I've found myself thinking about a conversation that I had with my therapist (we might as well let that little secret out of the bag....yes, I have been seeing a therapist since shortly after we lost Jackson) about the fact that I hadn't been able to enjoy this pregnancy as much because I really hadn't had time to deal with my grieving of losing a child coupled with a very scary and eventful pregnancy with my oldest living child that resulted in a 65 day stay in the NICU, after 3 long weeks of me being there myself. Clearly, I have a good relationship with my therapist, 4 years and a lot of money later, but she and I are oddly very different when it comes to spirituality. Although, she has encouraged me in my faith walk just as much as some of my best theologically astute friends has. (Imagine that...we can learn things from people we don't get agree with? Another blog...another time...). Anyways, on this occasion she was encouraging me to put Jackson "to rest." That maybe it was time for me to focus on my living children more. She was in no way telling me to forget about him or act as if he hadn't existed, but rather find the closure I was looking for. And it's important for that to occur, we can't just dwell in misery or in an unhealthy spot of grief, I did really need closure. She was worried that my children might have a "ghost brother" in whom we would idolize to some degree. Again, I saw her wisdom and understood where she was coming from. And for awhile I really focused on that. We finally got a name plate put on Jackson's niche a few days before our youngest living son was born. I put away a few of Jackson's memorabilia and I embraced welcoming our new son home at 38 weeks.
But I soon realized that there was a piece of the puzzle that my therapist didn't have, because of her differing spirituality. I went back to my middle school religion classes where I taught my students about the communion of saints. As Catholics, we believe in the idea that there is communication, prayer, and love between all those in heaven, in purgatory, and on earth. These 3 places don't function as separate places, rather we are all apart of a loving and prayerful community supporting one another. Two of my children may no longer be living here on this earth, but they are definitely alive and can continue to be apart of my family's lives. My living children look upon their brother's photos each day as they pass by playing trucks or watching TV. Jackson and Benjamin's names will always be remembered and spoken aloud. My children will always know they can ask their brothers to pray for them at any time. Their relationships can live on until one day we are all reunited in heaven. We don't dwell on the topic, or even talk about them every day or even week, but I find great consolation in knowing that all of my children can continue to be there for each other, to have a relationship (albeit much different than an early relationship), and when they reunite one day they'll know each other's love from years of being brothers.
|This picture hangs in one of my boy's rooms and always reminds me that their brothers are never far away.|
My friends, there is such beauty in that. There is such consolation in my heart because of this, knowing that they will all know each other in a way only God could've designed. I don't know how I would survive if I didn't believe in the after life. If my family couldn't one day be reunited in our heavenly court. And so I'm able to wait a little longer with a greater hope knowing not only what awaits me in heaven, but who.