Last week I finally went to get the massage that Brad gave me on Mother’s Day. For some reason I had been putting off going. I don’t know why...or at least I didn’t know until now.
As soon as I was getting settled, the masseuse asked me where I worked. I told her I had recently quit teaching and was now working on making Gathering Hope a nonprofit. She asked what we did and I told her it was for mothers who have suffered pregnancy or infant loss. She asked if I had lost a child and I told her I had and a little about Matthew. She then told me she was in a support group for parents who have lost children while sharing the story of the loss of her son. We talked about loss and the difficulties during the holidays...how the pain of loss is always with you, but eventually it gets easier to carry.
As we talked a little more she said, “You said his name is Matthew?”
“Where is he buried?”
I told her.
“Did he have a birthday recently?”
I told her he had in August. She then described the cemetery where Matthew is buried, but my brain still wasn’t going where she was leading me.
“Does he have blue flowers and a dinosaur on his grave?”
“My son is buried right by your son.”
<insert record scratching>
It suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks. Where our sons are buried is still pretty bare. There aren’t a many graves and definitely not a lot of babies. I remembered that I had sat at the graveyard this summer, staring past Matthew's tiny grave onto this baby‘s grave. He had been buried there within the past six months or so. I could tell that his grave had many visits and I imagined the tears cried there. I thought of his mama's pain. I could physically feel her pain. I got a piece of paper out of my car and I wrote this mom a note, folded it tightly and stuck it inside the flower vase on the tiny stone. I don’t even remember what I wrote, but a boldness had come over me and I wanted her to know she wasn’t alone. I went home and wrote a blog to her.
I just started blurting out the first things that came to my mind. “I wrote you a blog! I stuck a note in your vase! Did you get it? WHAT?!?” (She must think I am crazy, I thought to myself.)
She had gotten the note but the flowers she watered so often had washed away everything but my name. I guess between my name and Matthew's she had pieced it all together.
We were both in disbelief at the odds. She told me that they felt drawn to that spot because of Matthew and that her four-year-old son plays with the dinosaur when they visit. They talk about him at home. Knowing somebody else thinks about Matthew and says hi to him when they visit means so much.
When I got back to my car, I called Peyton and told her the story. She said, “You got her name right?”
Of course I hadn't. I gave her my website so she could read my blog and Gathering Hope’s website, but no, I never got her name.
I went back and read what I had written to her. Basically every question I brought up in that blog post written last July was answered in this short conversation with this stranger who shared so much more than a Sucky Sisterhood with me. She shared a place of grief with me. We stood on the exact same ground and cried for our sons. We looked at the same building, saw the same people and were shaded by the same tree as our hearts broke for our boys.
No, I didn't get her name, but I’m pretty sure the story isn’t over.