Last evening, as the sun went down, I was pushing Isaiah in his new tree swing, which he can't get enough of these days. I laughed out loud as he laughed out loud, and I thought to myself, these are the things that matter. These are the times we'll both remember. This is the foundation of our relationship.
And then I thought about Elena. These are the things she and I don't have the opportunity to share. I often imagine how she would interact with her brother. I long to see her watching over him as he sleeps or chasing him around the house in his walker or helping mommy push him in the stroller. I know that she would love her little brother and he would adore his big sister.
Losing a child is not just a loss of life - it's also a loss of moments, even the small and simple ones. And it's not just missing your baby as an infant. It's missing your toddler, your school-aged child, your high-schooler, your child as an adult and a parent. From my own experience and the experiences that many have shared with me, that's what's most hurtful when people don't acknowledge the life and existence of your child. People think that you can "get over" missing out on the diapering and bathing, but really there's a person missing from your family. That feeling doesn't go away.
As much as Elena has taught me about loss and compassion, Isaiah constantly teaches me about fullness of life. I can see the miracle in him every single day and it's exciting to watch the miracle unfold before me. I miss Elena, but in a strange way I feel fortunate to have experienced life and loss as a parent. Knowing the pain as well as the joy gives me a stronger sense of who I am as a mother and an immeasurable gratitude for the chance to really know a love that is beyond human understanding.
Thanks for listening.