Sunday, April 10, 2011


This weekend I went to a retreat.  It was the same one that I attended last year (as the speaker) with Vincent tagging along.  This year I didn't do anything, I just hung out, got many hugs and ate way too much chocolate. Yes, men, that is what us ladies do at retreats!!  (Plus prayer, journaling, listening, and worship, can't forget those!)

When I walked into the beautiful room where we were staying (I was with a friend who's lost 3 of her children!) I had a huge flashback of walking into my room last year with Vincent.

Except he's not here anymore.

I know some bereaved parents find ways of feeling close to their deceased children.  Lighting candles, going to places their child liked to frequent, keeping objects that remind them of their child near... I've done all of this, and really, nothing greatly lessens the pain of loss, nothing makes me really feel close to him.

Vincent loved the beach, loved being near the waves, loved having his bare feet sink into the sand.  But when I visit the beach now, when I was there this weekend for the retreat, all I can feel is the deep hole of loss, the black feeling of permanence and overwhelming devastation.  I don't feel closer to him.

But I still go to the beach, simply because Vincent loved it.

So I still try to do things Vincent loved to do, go to places he loved, snuggle in his quilt, and wear his fingerprint necklace (which I've lost again!  Oh grief, how I hate what you've done to my mind!!).  But doing all that merely helps me survive.  I don't feel much closer to him as a result of all those actions.  In fact, most days I feel far from him indeed.

Even if Vincent were to visit me here on earth for a quick hug, even if an angel were taking him for a field trip to our home, I wouldn't want him to see me in such a messy, angry, destitute state.  I'm his mother, for crying out loud. I should be taking care of him, not bursting at the seams as he watches from a distance.

So somehow I need to pull myself together.  (eventually!)

And on that glorious day when I do see him again I want him to be proud of me, of what I've done with his memory, of how I invested and cultivated the fruit of our grief... I watched him come into the world, grow, explore, develop, thrive, struggle for life, then slowly die.  And throughout all his pain, chemo treatments and medical emergencies Vincent radiated a great presence of spirit, a great generosity of heart.  He didn't give up easily.  In the end he kept on fighting for eleven days without a feeding tube or IV fluids. We thought he had 48 hours.  He surprised us all.

It's very humbling to live in the shadow of your child.  Perhaps, like Vincent, I won't easily give up while undertaking this journey of pain.  That's the best I can hope for.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you were able to get away a bit this weekend. I'm sure the memories of your time there with Vincent were very fresh in your mind.

Is. 61:1 - remember He binds the brokenhearted...and He is doing the binding in's a process and it takes don't be down on yourself during the process.

Vincent was a little fighter! and I would guess that came from his parents...keep on keeping by day...hour by hour...minute by minute. (((HUGS)))

Deanna said...

Hugs! I'm so sorry about sweet Vincent. Praying for you!

Kimberley said...

So, so sorry Rebecca.....Trust that the God of all comfort will do exceedingly, abundantly above all that you can ask or think. Love you!!! Praying for you and trusting that the God of All Comfort will wrap His Loving arms around you, and whisper what you need to hear into your ear. That you would hear His heart beat and know Him in a new way...

Anonymous said...

I think Vinnie is proud of you as he sees you struggle. You are NOT content to go quietly into that dark night; you are not content to accept this fallen world. You battle because it is NOT as it should, and was meant to be!
In his book "Heaven," Randy Alcorn talks about those who have died praying in heaven for us on Earth. I'm sure Vinnie prays for you, and that he admires you and Dan as you struggle and grieve and live your life.
You don't live in his shadow, you in the light of love, both God's and Vincent's.

Much love and many prayers,