I lost my infant son almost 30 years ago.
He was my only child and I donated his tiny precious body to Science in the hopes that through medical education he could somehow prevent another person from knowing my heartbreak.
I knew I didn’t need a gravesite to honor him; I could honor him in my heart. And I didn’t think I needed a piece of granite to grieve him.
But I was wrong.
Last year, I learned about Richard Paul Evans, author of the book, “The Christmas Box”, and about a statue that he commissioned called, “The Christmas Box Angel Statue”.
The short version is this:
He wrote a fictional story in which he mentioned a woman grieving the loss of her baby while at the foot of a beautiful statue of an angel.
The book was published and soon grieving readers began inquiring of the location of the statue, and since it no longer existed, the author had one created.
It is bronze and beautiful, and surrounded by a hexagon of 800 paving bricks, which can be purchased and engraved with a name or message in honor of a lost child.
There are now Christmas Box Angel Statues all across the country and each year on December 6th at 7:00 pm, there is a candlelight vigil held at every one of them.
Last year I got my son’s engraved memory brick. The first time I saw it, I was overwhelmed. I had no idea how desperately I needed healing. Until it happened.
I wrote this piece a few months later:
THE HEALING BRICK
Nervously, I approach the Angel Statue thinking I’ll have to search for my son’s recently engraved and installed paving brick, but I look down and there it is, nestled in amongst all the other little angels, his name in print, for the entire world to see.
This sight provokes something unfamiliar in me, deep in my soul, in my very core. I kneel down and through my thin grey slacks I can feel the cold, hard, roughness of the bricks on my knees.
“My knees could bleed as I pay homage”, I think, as if atoning, “let them; I would almost be grateful.”
I touch his name.
“Oh sweetie, look at you; you’re finally here.” I whisper.
Humbly, I bend down and kiss his words. Instantly I flash back to the hospital and he is in my arms again, and now I am not feeling the cold textured brick, but I am kissing his face.
I open my eyes, tears streaming.
Like a cat coughing up an unmanageable hairball, thirty years of guilt, grief, and torment begin to rise, large and ugly, from deep within and catch in my throat.
I remember when I was pregnant with him and how I didn’t watch my diet and I didn’t reduce my stress and I didn’t get enough sleep. And I remember laboring, and how I screamed, “Don’t let me die!” but I didn’t scream for the life of my own son.
“Please, forgive me.” I whisper.
I hear a guttural animal groan escape from inside me as the words allow my agony to detach itself and release.
I was like a broken bone that had healed misaligned and needed to be re-broken so that it could be set right and mend properly.
Michael’s brick has been my one quick SNAP! I am now re-broken, re-set, and relieved.
I am deeply comforted and grateful, and finally healing well.
I cherish the moments. Please read, “WOULD I GRIEVE A SUNRISE?” at: http://wp.me/p2ckKM-cH.
Will you please share this? Too often the loss of an infant is suffered quietly and alone, and whether it was yesterday or 30 years ago, healing is needed. I hope that this helps you or someone you know.
For the location of a Christmas Box Angel Statue near you, or information about purchasing a memory brick, please visit the website of Richard Paul Evans at: www.richardpaulevans.com/angel-statues/locations.