August 3, 2017
When you think about what a mother would be doing 11 months after her son is born, you immediately think about her preparing for the baby’s 1st birthday party. Who should attend? What should the theme be? How should we capture the perfect moments during the party? What outfit should we dress him in? How can we plan the time around his naps? Will he be walking by then? I can’t believe he’s already going to be one!
These are things I wish from the bottom of my heart that I was thinking about. Instead, my mind is filled with much more somber and morose thoughts. How should his gravestone look? What type of flowers should I take to the cemetery? When will I get some relief from this pain and heartache? How should we celebrate the one year anniversary of his death? Should we even celebrate it? Will anyone outside of our immediate family even remember? How are my husband and I going to make it through the darkness? Why did this have to happen to us?
For those of you reading this who can relate to the second paragraph, my heart breaks with yours. I truly believe the most difficult experience a human being can suffer is the death of their child. I often feel that I cannot endure it, and would give anything to go be with my babies. We are asked to keep on breathing, to keep on living, when a piece of our very soul is gone from this Earth. Starting our non-profit, Until We Hold You Again Inc., has been a source of hope and light in the darkness. Reaching out in love to other bereaved parents has given me a purpose. Through the death of my son, Ivan Joshua, at 40 weeks and 5 days gestation and our first angel baby, Alex, at 7 weeks, I truly understand the utter devastation and heartbreak that interlaces with every breath. With each card that is written and basket that is mailed out, I feel a slight, momentary relief. Honoring their memory gives me some peace.
I want you to know that nothing but the grace of God in His son, Jesus Christ has gotten me to this point. I’ve begged and pleaded for Him to take me from this Earth so that I can hold my angels, but I always hear the same message. “Katie, my child, your work on Earth is not done.”
So until my work on Earth is complete, I will continue to reach out to grieving parents who, like my husband and I, have to live each day with an unfathomable pain. You are not alone. As much as we wish we didn’t understand, we do. We understand not wanting to get out of bed, we understand the anger, the fear, the guilt, the desire to have more children, the desire to never have more children, the heartache, the emptiness, the fog, and the darkness that can consume. We also understand the need to laugh once in a while, and to smile at life’s blessings. We will never forget, and how could we? Our children are a part of us, and even in death, they are a part of our very existence. May God grant you peace and healing.
Grieving Mother to Angel Baby Ivan Joshua and Angel Baby Alex
Founder & Executive Director, Until We Hold You Again Inc.