Against my better judgment I decided to attend a gathering for angel moms. I had known about the evening for a few weeks. Initially I was not ready, I knew I'd have to face my new identity head on... and it's just easier to keep a distance. I was supposed to go on a date with John boy. He decided he needed to study for his big exam coming up so I found myself available to attend. In the heart world the angel moms are revered as the group of women no one wants to be a part of, but all the women are deeply loved and respected.
I decided I would go and hoped I wouldn't regret it. The beginning of evening went great. Once we started in with the stories of our angel children my opinion of weather or not this was a good choice drastically changed. I wanted to run for the door, get in my car, and drive away from my life. This is how it all began.
An angel mother to my right started recounting her sons life and history in the hospital. Her son returned to heaven less than two weeks ago and I was amazed she was there with a smile on her face and more faith in her pinky than I posses. She finished the story of her sweet son with, "He went to sleep and never woke up." Hearing those words I began to sob and tell the girls I have to go home. "I have to leave... I can't be here," is what I repeated trying to compose myself and find my kleenex supply. I didn't want to hurt any ones feelings but I knew there were going to be more stories like this being described by these sweet mothers and my heart just can't handle it. I had only heard one, and knew I would not last through the rest. It's too much for my soul. too too much! Right when I honestly was going to get up and leave the darling waitress girl came past our table and was wondering what happened to make me cry so hard. I tried to compose myself and just replied, "Trust me, you don't want to know." She was very sweet and returned multiple times throughout the night inquiring and commenting on how we were upset. She would pass and say, "you're crying again." "You girls ok over here?" "Do you need anything?" My personal favorite comment was: "You're too pretty to cry." If only that were the requirement for happiness. It was a sweet thing to say to a table of crying women. It made us laugh and I think that was her ultimate goal. She even brought over a bucket of candy to try and cheer us up. When did smarties and dumdums turn into something you preferred not to eat? I'll tell you when... October.
She was a sweetheart and I just hope she never ever has to experience anything like all the women at our table had. I sat there thinking about all of the people in that restaurant... it was really busy. What is the most difficult thing they have faced in their lives? I felt like the amount of sadness was measurable and it would rival everyone who came in and out that night. Maybe not, I know there are many other things in life that are extremely sad... but an entire table of women who have children in heaven would most likely outweigh money or relationship sadness's. From my limited perspective it just feels like being an angel mom is in an entirely different realm from so many things my friends and family have had to face. Having Mia not here is impossible, and it feels so lonely most days. Lonely in the sense that I am the only mom who has to do this. I know I am not, it just feels that way. These women are the ones who have had many of the same thoughts and feelings I currently have. I'll admit it was nice to voice my concerns and have them understood in a way that only an angel mom can understand.
The things I learned from my night with the angel moms: Angel moms are still exquisitely sad after nine years without their daughter on the earth. Angel moms are faithful and feel compelled to be the best mothers they can so they can be with their child again. Angel moms are gracious. Angel moms have a piece of their heart pulling them toward heaven. Angel moms have to work extra hard to not get discouraged. Angel moms are not exempt from other trials. Angel moms cry... a lot. Angel moms can find happiness after having a child return to heaven. Angel moms are keenly aware of the absence of their child. Angel moms are inspiring. Angel moms are by all definition of the word - incredible.
I was so hesitant to label myself as an angel mom. I never ever want to be an angel mom. I still don't want to be an angel mom. Sadly I am. An angel mom. It's my identity now. After that night I can no longer hide. They know my story, they heard what happened in my own words. Retelling what transpired with Mia was like having swords exit my body. I don't know why it is easy to write about it, but to actually say the words... it's torturous. It's just easier for the words to be vaulted within, than to allow others to hear how broken I am... using my voice.
I am a angel mom. I have to face the fact that from here on out... this is me. I have an angel in Heaven. It's the most devastating group to belong to, and if I could rewind I would hand my name badge in without hesitation. Since that is not likely to happen, I will have to hunker down with these amazing women and draw from their strength and hopefully strengthen others who have no idea their worst fear is in front of them.
Angel mom. It is going to take some getting used to.
If only I could escape some of the sadness and not cry... if only I were "too pretty to cry." Wouldn't that be nice. At the end of the evening after hours of talking I thought I would be a basket case. I was not. I think the support that the collective group of angel mom's offer is transcending. Again, no one wants to be there, but because we are... it's healing to hear what others have faced, and how they are managing their lives.
I have felt some of this crushing burden lifted. I think having an evening with women who completely understand me are responsible for some of this. I generally try to muscle my way through any challenge, but I think this is one things I am going to need support with. It's just too difficult and awful to do by yourself. I'll admit it. We could have talked and cried all night. I am hoping the angel mom gatherings are more frequent so I can feel the lift that I did that night. Thank you to the angel moms who came and shared their stories and who made such an significant impact on me. I promise to try to not cry as much next time. I have the initial meeting out of the way and am one step closer to becoming a veteran angel mom. Meh. The thought of that makes me ill.
I just need that child. I do. I will need her every single day of my life.
On a lighter note, the other day when we were visiting the cemetery my sister said, "Mia must be up there runnin' the show. If by chance she is still learning the ropes she is definitely in upper management." I got a good laugh. I do believe that whatever Mia is doing it is very important. It has to be.