The month of October has all kinds of triggers for me. It is plastered with pink to raise awareness for breast cancer. As if I need awareness of that? The hole next to my dad where my mom should be is because of breast cancer. I don’t need awareness, I need my mama back. But that’s not how this broken world works. Death is final. At least for us who miss our loved ones. But it is. It is the final moment of your presence on this earth. Those last moments before you enter (hopefully) glory. It stings your loved ones. It can also terrify the person taking those last breaths. - completely unrelated, I often wonder what my sweet mama was thinking as she took those final labored breaths. Was she sad to be leaving us? Was she excited to be meeting her Savior? Was Jesus holding her hand along with the 5 of us? -

Another function of October is that it is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. A month, that if you asked any person on this planet, would likely be unanimously the most awful thing to need to be aware of. But it does. Because too often parents who have lost pregnancies are left to mourn in silence; expected to snap back to real life as if a child, their child, never existed. And too often parents whose living child died, for whatever reason, are expected to be strong for {insert anything here}. And then you have the parents who had fully grown babies who never met their parents alive. They died in the womb, the place that is meant to keep them safe, but instead failed. What do each of these parents have? When do they move on and forward and out of this grief and mourning over the child that was given to them and taken away too soon?  They have God. And if they don’t have God, I hope someone tells them about God. Because as one of those parents, I don’t know that I would have been able to get out of bed each morning. I don’t know that I could’ve been strong for Audrey. Or continued living in marriage with Adam. I don’t think I would have even been able to eat/sleep/think/talk/etc if it weren’t for God. Because there was no sense to be made of George Mason’s death. There was no rational explanation or for-the-better kind of thinking that could have or would have ever made that loss ok.

So it’s October. And while most people are hanging spider webs, gathering costumes, and indulging in pumpkin everything, there are people out there hurting. Hurting because of breast cancer or the loss of a child. Or hurting for any number of reasons. Since George Mason died, I have tried to remember that. I feel like there was a part of me, before we lost our mom and then our son, that forgot that bad things happened to good people. That God’s people still suffered. But then I was hit by a 2x4 and remembered Job. And Jesus. And everyone in between. God doesn’t promise us easy lives. He does promise that He will be there through all of it. Good. Bad. Ugly. Awful. So as I approach people, I try to remind myself that they may be hurting just the same as I am. I am not adorned in black or frail from lack of eating. I’m not sobbing my way through every day - though some days just require tears - and I’m not stuck in bed or sweats, or whatever else might be an outward sign that something was broken. And just as I’m not obviously experiencing the brokenness of this world, there are so many in the exact same place. Breast cancer. Infant death. Homelessness. Broken relationships. Infidelity. Abuse. The list is too big to actually list. So on days where I see a pink ribbon and miss my mama a little more, or days where George’s absence in our home is remembered a little more obviously, I’m actually thankful for those pink or purple ribbons. Because it reminds me to love a little deeper, both those close and those that are strangers. And because it points me in the direction of my good Father where I can find rest from the burdens of grief, refuge from the pains of loss, and strength to face the day and love those in my path.

Tomorrow is the Wave Of Light. Where you light a candle at 7pm for the child(ren) you’ve lost. I hope that if you’ve lost a child, at any stage, that you will light that candle.  But also that you will share that child and your loss journey with others. Because I want to share that burden with you. I want to talk about my son with you. I want to talk about your child with you. I want to hug you when you’re having a terrible day. I want to celebrate with you when it’s your child’s day. And I want you to know that you’re not alone and your child or children are missed. With a vengeance. I want to pass along the strength that my Father has given me to get out of bed everyday, and I want to love you fiercely as we imagine what it will be like when we are reunited with our babies.