Labor of Love

I’m back to the blogosphere for a moment of gratitude….

Since Isaac passed away, I have watched the people closest to me struggle–truly and achingly struggle within their own hearts– to bear the weight of their own grief AND try to help me cope, heal, keep going, trying to ease my pain for me, take care of me. While I am beyond grateful for this love & support, I have no expectation from anyone and my heart aches for them; their grief as well as their feeling that they aren’t adequately helping me.. Just showing up is more than enough!

It is definitely the most difficult to see my mom & dad’s struggle. I have thought & probably mentioned here that at times I think perhaps the worst pain in life & loss is not losing a child, though most people say there is no greater pain.

Perhaps the greatest pain is when your child loses their child.

I think of how I might have felt for Isaac if he had grown up & had children and lost a child, that his pain, and my love for him, and my inevitable love for his child would have been unbearable. And this is what my parents are experiencing. And it is awful.

I observe them trying and willing to do anything in their means, and power, and even well beyond these, to help me. Far too many to list here, but examples are; Quite conservative they are yet they both got tattoos–for me-in memory of Isaac. My mom has crocheted for as long as I can remember and in early November asked me if she could make me an afghan to keep me warm and offer me hug like comfort when she wasn’t with me. We went shopping for yarn and she began her project enthusiastically, with a mission. If you know my mom, you know she:

  • does things quickly
  • does things perfectly
  • if she begins something she finishes it!

The afghan was completed this week. It is G O R G E O U S. It is large and took longer than usual for many reasons, which didn’t matter to me even once, but she was regularly apologizing. And I get why, I get that she just wanted me to have it as soon as possible. But, here’s the unintended gift she gave me that only could have come with the time it took to complete that I discovered when I covered myself in it yesterday…

I could literally feel and see the love, sorrow, agony, and hope woven into this beautiful blanket. I could smell my mom’s faint perfume and the wood stove of the home I grew up in, on this blanket. I could hear the prayers spoken on Isaac’s & my behalf held in the wool of this blanket. Yet there was more than the five senses at work here. Wrapped in this blanket, I intuitively understood a greater truth than I have yet to open myself to…This blanket, this gift, will not fix everything in my broken heart. That is not what blankets do. It will keep me warm and let me hide under it if I need to and bring me comfort and embrace me in the love with which it was lovingly intended to do for me. That is what blankets AND MOMS do. And that is alot– so much– more than enough.

Deeper, still, what this gift gave me was the assurance that this is what I did for my child; Everything that I could, to love him guide him, raise him, assure him, comfort him. To be a an expansive, warm, colorful, cheery, heavy afghan that lets the light through. After months spent wondering what I missed or how I failed him or how all that love I gave all his life was not enough to save him, this metaphor wrapped up in a blanket was of great comfort, however fleeting. I can return again and again to the warmth to remember what blankets–and moms, do, is enough.

So, thank you, Mom. It is because of you that I know I can keep going– as you have kept going– through all that life has brought to you. It is because of your many gifts–of love and hope and warmth, that I know the work of healing is mine to do but I am loved and never alone. It is because of you that I could breathe a small sigh of relief yesterday, and maybe again, knowing with certainty that I gave all I had to Isaac.

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Published by: christinaryanstoltz

I write to touch the supple center of unguarded ache~ To release myself from the pressure of not knowing how to move forward from the unfathomable loss of my beloved son, my beautiful boy Isaac, to suicide, of not knowing how to release my grip on of the past, both the worshipping of it as well as the beating myself up for it, and letting go of the need to know what I could’ve done or what on earth I will do now. I write to heal.


2 thoughts on “Labor of Love”

  1. So beautiful.
    I had never thought of this and my heart lurched when I read, “Perhaps the greatest pain is when your child loses their child.”

    I’ve been going through a lot of ‘stuff’ since I moved into my Mom’s house. I came across this (in her handwriting on a deposit slip):

    To A Young Man named Michael
    whose early death caused sorrow

    He left in silence, with the stillness of the North Wind.
    What he spent his short life searching for,
    Was simple –
    But when,
    The love he found
    Was taken away
    He reached out,
    To touch
    The distant dawn.
    For there
    He knew,
    When the day began,
    His searching
    Could start
    All over again.
    He knows now
    What he must find. – Cindy Herran “With Love”

    I believe she saved this around the time my sister’s daughter committed suicide. I had never really contemplated the nature of her pain and she was not one to be emotionally open.


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