surrounding his loss and be able to simply acknowledge that he is my son and I still celebrate Mother’s Day with him in mind. I celebrate EVERYDAY with him in mind. I am the mother of three, two you can see, and one sweet angel you can not. I carry him in my heart.
This Mother’s Day, I want you to think of anyone you know that has suffered a loss (baby, child or even their mother) and as hard as it might be-acknowledge it. It doesn’t have to be the perfect words or a grand gesture. It can be as simple as, “thinking of you today” or “thinking of your angel.” AND you get big bonus points if you have the courage to say their loved ones name. Sure, they may be brought to tears, but I can assure you it is not from any pain you have caused. Hearing the name of their loved one spoken from another’s lips is the most beautiful music they could ever hear. Tears are sure to follow… it is ok. I promise, it will be worth it.
From my heart,