several weeks ago i had a dream that we were at a family reunion that occurs on my mom's side every 2 years. each person must check the book to make sure all of your family info is correct. i fully expected our last name to be spelled incorrectly, because most of the time it is. to my surprise, our surname was spelled correctly. to my horror, the only child listed under our names was 'lil bug. (for you curious minds out there, a boy's name was in the box.) i woke up sweating.
just a few days after this, i had a dream that my very good friend was introducing me to her friend. "this is cortney. she has 3 children ages 3-7." i was shocked. i corrected her and said that i had 4 children but my eldest was in heaven. the look on my friend's face was complete embarassment and i knew she felt bad. i woke up that morning feeling sad.
i think the reason i have had these dreams is that i fear people will eventually forget matthew phillip. i know that ken and i never will. there isn't a day we don't think about him and most days we talk about him. but for others, i know it's not something they think about often. after all, it's been 14 months since they were stumbling to find the words to comfort us and 14 months since they looked at that tiny casket.
when a child is lost later in life, one will have known that child's personality and have good memories to share and comfort the family and themselves. when a child goes to heaven after 5 days, there was no time to see them laugh or cry, or to truly get to know them.
to accept that i didn't really know my child is very hard. so i deal with this by imagining what matthew would have been like. he was a spitting image of ken so i like to think he would have had my personality. i think he would have been a pretty good baby and an early walker. he would have loved to smile at people and would have easily accepted new faces rather than be scared by them. he had brown hair and his eyes would have probably turned light blue; a good-lookin' kid if i do say so myself.
of course i don't know if all of these things would be true but it comforts me to imagine what my child would be like.
i think one of the main reasons i fear matthew being forgotten is because of 'lil bug that grows inside of me. most people just ask about this baby. very few still ask about our first-born. just because a new life grows inside me doesn't mean that i don't want to talk about the child i lost. i know that it's not an easy subject for others to bring up, so i try to work matthew in conversation as much as i can.
i just want him to matter to others.
one of the things i struggle with is how to honor matthew's memory in our home and in our lives once we have more children. i know that we will honor his birthday each year in a special way. and if possible we would like to walk each year in the march of dimes walk for babies in his memory. certainly my children will know they have a big brother in heaven early on because we will talk about matthew to them. but i wonder, what else can we do to remember our son?
if you have an idea of how we can incorporate matthew's memory into an event or everyday life, i would love to hear from you. please leave a comment or send me an email.