This week has been the hardest week of my life. Hands down. We lost a dear friend and more importantly an amazing young man. Consistently amazing. He was only 20 and to watch his kind, broken-hearted parents deal with this was tough. Gut-wrenching. To watch my parents deal with this was extremely heartening. He was loved through and through. But I am having a hard time for several reasons:
a) my very first experience with death and first time to attend a funeral
b) he was too young and the kind of boy you enjoyed watching grow up and couldn't wait to keep seeing his life play out because you knew he was greatness
c) because I am a mother
I remember getting pregnant with Lola, completely planned since I was about 7 years old. When Clay and I started trying it was so exciting. I was on cloud 9 when the pregnancy test confirmed a baby before I even had time to wipe and shocked when the baby was a girl! I loved her before she was conceived.
I had never in my life experienced such love at such magnitude. My heart grew bigger than my body could hold. It was unconditional. It was pure. It was overwhelming. I remember a lot of adjusting emotionally just to let my brain and body catch up with how much love was bursting at the seams. I knew I would love my babies. No question. But I never knew how much love was created at an instant when you have one. More love than I thought I could handle. And the crazy thing is- as time goes on- somehow I love her even more.
When I was pregnant with Ollie, I was trying to prepare myself for that moment of unconditional love to hit me. Just take over my body. I thought I will be ready for all this love to double... and sure enough- I wasn't. I feel like there isn't anything I can compare to the way you love your children. I wish there was. All good mommas know what I am talking about though. And the more you have, the more love you make room for.
Of course with all this love means you are bound to get hurt at times. My exhausted Lola got mad at me the other night and as I quickly washed her off in the bath tub to get her in bed she mumbled "No Mother's Day." WHAT?!? Was my child just cleverly being super mean to her mom who birthed her big ol' body from my private lady part?? Was she being mean to the person who loves her more than anyone else on this planet will? Was she being intentionally mean for the first time to me? I pictured her 16 and looking at me saying "I hate you." This was too much and it called for a talking to. I was loving but explained some things to her. Some things I want her always to remember and I am prepared to remind her a time or two throughout her life (especially teenage years).
But you know what- I can laugh about that comment. Then and now. But how do you begin to heal from the hurt and grief of losing your baby? I watched Lisa and Randy and it broke my heart. I know the love they feel because I have children, but I can imagine the heartache they feel because I have never lost a child. Their normal will never be normal again. Not to say it can't be good- they are an amazing family and will always find a way to shine, but how unfair. I watched his slideshow and thought about the thousands of pictures I have taken of Lola and now Ollie and I have picked out ones to put on my blog, tag on Facebook, send to the printers, ones to blow up big, ones to showcase in their baby album, one day at their wedding or graduation parties, but never, never in a million years would I think I would ever have to pick ones out for a funeral. Watching the slideshow of Blake's life made me ache: for his family, for mine, for his friends, for me. How could this life be so short? How could parents bury their babies? I know death at any age is hard and never fun, but from my first experience with death, I find it terribly upsetting to see parents lose such a loved little boy. They have embraced "God is God" and certainly give Him glory through this heartache. Outstanding Randy and Lisa are. Two people I will be tied to for life now. Of course I never wish any parent to lose their child but unfortunately it happens all the time. I celebrate the greatness of Blake and the life he intently chose to live but mourn as a mother now. Let me be clear- my grief will never amount to his own momma's. I have experienced the love that is created when you have a child and can't imagine outliving your own children.
I know this will be a lifelong process for Blake's family that they are gracefully embracing already. And a lifelong lesson of many sorts for me.
Blake, you were clearly loved. This past week and a half made that evident not that it was ever doubted child. I wonder how your golf game is in Heaven? Does God still let you bogey every once in awhile? ;)