Yesterday I served my first family from my foundation L💙ve From Logan. It was beautiful and equally sad. To be acknowledged on the back of the families funeral program was very touching. I can’t tell you how powerful that feels.
I was first contacted by this family last weekend. I won’t go into details about their circumstances out of respect for their family. I spent the majority of this week fretting over this family. I spent all day Friday running errands trying to collect the items people were lending us and purchasing the rest. The family hadn’t given us much direction, and that made me even more anxious. There was pressure to serve them successfully. To do right by their little family and not offend them. I purchased their photo album for them praying it was okay and to my relief the mom loved it.
The past several weeks I have been pretty emotional when it comes to everyday things with Logan. Things that have not bothered my in many months. Tac on the frequent panic attacks that have progressively gotten worse. As you can imagine there was a lot of hype around this funeral. It was our very first one for my foundation. We literally just launched a week and a half ago. It was sink or swim time. And it was the first funeral I’d been to since losing Logan. Friends and family gathered around me with concerns of how I was handling it all. And to be quite honest, I don’t think I really knew how I was handling it all. I’m a task oriented person, and this was a task I was given. To serve God through serving this family. And I wasn’t going to let either one of them down.
On Friday, one of my stops was to Babies R Us, which I have not been to since I returned all of Logan’s things before he was born. I found myself at the corner of Anna and Maple at the stoplight. Many of you know, it’s the entrance into the Towne West Mall. As I sat there, in the middle of a panic attack, I was staring at the trees that lined the entrance. You know, the kind of bored gaze you do when you aren’t really looking at something, you’re just zoning out? Yeah that. The longer I gazed at these trees, I slowly started to see shape to the first one. I quietly thought that kinda looks like a heart, huh that’s cool. The seconds ticked by, and with more effort and hype I thought, ‘That looks like a heart!’ And I immediately thought of Logan, and as I did, I heard ‘Mom, you got this.’ and it was with this smirky kind of tone. And in a matter of probably 2 minutes at the stoplight, I had gotten a shove from God through my sweet Logan to keep pressing forward. It was what I needed to hear to know that what I was doing would glorify God and bless this family in a deep rooted time of need.
Saturday morning I woke up, made myself go to the gym thinking it would help destress my exhausted panic driven mind and body. It didn’t. I came home and scrambled to get ready to attend the burial of their precious baby. As I stood there applying my makeup, my husband and I were discussing his grandfather who happens to be buried in the same cemetery, and how we hadn’t been there since his funeral almost 3 years ago. He made an innocent comment about something that I can’t even remember, but it hit my panic button and triggered the tear canals. I had been fighting the overwhelming nag to cry the past few days and I was determined not to be broken. Not on this day. This day was not about me.
As I got in my car and began driving through my subdivision, I could feel that nag again. I shut my radio off and very strongly had an out loud conversation with God on my way to the cemetery. I told him in quite a bossy voice, that today was not about me, and that I would not cry. And that I needed him to shoulder that for me. That he would give me the strength to push through, to be strong for them. For him to put the focus on them. He didn’t fully apply what I had bossingly asked for. During their cemetery service, I stood in the back while my volunteer photographer took pictures. I listened to their pastor give his speech. The honest sincere pain in his voice and the evidence in his eyes. My heart cracked a little. When the grounds keeper came to lay their sweet boy to rest, I was caught off guard in the manner in which they do it. Once again, out of respect for the family I won’t go into details. But this, this order, split my heart open enough to let the wretched tears out. I was taken back for a moment when I had to leave Logan. Each time I left him at the funeral home was hard. I could feel the pain of leaving him there in the cemetery, and he wasn’t my son. Afterwards, I assured them, that would be the hardest part of the day.
There was a moment in the cemetery, as I listened to the Pastor and I looked around at the family, that I felt pure innocent joy. It was such an easy yet hard feeling to have. In such a time of grief, here I felt joy, even in the midst of my grief being dredged up. The only way I know to explain it, is that it was God telling me, well done. I call it pure and innocent because it wasn’t joy for myself, but joy for the simple fact that I had done something in Logan’s memory for the love of God. I had sacrificed myself to serve this family to praise God. To share the love and comfort God had given me during my difficult time with Logan. I was dumbfounded; how could you have joy and grief at the same time. I’ve learned many times over the last 8 months, that these two, however different they are, go hand in hand. Kind of like ice cream and birthday cake, cookies and milk, or whatever your vice is.
The funeral went beautifully. I always thought I could write pretty decent. But this momma could write! The service and their commitment to God were very beautiful.
I was blessed to have two photographers volunteer their talents for this funeral. Several people lended supplies to help with decorations. Two of the people on my team helped me setup, one stayed through the whole service to serve where needed and helped me pack up. I got to spend a little quiet time with the mom, discussing grief. Several times today I have played back our conversation and thought of so much I could have said to her. Knowing that I cannot change yesterday, I pray that I gave her what she needed, and if she feels the need, that she will know that I am here to help in anyway I can.
I’ve learned a few things in the past couple of days. God gives us different paths. I know several mothers who have lost children. Some similar and some very different. But we travel a different road, sometimes that road joins together, kind of how 96 converges with 235, but then they separate again, 235 to I35 North or 235 to 254 or 235 to I35 South. We join for a short time, and then our journey takes us elsewhere until we meet again. I believe that us loss moms have a common unity, but that our journeys are different. I know that if I needed to call any of these women and talk, I could. Even if I have only met them in person once, and talked to them twice over the phone. I know our conversation can be as deep as I want or need it to be. There is a barrier that is forever taken down because of what we’ve been through. With that said, I’ve learned that I will most likely face families who will do things very different from what I think is right, but it’s not what I think that’s important. My job is to serve these families in a Christ-like manner.
I think my panic attacks may have subsided, at least for today. Oh wait, just kidding, here comes one now. My emotion is still there, fighting to break the surface. I continually hammer it back down thinking it will just give up. I know the longer I push it down, the bigger and harder it will break through. Like a volcano that spends years bubbling under the surface just to break through with tremendous force.