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Losing a Child, Losing Yourself

Updated: Mar 13

Another year is underway, which means by the grace and strength of the Lord we made it through one of the darkest seasons yet again. From October through the holidays hasn’t and I can’t imagine will ever be easier for us to navigate. Year 3 of missing our Mazie girl has been so heavy. It feels as if we are right in the thick of grieving. This has taken me several days to pray and reflect through. As I sit here with final thoughts, it is now Fat Tuesday, the day many celebrate Mardi Gras in Louisiana. I remember vividly typing out a blog on that day 2 years ago, just after the first year of Mazie going to Heaven and also expecting with Gabby. No part of me felt like celebrating then or still do to this day. Update – it is now March but I think being stuck in grief has kept from me finalizing this blog. Grief is so very weird and it certainly hasn’t lessoned.



Adam and Mazie - Mardi Gras 2020


I think I shared this in the last blog but for those who may not have read it and to give a little insight again on this painful journey, I will summarize what this unimaginable tragedy has been like for us. I don’t know if this even helps but I just have realized at least for us, this has been completely unchartered territory. We have had friends who experienced this unimaginable loss but you can’t truly understand it unless you find yourself in the same devastating shoes. Child loss is really a completely different type of grief than any other. And again when it happens suddenly, it seems impossible to actually start grieving right away. We’ve suffered other difficult losses, including my grandparents and my best friend (Jessie Faith, Mazie’s Godmother) but when it’s your child, it truly takes the life out of you.



Myles & Latson - Thanksgiving 2020


For several months, we were in shock and in disbelief that Mazie wasn’t physically here. How could this happen? I still can’t believe it honestly. Each morning it felt as if we were reliving the same nightmare, waking up to what we hoped wasn’t reality. The house was so quiet. The schedule was so different. Our norm was no more. Our family felt incredibly incomplete (and still does and always will). At times, we felt numb. None of anything around us made sense anymore. Then we were paralyzed by the trauma, and with me the guilt imprisoned me. It literally kept me from venturing out much out of fear of hearing or seeing sirens, passing by the hospital, seeing little girls Mazie’s age and being asked about what happened or how we were doing if I may run into someone we knew. Fortunately, our family’s faith never wavered because God’s presence and strength has carried us through what I didn’t think I would survive. In the hospital, I will reference again that even Adam and my mom mentioned to the social worker they worried about that very thought. How does a parent go on without one of their babies? ONLY GOD.



Here’s the thing though. While I am still here standing and breathing, I still feel so lost and I may speak for Adam that he does too. A part of me went with Mazie, as if I have a foot on earth and in Heaven. I would think that’s how most bereaved parents feel. It takes so much out of you and it seems most often choose different paths to navigate this specific grief journey. One way to cope may be gravitating to anything that may bring temporary comfort to numb the pain. But of course it is never alleviated.  It’s not just grief but coupled with trauma, it’s a sucker punch most days that takes your breath and reason for living away. Or you hold on with all that you have to your faith, surrendering everything to the Lord and trust that we will discover purpose in the pain on our way to eternity to spend with our beloved children again.





Every child is such a beautiful blessing sent straight from God. Through them, as parents, He gives us a special calling. We have realized that by leaning on Him, during the darkest of days and on the ones that are a bit brighter, He illuminates that calling to honor Him and our angels. That helps us to keep going, to keep living and so do our other 3 blessings. So there’s that part of me that is filled with so much hope and joy while intertwined with my soul that feels so lost and grieves heavily for my baby girl.




Taking care of Gabby has limited my time to intentionally grieve like I honestly need to sometimes. It can be so healing and restorative to soak up every possible second with her. It’s also bittersweet watching her hit milestones Mazie never got to. Yet I miss having quiet time with Mazie to journal, write her letters or go on walks while "we talk" without feeling rushed. The other layer to grief right is the realization that those closest to us have moved on and don’t acknowledge Mazie or us grieving much anymore. So many showed up for us in the very beginning but now I can count on one hand the amount that reach out to us consistently. Child loss DOES NOT get easier. As with other grief that softens a little sooner, this is different. Losing a child goes against the natural order of life. They are supposed to outlive us. There are too many moments and memories that we miss out on.



St. John's Cathedral in Lafayette



All a bereaved parent wants is their child to be remembered. It doesn’t make us sad when you bring up Mazie. It comforts us to know someone else is thinking of her or sees something that reminds them of her. I am thankful for every person that does and for any opportunity to share about her. Our boys do too. It warms out hearts so much when they talk about Mazie, want to look at pictures or videos of her and draw pictures of her or a butterfly. They watch us so closely in everything we do, which is why it’s important that we do grieve out loud and in a healthy way. It is destructive to hold in our emotions and not feel as if it’s safe to talk about our grief or Mazie. They have learned that through counseling and so have we. Turning to the Lord helps us to see how we should do this and what NOT to turn to instead.


God entrusted us as Mazie’s parents and what a miraculous GIFT that is, SHE IS! As her parents, it’s up to us keep her memory and legacy alive. By doing so, she truly does live in us. I came across the neatest article that in fact, Mazie’s cells could very well still be a part of me. I’ll link it here: https://www.livescience.com/62930-why-mom-keeps-baby-cells.html




I mean how great is our God?! I love the thought that she is and will forever be a part of me both physically and spiritually. Her spirit is noticed and felt immensely in all that we do. We intentionally continue to include her in our every day and through traditions and holidays. They can be so hard so this helps to hold on to our memories of her, our joy and time together as a family (what matters most). It was so sweet and special at Christmas that many shared their favorite memories of her with us to put in her stocking and that we read out loud with our family that day.





Part of my healing is walking, praying and talking to my girl. We all see signs from her often like a cardinal or a butterfly when we’re outside. Another incredibly special moment was when our precious friends sent the most heartwarming pictures to us Christmas weekend. Two family friends of ours went together to visit Mazie (we were out of town) with their sweet kiddos (our boys' best friends) wearing their yellow Mazie shirts. This meant THE WORLD to us!!




As we embark on another year without our sweet girl, we ask that you help us to remember her too. I am choosing to focus on God’s faithfulness as we continue to ask Him to lead our next steps and how we can keep healing. He is the only way.


Recently, I was reminded of the story of David when he went to the cave of Adullam and gathered around him escaped prisoners, debtors and malcontents. He became a kind of Robin Hood. His family needed to be safe so they were delivered to the care of the king of Moab. David was warned by the prophet of Gad to leave the stronghold where he could be besieged. He went to the forest, scared that Saul would find him and take his life.


This was his prayer: "Be merciful to me, O God, ber merciful to me. For in Thee my soul takes refuge; In the shadow of Thy wings I will take refuge, Till the storms of destructions pass by." Psalms 57: 1-5

 




No matter what any of us may be suffering from or afraid of, we can take refuge in our Father (just like David). If you have read this, I hope you will be encouraged to run to the One who will never forsake you. He is the source of eternal peace, hope and strength and his love endures forever. If you are grieving, my prayer for you is that God envelops you with his comforting presence and reveals your very own purpose in the pain. If you know David’s story, he didn’t live a perfect life but God was faithful to him through His repentance and praise. He was chosen for a significant purpose (from shepherd to King) just as me and you. Maybe you feel as if you are all alone, like we do at times, and others have turned away. Turn towards God and He will give you all the love, peace, comfort you need that no other can provide.


We love you Mazie Leah!




 

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