A life, lived


My children have brought me laughter, and tears, and hugs, and tugs, and joy, and sometimes fear, mostly the fear of loss, which I’m thinking about in “A Little More” at ParentDish. The feature is running a day early this week, for reasons explained in the post.

7 thoughts on “A life, lived

  1. Every time I read or hear about someone who has lost a child, my first thought is about how badly it hurts (worse than I could have ever imagined) and how long it takes to begin feeling even the slightest bit better (much longer than anyone thinks). The initial numbness is a godsend. The worst of it is about 6 weeks in when reality starts to seep in.
    I’ll be thinking of this family in the coming weeks and wishing them peace in the midst of their pain.

  2. That was so beautifully written Jennifer – and funnily enough exactly the topic that had been on my mind in the shower just a few minutes ago. I was thinking I need to ring up a work friend and arrange to visit her and her new baby. The same work colleague who had a stillborn daughter while I was on mat leave with the twins. I was thinking as I washed that if I knew anything it was that I DIDN’T know what it is like to lose a child. I remember so vividly when the twins were sick and when we nearly lost Hannah – of holding my breath as if that could stop the next moment progressing because then we may lose her and how would I ever breath again? I felt like I was suffocating with terror – well my friend kept breathing. She will share stories of her sister with her newborn and as Betsy says – will find some degree of peace in the too short time she had with her eldest child. You captured that so beautifully. Thank you.

  3. Jennifer,

    You are so right – when we become parents, our hearts open to the vulnerabilities of life in a way that we can never even begin to imagine.

    I think we feel it even more as parents of children with special needs. Perhaps because we are shown the very frailty of life when we are pacing the floors, living the rollercoaster life in an NICU or an ICU.

    Or perhaps because we learn to grab joy and embrace it for all its worth when we have it.

    Since I have had Paige, I have literally immersed myself into a world of friends who have children with special needs. I have laughed and loved, and cried with them. I have watched some of the say good-bye to their children. I have celebrated lives that have ended much too soon.

    There have been times when it has been overwhelming – when it was just too much raw emotion to handle. But, I have been blessed with a wonderful gift of insight that tells me that, in order to have those times when my heart soars and I want to laugh right out loud, I have to experience the tough times too.

    That, to me, is living life fully and joyously. I don’t ever want to live on a level playing surface again, where I protect my heart from hurt by pushing away great blessings as well.

    Having met many wonderful families who have had children with terminal illnesses, I can tell you, every single time I’ve witnessed this, the child finds a way to tell Mom and Dad when its time…and it has been a very peaceful progression.

    And I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t been very grateful for the time they were given.

    You write very beautifully…


  4. Such a painful reminder of frightening times in the NICU with Nik, and watching some babies who did not make it. I don’t know how kate found the strength to write about that experience; I truly think I could handle anything BUT losing Nik.

    Once again, Jennifer, you make me feel so acutely; not always comfortable but SO vital in this awesome, whirlwind world we live in. It’s the constant reminder that life is far too short to be wasted on trivialities.

    Thanks for the humanity and humility today. Really.

  5. Yes, Melissa, it’s damn hard not to have a tear. I have a lot of them right now.

    Beautiful, Jennifer, really wonderful. And timely…a little boy from our town drowned in the lake a week ago and his daddy couldn’t get to him. They haven’t found the little boy yet. I was thinking about the family this morning, not even able to fathom how it must feel to know your baby boy is out there somewhere, in the darkness, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

    I looked in at Kate’s site…what a strong mama she is. I can’t imagine the loss. Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. “And though I spend a lot of my time as a mother pretending that there is nothing to be afraid of, that everything will be okay, sometimes it isn’t.”

    Ain’t that the truth, sister.

    I read Liam’s mom’s site and while I rarely weep at anything on the Internet, her delicate stories about Liam’s life struck a chord.

    I guess death is the one thing we are all afraid of. But there’s something NOT RIGHT about thinking of it with regards to children.

    Peace to Liam and his family. And peace to all us parents for whom the realization of death hangs heavy. Let us be especially kind to one another.

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