I joined a club.
Not voluntarily, no. There was a kicking and screaming. I remember some wailing and some sobbing. Some punching and gritted teeth.
It's an exclusive club, though not as exclusive as some would like to believe.
It's a club of women. Beautiful, faithful, selfless, and strong women. Women for whom getting out of bed some days is a testimony to their faith and strength. They are truly the most shining souls I've ever met, but they're so humble they don't even know it. I'd go so far as to say they mostly match the mold Proverbs 31 carves out. I am both honored and blessed to be considered their friend, though truthfully the reason I met some of them is far from a blessing. I'd rather have never had a reason to know them.
You see, this club is one no one in their right mind actually wants to join. The members don't want anyone else to join either, we pray and work passionately so that no one will ever have to again. Nevertheless, we are quick to offer a warm hug, a simple text, or box of resources when someone does find themselves in our heavy shoes.
There isn't a word for what we are, and that fact tells a story about the real tragedy that we live every day. We are mothers living after the death of our child. Living isn't really the right word though. Our lives have been shattered by an unnatural ordering of death, and we're continually putting pieces together again.
Some of us cry daily because there's no way to keep it from coming. Some of us don't cry at all because we're terrified we'll never be put together again if we allow ourselves to break.
Some of us shy from the inevitably difficult questions about children and and ages and such. No need to show a complete stranger even a tiny fraction of the pain we live with every day, ya know. Some of us bare our souls each time we're asked about our kids; it's a wonderful way to share the Gospel...but truth be told, I would give my last breath to never have had a reason to answer those difficult questions.
Some of us are doers and planners and fundraisers for the causes that are now branded on our hearts. Some of us do our best just to do and plan and care for ourselves on a daily basis.
Bereavement looks different on each mother it touches, but we also have similarities. We are all living for something this world can no longer give us. Our eyes have been opened to what a truly broken, hateful world we live in, and we are haunted by it. We want Jesus to come fix it in a way that couldn't have been fathomed before our deepest pain snatched our babies away. Homesickness for Heaven has hijacked our thoughts. Our own deaths no longer scare us, but the thought of Death coming for of any more of our children brings crippling anxiety.
When I look at pictures of Luke, I have an indescribable urge to reach into the picture and hold him. There are no words to describe how bad I want to put my hands on him and pick him up, I've tried. To feel that soft, strawberry fuzz on his head. To smell that sweet baby smell that I'm so terrified that I'll forget. I read another mother write about the pain of knowing her baby was just a few feet below her in a grave, and all she could think about was how much she wanted to reach out and touch her fingers.
I don't know why I'm writing this really. I just felt like you should know the beauty that lies in all of the women I have come to love in the past seven months. And as fervently as we pray for them to be spared that pain, more mothers are added to this "club" every. single. day.
When Luke went to heaven, grieving mothers of all kinds reached out to me. They jumped through hoops to get my number just so they could send a text to let me know they're there. They took a break from their grief to help me carry some of mine. They traveled miles upon miles to sit with me, fully aware that I may not even speak during the visit. They showed up because they knew that that's what is needed most.
Anyway, I just thought you ought to know about them. About us. About this club.