Friday, June 26, 2009


I read a blog post recently by a woman who had lost a child a few years back. She used two words to describe something, and immediately I knew what she was talking about before she even explained.

shadow children

There are so many shadow children in my life. Children, who when I see them or hear about them, I can't help but imagine Gavin doing the same things. In my mind's eye, these children have the shadow of my little man constantly around them. Every thing they do, he should be doing, too. Seeing them run across the room, reach up to their moms, smile, play, hold hands, laugh, talk...and the sad little shadow that follows...

These children have such a special place in my heart, I really can't even describe it. But even so, it hurts SO much to see them and to hear about them. The only thing I can feel is MY child should be doing those things, too! Gavin should be running and talking and playing and smiling and laughing. Gavin should be reaching up to me when he falls and bumps his knee. Gavin should be going to playgroups and learning how to share. I should be playing with my little boy in the front yard. I should be telling stories of the funny, cute things he did this week. I should be telling everyone what his latest achievements and milestones are.

The place where I belonged in the world no longer exists. I miss being a part of that world. I miss being a part of the play dates and the mindless chatter and the camaraderie. I was the mom of a one year old, and now I'm not. I'm the mom of a shadow.

I really, really miss being the mom of a one year old. I miss being Gavin's mom. Its just not fair. It really, really isn't. And no matter what, it can't change. It is what it is. That part is the hardest.


TheMoncurs said...

I was thinking about that last night as we talked about Wes and Chloe. I'd look at at you and think, "She should be part of this conversation."

I'm still glad you came though. I miss having you around.

rainylakechick said...

I'm so sorry for your loss! I can't imagine your grief. When I read about your post today, it reminded me of my grandma.

My dad is one of six kids, the fourth child in the family. Or, I should say seven kids and he is the fifth child in the line-up. Before he was born, my grandma had a baby girl named Marjory. Marjory died as an infant. Caught the flu. Back in those days, when you lived on a farm miles from town, there wasn't much you could do.

Time passed. She had three more children, including my father. Life moves on. They left that farm to move to another town so my grandfather could find work in the paper mill.

Fifty years later, when my grandma was very sick, she told the family that when she died, she wanted to be buried by her baby. In the same cemetery as little Marjory.

That's when I learned of this little girl my grandma loved. And had missed all these years. No one had ever talked about her.

Both of my grandparents are buried in a plot in the same cemetery as Marjory. When we put up the headstone for my grandparents, we also put one in for Majory. I'm so glad we get to remember her.

Nicole said...

Shadow children.

It's a perfect phrase. I never thought to give it a name, but I too know what it like.

The Garner Gang said...

Life isn't fair. You should have your son, I still should have mine and yet we don't and our whole life has changed. I don't know what to say to help you. I saw two of Loughlin's friends tonight while in town picking up pizzas for True's party, both thing seem to rub salt into and already open core. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. I am thinking of you.

Melody B. said...

I'm sorry. That is a terrible way to feel. :( I wish I could quiet the pain for you, make it go away...bring him back. I know what you meant by "not being a part anymore" but I do hope that you know you will always be a part, always. I love you and LOVE when you are with me. I am SO sorry for your heartache and pray that peace that only Christ and Heavenly Father can give you will come. I pray that in those times of feeling these things, your Father in Heaven will reach down, scoop you up into His lap and just hold you. I sure love you Bethany. :)

Marga├ža said...

I never told this to anyone but I remember your Gavin every day in every simple thing my Martim does... When he is on my lap and put his little hand son my cheeks to fall asleep, when he looks at me with his big brown eyes, when he waves to me... He does so many things we described as Gavin did...I believe he is Martim´s Angel, he is helping my son with all the love and strenght he learned from you. I wish you had your baby boy, if I had a wish no mum would miss a son. I cry every time I see Gavin´s picture, he is very special to me and to me family.



Barrett, Melinda, & Angel Trinity Adams said...

That is so true...I too am a mom of a shadow...a shadow who should be here celebrating summer in the pool with us. She should be 7 with her next birthday being 8...but instead, I'm a mother of a 7-year-old sucks! I LOVE YOU BETHANY!!! Thank you for your card. I got it this last week in the Academy. I keep it in my locker in my dorm! I LOVED IT SOOOOOO MUCH!!!!

Bret and Julie Burnham said...

I love you Bethany and even though it doesn't help I think about Gavin too when Ayla does things that Gavin should be doing right along with her. I can't even understand the pain that must bring you and I am sorry. I wish I could take it away. But do know that we remember him and love him.

Rebecca said...

I know what you mean. Everytime I take a picture of my kids, there is someone missing.

(See you in 2 weeks!)

Andrea said...

I have some how missed this blog of yours...I love this post. Thank you for expressing how I feel. I hate having a shawdow as's just not fair! I think all the same stuff and it's sooooo hard! Thanks again for this post.
Wyatt's mommy