I have always known death. From the tender age of ten when I lost my father unexpectedly to the next decade when I would have to watch dear friends and loved ones slip away. Death and I are like old friends. Lengths of time between the songs, but the dance is still the same. There are so many days that I wish I didn’t know the steps so well.
Years after my father passed away, my mother recalled a conversation she had with him while he was still alive. As most married couples do, they were discussing a hypothetical situation wherein my mother made the comment that losing a child would probably be much harder than losing a spouse. A year or so later my father died. The irony was cruel and I know my mother at the time wished she could rewind, but it wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I understood what she had said. And I have always been the first one to say that, while I survived losing a parent, I don’t think I could survive losing one of my own.
For three years I have watched as this mother has mourned the loss of two of her babies. For three years I have watched as she, alongside her husband and three beautiful children, honors these babies in the most tender and quietest of ways. Baby Jack was born at 18 1/2 weeks and Baby Piper was born at almost 20 weeks. Both babies shared the exact same due date of May 28th. Exactly two years apart from each other. And it is on May 28th every year that I share the most tender and raw moments with this family. On May 28th I am reminded of the power of a mother’s heart and the bond that no words could ever describe, no earthly element could possibly break and that time cannot steal from.
To watch her is to watch a heavenly amount of grace and strength. One that I am certain comes from the deepest depths of her soul and from a place that not even she could probably ever explain. She greets everyday with worn breaths and dampened eyes while leading the three children she has here with her by her side. Worlds apart from two, but hand in hand with her babies as she puts one foot in front of the other, creating her own steps to the music. All while holding tight to an invisible bond and bearing the heart that holds it…