The ebb and flow of grief... Lately, mine has been flowing a little more. My grief feeling a little heavier. So, as I wait for it to "ebb", I'm waiting for a sign, for something to reflect on, for my next move, and tonight a friend texts me a link to a blog called "Scribbles & Crumbs", led by a mother who lost her baby boy to a congenital heart defect. So, I go on to read a few of her posts and they consume me... I can still smell the hospital smells and hear the beeping of the monitors, and my arms ache, and I've cared for a sick child, and I've relied on my faith to get through, and I've chosen hope! My chest tightens, my stomach turns, for a second I can't breathe, and before I know it, I'm chatting her virtual "ear" off via her "contact" tab. And then it hits me... grace meets me halfway and my grief feels lighter again. This is just what I needed, my sign, my reflection, my clarity. I needed a reminder that I'm not the only one and that I have all the tools I need to keep going. This may sound redundant to some of you, but if even one person hasn't read my posts and it helps you in any way, then that's reason enough to pour my heart out a bit ❤️
This is what I wrote, "Hi Lexi, tonight a fellow grieving mother sent me a link to your blog... She assumed I already followed you and I did not, so when I opened the link and dove into your posts, your words struck me like a bolt of lightening. I lost my son, Ollie, a CHD warrior, when he was 13 months old in January '13. The night he died and we had to leave the hospital without him, I was lost, empty, everything was dark. I was a shell. When I went to bed that night, I wished I would never wake up. I knew I wasn't strong enough to face my new reality. But the next morning I woke to my 3 year old (at the time) tapping my shoulder and, "Mommy, will you make my breakfast?" And, at that moment, I decided I was going to face my grief, embrace it, explore it, build my life around it. I knew that facing my new normal would not be easy, but I had no choice... no, actually I did have a choice, and I chose HOPE. Not long after my son died, my pastor gave a sermon that hit me, and the premise... "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for your welfare and not for your harm, to give you a future of hope." And right in that moment I told myself that someday I will believe those words with my whole heart and that is when I know that I've made it, that I'll be okay. This journey has been long, trying, discouraging, heart-wrenching, dark, and painful, and just when I think maybe I'm not strong enough after all, God's grace meets me in that hopeless place... maybe it's a heart in an unexpected place, the way the sun shines in the house at dawn or dusk, a long chat with an understanding friend, my daughters' smiling eyes, or maybe it's a friend who texts me a link to this blog during a time when my grief has felt a little heavier than the usual and I'm compelled to reassess where I've been, how far I've come, and how many wonderful things lay ahead... And, I'm reminded that I have a choice, and I choose hope.
Thank you for sharing your heart. I needed this. It took my breath away, but I feel lighter now. My friends started a FB page after Ollie died to keep everyone in the loop on his services. I've kept the page, though, and it's become a journal of my path toward healing. It's been an outlet for me and a huge source of support "Ollie Hinkle". My husband and I sit on the Board of the MO chapter of the Children's Heart Foundation and we have an annual food & wine fest in his memory. Since his death, we've raised over $200K for pediatric heart research and to provide financial and emotional support to heart families in need. This Fall, we're following our dreams and we've teamed up with another heart angel family and we're opening a restaurant, Olive + Oak (Olive for Oliver "Ollie" and Oak for their son who passed named Oakes). Some sort of goodwill toward the CHD community will be a big part of our plan, though exact plans are still TBD.
Phew! Thanks for listening! Sending you love and ❤️ hugs!
On January 3, 2013, my 1 yr old son, Ollie, passed away. That's where my life "before Ollie" ends and my grief journey begins... My new normal, my path toward healing, my life "after Ollie". I'm a grieving mother who believes in hope. This is my story.