While going through old photos I found one of myself from several years ago.
I saw the familiar outward smile for the experience of the moment, but it was the inward sadness spilling from my eyes that colored the photo with memories.
I can read people well and always sense sadness by their eyes and in their smile. I naively thought I was gifted in covering my own inner feelings from others.
This photo, this smile was all too clear to me. My face was the cover of a book that held the story of a mother's despair. My smile forced, my face swollen from the pressure of holding grief.
The photo, taken two years after my son passed was validation of the wear my pain had caused. The physical reaction to heart break.
I have searched the photo for days, re-feeling the moments after his passing....from the phone call until now years later. I've tried to grasp the transition of feelings over time.
I have become a Burial Ground.
We all have endured the loss of a loved one. I have experienced many, so I say this from understanding and comparison. A mother’s grief for a child is different. We accept the gift of creating a life within our bodies, nurturing that life and bringing it forward to re-gift to the world.
We endure the shock, the pain, and the irreversible moment of having that life ripped from us. We are mothers willing to carry any weight we must in protection and honor of our child. We plan the service, pick the flowers and stand over a casket. We remember the smell of the soft spot on the back of their neck and the smell of the funeral home.
For many, the burial ground is a memory of freshly piled dirt that covers our child in a brown dust of isolation. Over time grass will become the green blanket that forms a backdrop for repeated splashes of colorful flowers, creating moments of beauty, while the pain remains very alive buried underneath.
In the same way our mother bodies become a burial ground.
For years the pain shows on our faces. Slowly we learn how to live in a new way. Even as more time passes, as the smiles become more genuine, the eyes will always be the lenses into our eternal pain.
Our outward lives experience splashes of joy and moments of happiness, while our hearts never recover from the pain buried inside. Hidden beneath, our child is held tightly protected in our broken hearts. We become a living, walking, breathing burial ground guarding the life that will forever remain cradled inside of us.
I scanned through more and more photos of myself and watched as the swelling receded from my face. The smile began to sparkle. Joy returned.
Looking deeply though, I see it, the way I have always seen it in other grieving moms. I see it in myself. Concentrating on my eyes I realize they have become my determined gatekeepers for my internal burial ground.
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Pennie's Life Lesson:
“When you look deeply into eyes,
you will see the pain of the past.”
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My intent in sharing this with you is to encourage you to notice the pain carried secretly inside....in you and in others.
Share your thoughts and experiences relating to this post in a comment below .
And please feel free to email me at:
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10/21/2016 09:54:28 pm
Thank you for sharing. My son, Cody, would have been 28 years old tomorrow. He is number 99 on the map. I'm emailing you to thank you for sharing your story-not to add to your burden. After a few rough moments today-I have made myself focus on ALL of the POSITIVES Cody and I shared-which were similar to what you shared about you and your son. God Bless
Christa, Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I know how hard these days are. I will look up Cody on the map and be thinking of you and him today. We are so lucky that we got to be the mom's of our sweet boys. No one else can say that. Such a special gift we were given. The power of love is so very strong that we will always be bound to them through our love. Many blessings to you and your sweet Cody....and happy celebration of his creation day! Much love to you! - Pennie
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