Love Them As Much As We Can

Love Them As Much As We Can June 11, 2012

By now Kat is in the hospital, beginning to prepare for the birth of her dear baby Annie, who will be going to Heaven too soon.  Some friends are en route to Houston to be with the family.  I am at home, 39 weeks pregnant, doing my 6th load of laundry of the day.

For the past 6 months or so I have known that these two babies would be born at about the same time, and I have been overwhelmed by feelings of guilt and unworthiness for getting what feels like the easier mother’s journey.  In the year when every single builder will have a baby, Kat has graciously played along as we all complained about maternity bathing suits, swollen feet and minor worries.  She has offered advice as I tried to sort out my childcare plans for the summer with a new baby, while she sorted out plans for a summer with a grieving family.

In many ways, the group of us have been reminiscent of Mary and Elizabeth at the Visitation, at once nervous about what is to come and grateful for the fellowship of other women.

But because I cannot travel, because I feel like I can’t even allow myself, so close to delivering my own baby and with six other children to care for, to even really be emotionally present to Katrina right now, I am left with the guilt.

As I fold laundry and pray tonight, I have one strong, important insight, one answer that seems to come from the Holy Spirit.  The only way to respond to Annie’s life, and to the lives of Therese and Lucy, is to take my over flowing household of children into my arms and love them.  To love them through potty training and preteen acne and bikes all over the garage, and through whatever trials, big or small may be coming my way.  To be grateful for what I have, and to offer it back to God in love, to be aware that we are His sons and daughters.  So I’ll keep doing laundry, and tomorrow I will love my children a little extra.  When my time comes for labor, I will offer it for Katrina and Ed.

When they set this date, they got a certainty, which is that their baby would be born by tomorrow.  They also have a certainty that Annie will be waiting for them in Heaven.  I don’t have a certainty about when my baby will be born, and I can’t have a certainty about the state of his soul whenever his death may come.  This uncertainty is one of the hardest parts of mothering, it makes us all turn to St. Monica and beg her intercession, but again, I think that the way to respond to that is love and offering them to God.  Ultimately, none of them is ours to keep forever.

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  • Bethany “B-mama”

    MA, this is beautifully written. Your description of Kat’s unselfish journey with the rest of us this year is spot-on. She has been like Mary, full of grace and serenity of heart, quietly enduring her grief. Your feelings of guilt are similar to how I felt 5 years ago when sweet Lucy was born the day after our Thomas. Over the years that guilt has turned into gratitude and a desire to make T’s life a dedication to God in the name of Lucy. I hope the same will prove true for you… for all of us.

  • Katrina

    Mary Alice, I read your sweet words last night, and they brought such comfort. Thank you for your friendship. I’ll be keeping you and your baby in my intentions today!

  • Saoirse

    Prayers for all of you today. You are very fortunate to have each other for support. May you all find peace in this be it from sorrow, guilt or both.

  • Claire

    Joining my prayers to the many being offered . . . may you be strengthened by the presence of the Body of Christ. Thank you, all, for the powerful witness of Love.

  • KC

    Typing this through tears! And praying for Kat and all her family and friends.

  • JMB

    This is beautiful Mary Alice. You are all so fortunate to have such faithfilled friendships. God is good! I will keep all you builders in my prayers today. You are an inspiration to mothers everywhere.

  • Jennifer

    With wanting to strangle my 21 year old this evening, this brought tears to my eyes and me to my knees. Wishing you all strength and love.