Many times I've gone back and forth in my mind about whether to continue writing this blog, and after deciding a few months ago that in fact I would, it would just be a matter of time before I did. They say that time heals all wounds, but I very much doubt that to be true. In fact, if a wound is as deep as losing your child, I don't know that it will ever really heal...except maybe through Christ, somehow, someday...and maybe not even here on earth.
Lucia's story doesn't just end with a shattered heart, as the title of my very last blog put it. For anyone that has lost a precious person in their lives, you can empathize very well however that our hearts do continue to ache for our sweet Lulu. There is not a single day that goes by that we don't sing the praises of her name, kiss her pictures and painfully long for her presence. Part of us feels that our family will always be missing a very special member...and we will be (and are) reminded of this through family pictures, Christmas cards, big family gatherings, children born in the same year as Lucia....and much more.
There are some things, though, that will never ever change. She will always be our daughter, she will always be our first-born, always the older sister to her future siblings (God willing) and she will ALWAYS be spoken of and spoken to. It has been SO important to us that Lucia is never ever forgotten by anyone who knew her. Some people, again in their sensitivity and kindness, are afraid to utter her name for fear that I may have some sort of emotional breakdown. While that may be possible (unfortunately I cannot guarantee that I can control my emotions), I would rather that people take that risk. I want to hear her name, I want to hear about how she may have affected someone's life, I want to hear all of the good things a mother loves to hear about her child. It still makes me SO proud.
Many times in the Orthodox Christian Church, things are done that we don't fully understand. One thing I finally do get (or at least I think I do) is why we chant "May Their Memory Be Eternal" at funeral and memorial services. It is for US who have lost our loved ones. We want the whole world to know how important they are and how IMMENSELY they have left their mark on our lives, and we hope, on as many people's lives as possible. If I could shout it, I would. "May her sweet memory be eternal. May Lucia never be forgotten for the rest of eternity!!" In some strange way, that is so incredibly comforting, and that is what the Church tries to give to us, I think - comfort.
I have always spoken and written of how sweet Lucia is (and by the way, I feel that I can speak about her in the present tense because she is alive, with Christ and in Christ). Before she left for her Heavenly Home, she left us with a parting gift...that of a little baby brother or sister. Of course it is all too familiar that "every good and perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father," but Lucia had so much to do with this particular gift. I believe that she was so close to God (and is now even more perhaps) and that before she left, she wanted to make sure that we could have joy in our house again, so she asked God to give us a gift from her and Him. When I think about the sacrifice involved in that prayer that I am convicted she did in fact pray, my heart is torn to pieces. Maybe I should explain that one a bit further. From a mother's eyes, or actually, just my eyes as Lucia's mom: she came, she suffered and when it was all said and done, she was still thinking about us and praying for our family to grow.
Sometimes, it is hard to accept the gift of this new child that has been given to us. It is as if accepting this new baby is somehow a betrayal of Lucia. But we all know that that is not how gift-giving etiquette works - I don't betray her by accepting the gift that she gave to me. In fact, I believe that Lucia and her baby brother or sister are somehow connected in a very deep way that I cannot even begin to explain or understand. I am just now, at 4 months of pregnancy, beginning to feel thankfulness to God, knowing that He, in His divine love is taking care of us and providing for our every need -- including the "need" to cradle a baby once again. And so, we find ourselves with feelings of two different extremes - joy and excitement for a new baby, but still also sadness and grief that Lucia is not with us here on earth.
We humbly ask, as we have done many times in the past, for your prayers. Thank you for reading and for allowing me to continue to share Lucia's life with you.
A beautiful picture for old times sake...