Tuesday, August 25, 2015


If you had told me seven years ago that I would survive the events of the following week, I would have told you that I would not.

Which is true, in some ways.  That girl is gone.  She disappeared late one night in Chicago, hours before she even knew it.

Because our minds no longer work as they did before, it took me seven years ~ seven! ~ to register the proximity of the coming and going days of the children of the four women, me included, who met online soon after our children died, and shared much of those first tender years together.  Two birthdays in the past couple of weeks.  Another loss anniversary in the next few days.  And then, the day Josh was born, followed by the day he died.  I am inundated ~ not unhappily ~ by words and pictures from heroic women, women still moving forward.  Seven and eight years later.

I could not tell you how we do that.

It seems to me that at seven years, I might have words of wisdom to share. 

I am grateful, so grateful, to be his mother. 

I am not grateful that he is unable to live out his life, that the world does not enjoy his many gifts, and that I no longer share his company.   I am, by turn and all at once, horrified, bereft, angered, heartbroken, baffled, lost.
I can hardly stand it, actually.  Perhaps that is the wisdom I have to offer: You wouldn't believe how far you can continue to walk when you can't stand it.  How brave you can be.
One of my FB friends, who lost her son to suicide only two years ago, posted this song last year.  A vampire wedding song?  There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio . . .   .  A thousand years, and a thousand more.


  1. Robin, love the picture. Josh is such a beautiful child. What do you remember about when the picture was taken? If you choose, tell us a story of Josh.

    Holding you and your friends.

  2. That picture was taken at Chautauqua, just before he and his brother turned one. He climbed the stairs for the first time in our vacation cottage that week. Thank you for asking. My niece sent me that picture for Christmas last year.

  3. Your delight in being mother to that beautiful boy (and the other two, as well) shows in every picture, every comment, and in every reflective anniversary post. It is amazing that a mother can go on after heart wrenching loss. COURAGE. Hope. Trust. Love for our others. Maybe these make it possible. Maybe it's just a miracle. A miracle that you are still standing, still breathing, still serving, still loving. The wisdom you share is the life you continue to live despite all. You are made of strong fireproof gold. Love to you and our precious foursome that share this annual season of grief and live to tell about it. Your words always give me strength.

  4. I saw this on Jan Richardson's FB page the other day...

    People sometimes ask me if it gets better. I have wondered this myself. The question always reminds me of something my brilliant friend Brenda said one day as we sat in my studio a few months after Gary died. “It’s not that the grief goes away,” she told me, “but you will learn how to weave Gary's memory into your life in a new way.” The truth of her words immediately resonated in my bones, even as I knew that it would take a long time for me to live into those words.
    I never think of what I am doing as “making progress” or “moving on.” The labyrinth of grief is not so linear as that. Still, I am slowly living into the truth of what Brenda said. Maybe it’s not so much that the grief gets better, but that I am getting better at it as I become more adept at listening to the grief and living into the awful and graced invitations it offers. I am weaving – and painting and writing and praying – Gary’s memory into a life that I didn’t expect to look like this. And I am grateful beyond measure for what abides, what endures.