Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Pocket Size Saint

I returned to work a month after I gave birth to Andrew. I went back with mixed emotions. Crawling out of bed and coping with the realities of my "new sense of normal" was like admitting to myself that I really could go on living without my youngest son. At the same time, it was also reassuring to know that I could put away my Mickey Mouse PJs and do something more than feel sorry for myself. It wasn't easy, that I knew for sure.

I work for a Catholic social service agency where people aren't afraid to talk about things like loss. So many of our volunteers consoled and hugged and cried with me those first few weeks back. I appreciated the love and took strength from it. It almost started to feel as if they were doing all the feeling for me. Surprisingly, I was okay with that; it offered me a bit of a reprieve.

About two weeks after I returned, a frantic young mother came through our front door. She was clutching a newborn dressed in a blue jumper. She had run out of baby formula the night before and WIC wasn't open. I found formula for her, held her baby while she put it in her diaper bag, and then proceeded to excuse myself and have a complete breakdown in another room.

God and I had it out at that moment. How was it fair that I, an employed married mother of three who was prepared to provide everything a little boy could need, had to lose my son? Why was that woman allowed to keep hers? Thinking back to that day, I'm not proud of how selfish and judgmental I was. One of the volunteers found me, knew what was going on, and held me for a while. Then she sweetly reminded me that I'm not the only person to ever lose a son.

St. Mary joined us for my oldest son's birthday... reminded me to cherish the moments I have with my children.
The next day I found a pocket-size statue of St. Mary in my pocket. I'm not entirely sure how she got there. The volunteer with the wise words wasn't in that day. Regardless, I've taken a lot of comfort in my pocket-size saint over the last few months. Occasionally I snap a photo of her when I'm particularly grateful for something. I plan to have Mary with me at all of my appointments and check-ups. With any lucky, she'll grant me peace and calm as we deal with the next 8 months.

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