If you look at me like most people would…a perky little mom totally enamored and in love with her adorable baby boy, it could be natural for you to think that in my house, one stocking was hung—a stocking that will flow over with goodies and gifts for my obviously first and only child.
And while I understand why most of the world could think that, just by looking from the outside, they’d be wrong.
In my house, we hang three.
To many, this is weird.
Maybe even a little morbid, depending on who you ask.
Matthew was born on November 28, 2009. I bought his stocking at the end of that September, fully prepared for him to be all wrapped in Christmas blankets and mesmerized by the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree.
One of the last pictures taken before we went to the hospital to deliver Matthew was of his stocking on the mantle, waiting for him to come home.
Without question, Matthew’s stocking will always be hung with Luke’s. It was bought for him, and his death does not remove his place in our family.
When we lost Trey in April, we didn’t even know if he was a boy or a girl. Thankfully, genetic testing was done and we were able to learn he was another precious boy. I’d not bought very many things for him yet, certainly not a stocking in April.
But I bought him one this September.
As an infertile woman, I am keenly aware of the blessing I’ve been given in being allowed by God to bring my sweet little Luke home. Every morning, as we walk downstairs for breakfast, we tell the pictures of Matthew, “Good morning,” and talk about how Matthew is with Jesus in Heaven. There are many, many tangible things a mother can cling to and share when her full-term child is born alive. Sharing those with Luke will be bittersweet, but possible nonetheless.
What of Trey, though? What will I have to share with Luke about his little brother? Several ultrasound pictures and a few outfits bought with enthusiastic anticipation. Many have told me that there is a very big difference between losing Matthew and losing Trey. I’m often surprised, even, because many who tell me this are women who have lost themselves.
Yes, in a world that will exuberantly acknowledge that a princess in England is carrying a “baby” and not “tissue”, for the rest of us commoners, miscarried children very rarely get the same credibility and validity as more gestationally advanced babies do.
In my family, though, that’s not the case. I bought Trey a stocking because he, like his brothers, is my child.
I wanted him. I prayed for him. I dreamed of him when I didn’t even know it was him of whom I was dreaming.
There are three stockings in our house because the are three other heartbeats that have shared space with mine, and they are all precious and equally loved.
How in the world could I justify to Luke that Matthew was worth mourning and missing if Trey was not even worth his own stocking?
So many see and share the old Dr. Seuss quote about a person being a person, no matter how small, but in practice, will bristle in an uncomfortable silence when a grieving mother discusses her miscarriage. Sad.
We sponsor several different world needs in Matthew’s memory, and this year, are honored to do so in Trey’s memory as well. Luke will grow up to value life—all life—and understand that one’s place in a family does not get taken away simply because they are no longer living. He will grow up knowing that each beating heart on this planet is precious and purposed. He will grow up unafraid and unashamed to share that he has two brothers and he will grow up knowing how much he is loved because he will see how much his mother honors the lives of her children.
There are three stockings because I am the mother of three boys.
Death cannot change that.