Vicky Bates from Facebook Wednesday
My heart is breaking tonight because my dear friend and mentor Sally Baldwin died in her sleep last night. I just spoke with her last week about our lives and the direction we were taking. We always laughed and made fun of any troubles we were going through. She connected me with my son Rocky which showed me the path I needed to take to help others on their journeys. She gave to everyone without hesitation and it’s ironic her heart gave out at 59. She was a blessed soul who worked with people who lost children and I feel so privileged to have shared my life with her doing mother’s retreats. It will take me a long time to process this tragedy but I know she was welcomed on the other side by many spirits who she connected with here helping us find the answers to our own losses. I will always love you Sally and will continue to live up to the faith you put in me.
Sally will always remain in our hearts.
As we move forward with our journeys of love and loss I wanted to let you know that I will be revamping my blog, losingachildfindingyourself.tumblr.com. When I return I hope to offer more frequent content, additional features and increased opportunity for interaction with my readers.
I hope we continue to help each other through open hearts and shared love.
If anyone wants to contact me on days when things get out of sync I would be honored to offer help or my humble advice.
I remember my first Mother’s day. I had waited many years to become a mother. At the time we lived near Laguna Beach, California and decided to have brunch at one of the trendy boutique restaurants. Wearing a newly purchased sundress I strolled along the beach with my husband pushing our up-to-date stroller with my adorable “Gapped-out” baby in it.
As we stood in line waiting for a table, Rocky began to whimper, slowly building to a cry that could have registered on the LA earthquake Richter scale. People started to turn around and twist in their sits. Why was he doing this to me? We finally gave up and left for home. As my son slept peacefully in his car seat, I stared out the window wondering why I couldn’t have the perfect mother’s day meal.
Life always has its moments, well-made plans turning inside out, but we continue to push our wills against even the worst odds. When you lose a child control evaporates but even while experiencing the worst loss we try to control and change some fraction of it to suit our desires. We go over and over our losses to make sense of what happened and how the situation could have turned out differently.
How many lessons and heartbreaks does one have to go through to give over to spirit and get out of the “why me”? I’m not saying we should give up and feel vacant, but we need to actively embrace our spirits and that of our children.
Trying to hold on to anything is an illusion. Although we live on this earth with a sense of permanence, families, houses, cars it’s not what matters, it’s an illusion. We need to have faith and trust that everything that happens is a part of our journey. Do we look to others and their lives and compare, wondering why it was our child and not theirs? Yes, we do.
Faith and trust are easy when life is good and going smoothly, but it’s not truly activated until we experience deep disappointment or worse yet, death. When we learn that this world and all of life is in constant motion, changing, adjusting, losing and gaining we will start to feel the grace of God and remember with fullness our children with the continual love they give everyday.
We need to turn our heavy, earth-bound desolation into a life lived in the flow of grace, up there with the higher vibration where our angels and our babies reside. When you work toward this goal you will find a beautiful quiet peace.
What name do you attach to a parent who loses a child? There are words like widow, widower and orphan but nothing for the parent.
If there were a proper name, something defined in the dictionary would it create an understanding of someone’s state of being?
Acknowledging what has changed and putting a name to it is such a minuscule step, but a step no less.
For many friends and family the thought of losing a child is too fearful to even think about, it becomes their worst nightmare, then one ordinary day you come and stand before them mirroring what could be as they say, a “there but for the grace of God” moment for them.
Seeing someone’s loss causes us to reflect on our own children’s lives.
People are interested in stories of loss on TV and in the paper not because of morbid curiosity but because they are trying to understand how death affects others. Pictures reveal part of the story but words are needed in our lives to heal our hearts. Not having the words or a name to express our feelings to comfort someone keeps the tragedy held inside increasing our turmoil. We need words to console and be consoled. But, how do we find them?
The other day I met up with a mother that I have talked on and off with since her baby died a year ago. She had a difficult issue to face that week and said friends all said to her, “If there is anything I can do, just call me.”
I never really thought about that term until that moment. Friends mean well and I know their hearts break for us but what parent who has lost a child can really say what they need. Could anyone comprehend our true needs? Do we even? What language is available to express that inner turmoil? Could we say and more importantly, could friends understand us if we said, “I need you to step in my shoes and feel what I feel so that you can understand what I’m going through. Be the strong half of me who will cope and pick up the pieces so I can just have a few minutes of relief. And, if I need you in the early morning hours before dawn could you just miraculously appear to hold and rock me without a word exchanged?
This is why we need to turn to spirit. It is not always easy. How do you turn to something seemingly intangible when you have just seen your physical child disappear? Our souls understand the depths of our sorrow and are always there as we fall and crawl to an understanding of why this unimaginable death has happened.
It saddens me to think of any parent who can never see past the physical loss. We are all spiritual beings and these trials some small, some brutal bring us closer to our soul’s essence connecting with spirit and our children. At the start you will not see the blazing light of grace but hold the thought in your hearts that your child came here to experience life with you and that you are connected for all time.
Know that if you are single, married or have that invisible friend connected to you, it is a journey meant only for you to travel. You must be brave and trusting.
We must take all the love and kindness that is passed on to us and not hold on to it as if it were an anchor, but grab hold of it as if it were the mast gently guiding us over the rough waters until we can steady ourselves.
Babies come into our world and change us, not only with their presence, but also with their disappearance. How much we change with the mothering of our children and the loss of one.
I came late to parenting. We adopted in our early forties and after being a career person for many years, I thought that this motherhood stuff would be a snap. I was in the fashion business and as I lay in bed at night, I obsessed about black designer diaper bags and having people mill around me in the stores for a closer look at my beautiful baby. Never mind I had never even babysat.
Then one day we got a call that our baby was born and life really started to change. Rocky was constantly sick and cried all the time. He didn’t sleep through the night for two years. We were at a loss as to what to do. I had run a company, people listened to me, why wasn’t this tiny creature following suit? What was I doing wrong? As he got older, we started to see a relationship between allergies and asthma when certain foods or environmental elements were present. We never knew when an outburst would come. When he was in the throes of an attack he would scream, bite kids and look like Linda Blair in the Exorcist movie where her head spins round and round.
I had to become patient (not my strong trait), hone my humor to deflect stressful situations and learn to be really kind to others when I just wanted to run and hide. When I hadn’t slept through the night I still had to gear up and take care of our new younger son. Many nights were spent rushing down the LA freeways to the emergency room for asthma treatments and over-night stays. We didn’t have the computer information we have today and doctors did not understand the correlation of allergies and behavior. They thought I needed to learn how to parent. My husband and I were embarrassed often and beat ourselves up mentally wondering what we were doing wrong.
As our children got older we moved to the mountains; and, although we still had asthma issues, our son became better and we started to see a change. He was popular, funny and smart. Then one day two weeks into 5th grade he ate a cookie with a walnut in it and our life changed.
The onset of loss is a serious blow. How do you survive? It is through trial and misstep that we pick ourselves up and re-think our belief systems; one breath at a time, until we feel a spiritual connection with God and our child.
Our children are intertwined with our souls wanting to communicate with us. The journey was planned and does not stop because of their physical departure.
We must see with the inner eye that this journey, although unspeakable in the beginning, takes us to a higher level. It empowers us with an inner radiance of a supreme light, a quiet love that holds a secret. That secret will manifest itself in a transformed life filled with knowledge, wisdom and grace. We must be open to let this flow into us and fill the void left by our physical loss. The choice is up to each of us. What path will you take?