This morning I attended the funeral of a tiny 32 week old little boy named Lincoln Kaos Kash Augustine.
I never had the privilege to meet little Lincoln, although I was excited to see him, to count his little toes and fingers and smell that sweet soft baby scent of his. I couldn’t wait to see that soft tired smile on his mother’s face or to see his father with a proud smile on his face all the while carrying him around like a football.
My husband led the service for this sweet little boy while I read a poem picked out by his family. I tried to promise I wouldn’t cry while I read the poem, but the moment I was up there and reading words that tried to convey how a mother was to say goodbye, I realized something.
A mother never really says goodbye.
It doesn’t matter how long we’ve known about our child, whether it’s for only a few weeks before a miscarriage takes place, or if it’s only a few weeks before you expect to hold him in your arms. It doesn’t matter if you held him, saw his smile for days or listened to his laughter, his cries, and go through years of rebellion while he’s a teen. It doesn’t matter if he is a baby or an older man who has lived his life…a mother’s love doesn’t stop just because he’s no longer breathing.
Losing a child has to be one of the worst experiences a parent can go through. It has to. I can’t think of anything worse. There are no words of comfort, no explanations of how things will get better, no promises of a better day. Once of God’s greatest’s gifts is love – whether it’s his love for us or our ability to love another. It’s also one of the hardest gifts to bear.
It’s hard to understand how people grieve. Most of us assume that a little bit of time should be given but then it’s time to pick yourself up and carry on with life. But what if you never really say goodbye? What if there is always that part of your heart dedicated to that baby you gave life to?
I have no answers. I have no sweet words to say to help heal a broken heart. All I have is a mother’s love and knowing I could never say goodbye either. I’d always be waiting until I could hold my child again.
A mother never says goodbye, because a mother never should.