Connor Reed Heaton died 12/12/09. He is survived by his grieving parents Kelly Reed and Kent Heaton. He was created for a purpose and he completed his mission so quickly and with such grace, God let him come home early. What that mission was I am not privileged to know. Perhaps one day Little C will whisper in my ear "This is why Granny" Until that day, my faith will carry me.
His mother however, is beyond grief stricken. I urge anyone, hearing of Kelly's loss, not to say the following: "It's for the best", "It's nature’s way", "At least you can still have more". Kelly is grieving the death of her son. Her son is as real to her as any child is to their mother. The fact that he was pre-born does not change the depth of the pain. Go up to a mother who has just lost their 5 year old, 20 year old or 46 year old child and say those same things. Do not trivialize her grief. She has to mourn the loss without having something to hold onto. She has no body to burry. They took her son from her in more ways than one. She is left with guilt, grief, pain beyond definition and people around her saying "it's for the best". They may as well say "Hey, he wasn't real, get over it".
I know from personal experience. I lost my son in 1992. I was not quite 6 months pregnant. He too had a fetal anomaly. He was created with an extra chromosome 27. One day I'm happily planning how we are going to squeeze 3 kids into a 750 square foot apartment, the next they were telling me they could not find his heartbeat. They did not call it a birth, they called it a D & C. They did not give me his body but instead did unthinkable tests "to determine the cause". Nearly 20 years later and I still feel the loss. When I let it, the grief and pain can consume me, just like it did that day. I never knew why and until recently did not have faith. Now, I can take some comfort and find some closure. Perhaps my son was taken so that I could help Kelly though the loss of her son. Perhaps not. What I know is that there was a reason. What I believe is that my son was there to welcome his nephew. They are both in the arms of angles and in THAT I can find gratitude.
My daughter is an atheist. I cannot help her find comfort in faith. I must respect her beliefs and leave mine at home. I did all I can do. I held her and told her what happened was not OK or for the best. When she cried "That was my son" I stroked her hair and cried with her. I told her of the changes her body would go through, of how the hormone fluctuation may cause her bipolar to go into hyper drive and cautioned her to keep Kent close and keep in contact with someone, anyone. I had JUST bought Connor a pair of high-top infant sneakers. The cutest brown and blue little things you've ever seen. I told her "These are Connor's shoes. They are tangible. Something you can hold onto. They say he was here, he was wanted and he was loved by us all. Do whatever you want with them. Burn them, yell at them, get angry with them, burry them, love them. Whatever you need to." She GOT it. I was so scared that I was just causing her more pain but she hugged my neck, cried and whispered "thank you Momma". THAT I can be grateful for.
In the last week my daughter has lost her dream car, her job and her son and she is still standing. She is strong and she is brave and she will survive. I'm scared for my child. She is the most volatile of us all but this is not the same woman she was 3 years ago. She may flounder, she may even fall, but she will rise from the ashes. She IS my redbird. And for THAT I can be grateful.
Today I'm grateful for:
my daughters grace.
Jackson's health and safety. I hope he remembers his cousin. They were connected by fate in conception. Perhaps Connor is destined to be Jackson's guardian angel. I like the way that feels. Perhaps someday, when Kelly heals, I'll mention it to her. I think it will make her happy.
my mom. She is MY rock and comfort. Everyone underestimates her but I know. She was with me that day in 92. I would have crawled into a hole where it not for her. I only hope I can help Kelly as much as she helped me.
Lisa. I know her heart is good even if she has trouble with impulse control. I believe she knows Grandma was not out to "one up" her. She's just frustrated with the choices she's made and is lashing out. I trust her and grandma will forgive and forget. With time and DISTANCE
Great Grandma. She just wants to love and spoil her babies. There is no such thing as to much love and there is nothing wrong with 2 stockings. Hell, make it 3. One from Mommy, one from Great Grandma and one from Santa.
Hand me down Coach purses. Musette brought me in a chocolate brown, medium sized Coach Purse. "It's last years and I noticed your purse was dirty and ripped." SCORE!!!! This sucker is like brand new! It still has that new purse smell. In the face of epic grief, it's nice to find a little gratitude in the frivolous.
Hamsters. Their distraction is both welcomed and priceless. He reenacted "the rug looked at me funny" this morning but this morning the rug got even. It tripped him up and he fell over the edge of the transporter and face planted into his water bowl. With a shake of the head and a snort at the rug he gave me that "What are you laughing at" look. I laughed so hard I nearly fell off the stationary bike.
new smells. For the last..oh, I don't know...month perhaps? We've been walking into the office to new assaults on our noses. Each day the rancid smell was getting stronger and stronger. The boss has been struggling with sinus issues for weeks. Her Dr. telling her she is not sick and refusing antibiotics. Well, yesterday we discovered a basement we didn't know we had. In that basement was a foot of water. Seems it's been there a while. Oh, and this morning? The bosses husband (who came to bail out and clean up the basement) found a dead rat in the attic. It'd been there long enough to reach maggot stage. With gags and moans he runs this thing past MY desk! Gee, thanks. I think I'll go home now and take a mental health day. Now? Well all I can smell is the bleach from the fresh pressure washing and the 6 lbs of air fresheners we've been spraying. It seems this crap was just hiding in the dark places of the office waiting for the rat to be removed. I am awash in so many chemicals I bet I glow in the dark. Hmmmm could make for a fun evening.
What writing means to me. I won't say "good writing" because that's both subjective and I am not fit to judge. Writing is my outlet. It lets me go and go and go and rant and rail and work my way through it. I can dump it all onto the page and let it go. It is a cheap drug and better than any currently on the market for fixing what ails me. It's my "gift of the spirit" and one I am profoundly grateful for. Only took me 45 years to find it...
my little list. Compiling my list each day requires me to find SOMETHING to be grateful for, no matter how much I may not want to or how hard it may be. Today, it was particularly difficult. That being said, my little list has worked it's magic. It's done what it's intended to do. It's changed my perspective, it's made me grateful, it's reconnected me and it's filled me with enough surplus ink that I can carry on.