Yesterday, the sun was shining on our little family of three.
We invited our community to bring special rocks to help build the frame of Owen’s memorial garden, a place generously and lovingly gifted to our family. People from near and far joined us, in spirit and in person. We felt community. We felt supported. We felt loved. It was exhausting and emotionally-draining, but it was good. It was needed. It was also, in some sense, healing. The day was about our son. Our special little Owen Benjamin.
The building of the garden frame brought people together to create special memories for Owen. He has a pretty neat rock collection for such a young little fellow.
It proved a great opportunity to see people we have wanted to see, but after so many months, were not quite sure how, or if we had the energy to reach out ourselves. I am certain these people have the best intentions, the kindest hearts, but have not had the courage, or the knowledge, to know how to offer support to our grieving hearts.
Death is uncomfortable. It is sad. We are not taught how to grieve, nor is it really socially acceptable to do so openly. It is certainly not an ideal topic of conversation. At its mention, most people stutter, aching to change the topic, desperately looking for a way out. When a baby dies, there is no ‘right’ thing to say, no easy transition to happier topics. It is safest to steer clear of bereaved parents, they are sad, and, let’s face it, pretty scary to be around.
The topic of death is easiest avoided, but ironically an inevitable part of life. I did not expect that it would become an integral element to our family unit, especially not at this stage in my life. I had not anticipated that we would be creating a memorial garden for our first child, our son, in the middle of April. However, here we are. We have not been given the choice. I so wish we had been.
We need to learn how to openly talk about death, how to create an open and safe space for grief to emerge, so that we can support one another and feel together. Together is how we survive. Together is how we grow. It takes a village.
Courage is necessary to face your fears. Yesterday, we faced some of ours. We made ourselves completely vulnerable. We had no idea how it was going to go, or what emotions we would have to face. We were anxious. We were scared. We took a leap.
We landed. It was okay. It was more than okay.
We cried, we hugged, we laughed. We cried some more. We were honest with our needs and our emotions. Our hearts smiled as we felt our little guy being cradled with love by his community. The community that may never know the difference our son would have made in their lives had he been here physically, but has allowed his little life, his continued presence, to thrive and touch their lives. The community that will allow our son to live on. The community, the village, that is helping us to raise him in the only way we know how – with love, shared memories, lessons, and continued remembrance. Together.
Thank you to everyone who was with us, in person and in spirit. We truly felt the love and appreciated the willingness to take a step forward with us. Owen Benjamin is a happy little boy with some very special rocks. We can feel his joy, and most importantly, his smiles. They warm our hearts.
xo The Edmondsons