This is My Winter Song To You.

Luca’s 11 month birthday came and went. Not writing to him, or about him, has left me with such an uneasy feeling, as if I had not honored him properly, or taken the time to connect with him. Were he here, we would have been dressing him up in his 11 month outfit, posting pictures, celebrating the milestone he would have gotten to at this point.

I’ve been so tired this week, that I haven’t wanted to stay up and write what’s been on my mind. And today it came to a breaking point. I had my mindfulness class immediately after work, and during our first meditation of the evening, eyes closed, breathing deeply, my mind wandered back to that moment where we heard that his heartbeat had decelerated. I thought of who I was back then, when I had no real idea what that meant. When I had  no idea that everything we had been preparing our life for, would be taken from us in just over 36 hours. I hover over that moment in my meditation, and the tears begin all over again.

At that very moment, I had no idea my son was going to die and that I was never going to hear him cry, or laugh, or squeeze my hand or call me mama.

I go over this scene again and again. What could I have done differently to save him? Could I have saved him? Why him? Why was everything so normal, and then in a split second, it was the extreme opposite?

I send those people, those versions of Gina and I, so much love. I send them love and light understanding, because we are no longer those same people.

I find myself looking at our one family portrait. It’s so bizarre to look at this picture my son, that existed, that I hoped so much for, but that never got a chance to be anything but just my hopes.

He existed. He grew inside of me. And in that picture, I can tell he is my son. And now he’s gone.

It hurts in the farthest corner of my heart still, and leaves me speechless. All that seems to function are my tear ducts, and thankfully my fingers.

Sometimes, even 11 months later, I still fall short of the words to describe what this feels like.

Sad. Lonely. Lost. Pain. Grief. Ache.

I’m on my knees crying and I still can’t explain to you what it is that I feel because it’s that tremendous. Those words just aren’t sufficient to describe what I feel not having my son in my arms.

I write this to help people understand. To help other mothers who are experiencing the loss of a child, know that their feelings of grief are normal. I want to continue to attempt to help those 2/3rds of my community that have either ignored Luca’s death, or initially showed up and then disappeared, to understand what it is I’m in need of, even at 11 months out.

Understanding. Not pity. Connection. Not ignorance.

In less than a month, it will be Luca’s first year birthday.

And amongst all those heavy and difficult feelings, new ones arise.

Love. Hope. Pride. Gratitude. Love. Love. Love. So much love.

The feeling of his golden light shining on me.

I’m not a believer of Jesus Christ, but I sure do believe in the power of my son.

The first time I heard this song, was when I was preparing for the death of my dog Jake. I listened to it, crying for my sweet old man, but it was in the middle of the summer, and was never quite the right song, though the sentiment was close to what I felt at the time.

Then Luca died, just short of the spring. And I find myself here, just a month away from the spring, a month away from his birthday, and as I experience my second winter without him, this song brings me to those feelings:

This is my winter song.
December never felt so wrong,
cause you’re not where you belong;
inside my arms.

But it also reminds me:

I still believe in summer days.
The seasons always change
and life will find a way.

Ill be your harvester of light
and send it out tonight
so we can start again.

On Luca’s birthday, we will be celebrating at our favorite beach, just before sunset. If you’d like to come, please reach out to us for more details.

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Colors

I am getting used to this life.

Living in a shade of gray, instead of the entire color spectrum. Although sometimes there are moments of white, and when I really work at it, a hint of life in color.

I have an understanding, and know that as time passes, the depth of that understanding will become so great, that I’ll be able to live in the full spectrum.

But the gray- it adds depth, and it makes the images in my life, my movie, so much more beautiful. It gives me a greater understanding of what my own journey is about, and it forces me to try and understand and empathize for everyone else’s around me.

That part is not easy for me. It’s work I have to do.

Many times I do the work with music. I hear a song, and I identify the beauty and pain of the love and loss. I hear the soulfulness, the deep dark grays of the love and tears behind the lyrics. When I come upon a song that moves me like this, I often listen to it over and over again; identifying that love, that loss, and singing the lyrics, but mostly with the feeling of the emotion and tenderness, to Luca and to Gina.

So much of Luca’s birth playlist had these same songs on them. But there are new songs written or that I hear for the first time that I connect with, that I wish he was in my belly for him to hear them.

After our bereavement committee meeting last week, one of the nurses had recently gone to a palliative care conference, and brought up the idea of offering music therapy to loss families for when their child was with them for the first and maybe last time. I thought this was such a beautiful thought. If the child was known to have passed in utero, for that birth playlist, for all the music that child had listened to in its mother’s womb, to be played as its body entered the physical world.

For mothers like Gina and I, the music would have been playing and welcomed Luca as they unhooked him from the machines that were keeping him alive, and placed him in our arms to live for just a few minutes, before taking his last breath. That music would be his soundtrack. It was his soundtrack. I listened to those songs everyday and sang to him, or danced with him. Gina sang her songs to him through my belly button.

I sit here, at 3 in the morning, in this dark and quiet house, wishing I had thought of that.

I put on The Lumineer’s song, “Stubborn Love”, and I sing this song to myself in the car, at my desk, in the shower. I feel the intensity of the emotion in my chest. Tears fill my eyes, reminding me I’m alive.

It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all
The opposite of love’s indifference
So pay attention now, I’m standing on your porch screaming out
And I won’t leave until you come downstairs”

To listen to the entire song:

https://soundcloud.com/dannypatricklynch/the-lumineers-stubborn-love-1

I also sing  the songs that bring be tremendous hope,  that I think Luca puts on the radio station to remind me I’m alive and I’m going to make it. That after all this gray from the rain, they’ll be a rainbow of color once again, more radiant than anything I’ve ever experienced before.