I have a best friend named Larkin. We became great friends during her senior year and my junior year of high school. After she graduated we lost touch for a while but then I married a guy that went to the same church as her and her husband. For years we have talked or sent rather lengthy emails to each other on a daily basis. It is very rare for us to not talk to each other except when each of us are on vacation and even then we sneak in a phone call or two:) So it would only be right to say that her joy is my joy and her pain is my pain.
This past Monday my best friend was suppose to deliver her healthy baby boy. Plans had been made and the c-section had been on the books for months. Today, Friday, she would have been coming home with that healthy baby boy. Tonight she was suppose to have a sleepless night while she was up and down breastfeeding her little man but instead she will have a totally different kind of sleepless night.
What should have been....isn't! This past Monday instead of celebrating new life she is in the throws of grieving one month since she was delivered a devastating blow. It was the kind of blow that sucks the life right out of you and changes you FOREVER! At 35 1/2 weeks pregnant she was told that her baby had passed away. Two days earlier I had wrote this post about how I had felt like something was going to go wrong. Since this happened to her I haven't had this feeling again. I felt it coming before I knew it was there.
That day she called me from a room in her Dr.'s office. I still get chills when I think of her crying so hard that I was unsure that she had just told me that "He was gone". I was shocked, sad, devastated and taken right back to what that feels like. It is a feeling you can never forget! That awful moment when they tell you that the life inside of you isn't perfectly healthy like it should have been! That moment everything changes for the rest of your life!
The next day I was at the hospital with a pit in my stomach. I felt every single thing she went through that day. I felt like I was losing one of my own family members plus it took me right back to the day almost 5 years earlier when I had experienced my own loss. I was so blessed that she allowed me to see her son after he was born. There is only one way to describe him and that is absolutely PERFECT! He was so perfect. I cried for her. I cried for him. I cried for me. I will forever be thankful to her for letting me be a part of that moment and for allowing him to be a part of my life. I will never forget his face.
I watched as she held her little boy, Landon. I watched her in an out of body kind of way when she was taking her finger and following his face over and over and over again. I could feel it b/c I did the same thing. I think as moms it is a natural instinct to memorize our precious angels during that brief time that we can. I watched them bring her the very same things that were given to me after my own experience. I couldn't believe this was happening.
All those years ago when God brought Larkin in to my life he already knew that this day would come. As I have talked to her for hours and walked this walk with her, I have ached for my own son and for her son. While I have hurt, I have also felt some peace. I pray nightly that Larkin will find her peace in a much shorter amount of time than I found mine. Finding peace doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt but on that day my peace came in the form of "if this happened to me so that I could be there for her, I'm OK with that". For five years I have walked a very lonely road. Yes my husband has been there and others have been there (including Larkin) but for the first time in five years when I talk about a feeling that I remember having or may still have, someone knows exactly what I am talking about. Before she can complete a thought about how she feels, I can finish that thought for her b/c I know. I desperately wish that I was still walking my lonely road. I had gotten use to being there and was fine with it but now I have company.
Even though she has me, I'm not all she needs. She needs you to mention her son. She will probably cry when she talks about it but just remember that you didn't make her cry, the death of her son is doing that to her. She needs you to not be afraid of her. Yes she is fragile but she is already broken. I promise you that you can't break her anymore than she already is. She needs you to know that all because she looks OK doesn't mean she is. All because she laughs doesn't mean she isn't feeling the pain. All because life goes on for you doesn't mean it will ever fully go on for her ever again. She needs you to know that this is a process and she may be angry or she may be short with you but just remember that grief beats a person up from the inside out. Most importantly she needs you to love her, pray for her and remember that Landon was real. He was so real and so perfect in every way.
I wrote the above for anyone who knows someone that is going through this or has experienced something like this. My heart has never healed from losing my own son. It doesn't matter how far out I get from my own experience and my own raw emotions, something can take me right back to that moment in a heartbeat. This has definitely done that to me but that's OK. I'm OK! Everyday she will get up and beg for God's mercy while she grieves. Then one day she will wake up and praise God for giving her that mercy. I don't think you ever get over something like this but you do get use to it and learn how to cope with it. I am so very blessed to be this person in Larkin's life and I plan to carry her for as far as she lets me or needs me to because I know that getting over what should have been is virtually impossible!