By Lindsey Moreno
Suffering, tragedy, pain, and tears; I am far too familiar with these. My heart knows ache and longing in a way no parent should. I have wished to stay pregnant unending in hopes of protecting my son from a diagnosis so big (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome). I have seen more poking, prodding, machines, and medication than most. I have had to remain strong when I felt too weak to stand, when my knees should have buckled beneath the weight of what we were facing. I have wailed and sobbed, pleaded and grieved. Every dream crushed, every hope dashed, and yet I remain. Breath in my lungs, hot, wet tears streaming down my face, and empty arms longing for what I cannot have. My beautiful baby, my sweet boy is gone too soon.
Some days I wake to a puddle of tears. How has it been nearly a year? This can’t be real. The distance between us is immeasurably great, and time only makes it feel greater. Oh how I wish I could wrap my Beckham up in my arms, scoop his sweet body into mine, and breathe in everything about him. I constantly replay his life over and over in my mind. Sometimes I forget the reality of his medically fragile body, and I wonder how on earth he could be gone. Other times the reality of his suffering, our suffering, knocks me to my knees. I sob into the carpet with heaves and moans; this grieving and longing are impossibly difficult. How have we endured these past three years, especially these past ten months? His last week with us, and the suffering he faced, is more than I can bear. I try to turn off the replay, but somehow it’s always there.
Those last moments, they came so quickly. His body relaxed and his breathing slowed. We were frantically caught off guard. In our heart of hearts we knew how sick he was, but we just didn’t see it coming. We held on to hope always. My husband, Beto listened for his heartbeat, but it was fading. Beckham took one last slow and relaxed breath, and then he was gone from this earth. His body was still warm in my arms, but our sweet Beckham was gone. I held him, we held him, for hours. We weren’t ready to say goodbye. Our home filled with our closest friends as we grappled with what just happened. We cried together. We kissed his cheeks. We honored his life. Our sweet boy is so loved. How can a mother ever be ready for that day or the days that follow? The ebb and flow of life has forever changed, and the immeasurable weight of loss is now woven into the fabric of each day. Even in joy our pain is present. The truth is that “grief only exists where love lived first.” And we loved beyond anything we ever knew we were capable of.
I am convinced that there is beauty to be found in the broken places. Light and hope can make their way into the deepest, darkest moments of anguish and pain if only we let them. From day one, Beto and I have continually chosen to grasp the even the tiniest shred of hope we could find. Some days that hope would grow and consume us like the warmth of a roaring fire. Other days that hope would wane and grief would overcome our hearts with an unquenchable thirst. There is no formula to this process of grieving, no way of fixing what has been broken. There is, however, a choice to make. Will we live on? Will we suffer with no end? Or will we allow this pain to transform us?
Early on in our grief process a close friend, my doula, promised that she would doula me through grief in the same way she doula’d me through labor. She made a beautifully raw analogy of labor and grief. She said, “grief will come just as contractions did, hard and strong. In those moments you will feel the most intense pain… at times questioning if you’ll make it through. Just as you did in labor, you’ll need to focus on breathing in love and light while exhaling all of the pain. You have to let it go from your heart and body. Let the tears wash the hurt away. Then, in the moments between contractions allow yourself to feel all of the peace, joy, and comfort knowing another contraction is on its way.” This powerful analogy hit my heart so profoundly. I labored naturally with Beckham (and Hudson). I know full well the intensity of that physical pain and the sweetness of its relief. These words have given me such freedom in my grief. I am free to feel the pain, sit in it, and hurt to my core. I am also free to live in the moments of joy that find their way into my heart.
I grieve deeply because I love deeply. I will continue to live on being transformed by the depths of pain, loving my boys both here and in Heaven, with a love so strong and fierce. This love is a bond that cannot be broken, even in death. I am their mama, and they are my boys. We are family forever. We will continue to let hope lead the way.
Lindsey Moreno is a photographer turned medical mama and wellness advocate in Dallas, Texas. She is the mom of two beautiful boys, Beckham and Hudson. While navigating the world of child loss and mama grief she is searching for beauty, choosing hope, and finding joy along the way. Follow along on Instagram, #beatsforbeckham, Facebook, and find more of Beckham’s story at www.beatsforbeckham.com.