I have been richly blessed with three children, two sons and a daughter, all grown. It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to watch their lives unfold, to see them emerge into the wonderful adults they are today, living lives of meaning and purpose, busy with family and work that speaks to their particular abilities.
Between the two boys, I lost a child. Or thought I did; my doctor disagreed. It was very early in the pregnancy, the baby more of a hope than a reality. Confirmation of my loss came many years after the fact, and in a way I never would have imagined.
In May, several years ago, my daughter had a spiritual reading. Afterwards, she invited me to her house to hear the tape of her session. In the beginning, people who were coming through were acknowledged, as well as their relation to Noelle. At one point, the presence of a very young child was identified. Noelle knew that her grandmother had had several miscarriages, but the reader was insistent–she needed to ask her mother.
The impact of what I’d heard didn’t hit me until I was almost home; I started crying and over the next few days I struggled to cope with the pain. I’d never allowed myself to grieve Matthew’s loss; busy with the needs of my family, I consigned it to memory and locked it away. It remained that way, unacknowledged, for more than thirty years. Noelle encouraged me to open myself to Matthew’s spirit, to let him comfort me. “He’s probably been there all along,” she said, “waiting for you.”
There are no words to adequately describe what it’s like to feel a spiritual presence, to share a connection. It’s a healing experience, full of wonder and affirmation, on both sides. Matthew’s spirit was everything one would associate with a child–buoyant and joyful, enfolding me in love and light. In that moment of communion, he felt so real I could almost see his little round head on my shoulder, as if I were holding him close.
Struggling to come to terms with the loss of loved ones is something we all experience as we journey through life. We miss the physical connection and all that goes with it–the conversations, the interaction, sharing special moments. Making memories together. We often feel we’d give anything to have one more moment, one more day. If only. I’ve learned that death is not the impenetrable barrier we are taught to accept. Nothing is lost, only changed. That’s the first law of thermodynamics . . . but it’s also the definition of faith, which teaches us to believe what the eyes cannot see.
In Matthew’s memory, I planted several daylilies in my garden, in shades of peach and pink, color associated with children, and what they symbolize in our life. It seemed fitting: you can’t pick a day lily, and I never got the hold my lost boy. I think of him often, especially when his flowers are blooming. He sends me butterflies, a sign to me that he’s close by.
This has been a difficult, emotional piece to write. Spirituality is a topic most of us shy away from and I’m not sure why I feel compelled to share this deeply personal experience today. Perhaps an unknown someone needs these words. For me, that’s reason enough.