“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.” - C.S. Lewis
How true these words are. Physical pain is something that can be treated. It seems there can be a fix or a remedy for what ails one or a treatment plan can be put in place. If one has a broken bone, surgery or a cast is usually the next step.
But what about a broken heart? There is nothing that is guaranteed to work. There is no prescription. There is no over the counter medicine. Not even an old wives' tale that will cure this ailment and sometimes the symptoms can't even be expressed.
Last summer after July 4, I can remember feeling everything made me sick. To look at anything was nauseating. To set up and see the world going on around me was terrifying. Loneliness filled my days and fear stole my sleep. There were times I wouldn't even want Noah's name said or any reference to him. Just the slightest memory of him overwhelmed me. And the future. What future? I couldn't even fathom a future. It was literally, at times, hour by hour, even minute by minute. "I feel like I am the sickest I have ever been and nothing in the medicine cabinet will help me" are words I recently found scribbled in a journal from last summer.
14 months later and I find myself still with that exact same feeling. It truly is like an amputation. I will never not feel like something is missing.
Because something is. Someone is.
All this love I have for him just didn't go away on July 4, 2012. His death didn't stop me from being his mom. The need to do something for him is still there. The desire to talk about him, the stories to share about him are as present now as they were July 3, 2012.
I've caught myself, a few times, reminiscing with others about Noah and his antics and realize I think I just told this story a few weeks ago. To others the stories will be the same ones over and over as the years go by.
To me, they are all I have.
His memory is what I hold onto to...I guess that's why I'm always reminding others he lived. Stories of how he was all boy. How he was so fun. And he was mine.
So....I look for ways I can do something, anything for him now, and I know it's not really him I am doing it for. It's for me. It's helps me deal. It helps me cope. It helps me heal.
Noah loved being outside. He would have rather been outside playing, biking or on the baseball field than anywhere else. He also took up gardening and landscaping those last few months. He was slowly learning to see and appreciate God's creative beauty around us.
Often he would surprise me with flowers and be so gentlemen-like when he presented them to me. Look at him in this picture. He has the best hair. He has the brownest eyes and had the tannest skin. Had/has. Which do I use. If only I could go back to this minute...this moment....
Actually being outside with him, watching him play, watching him work are some of the last memories I have with him.
A few weeks ago his headstone was installed. Finalizing it had been a long, emotion filled process that took so much energy, time, consideration and prayer. But it kept me occupied. It forced me many times to search for verses that, not only displayed his faith, but would sustain us in years to come and remind us of Noah's life and His promises.
But the mother in me still wants to be able to do something for him. So recently, as I sat looking at his and Nate's completed monuments, I felt a desire to beautify the earth surrounding the distinctive stones just as Noah had beautified the flower gardens in our backyard in the weeks before he was taken away.
So we cleaned...
And we shined...
And we (ok, they) prepared the ground.
And we mulched and planted...
And, in doing something that Noah had come to enjoy, we helped each other heal.
And there is still much to be done...luckily. :)