The heart is the most important muscle there is, but it does more than just pump blood.

It creates memories.

“Muscle memory” is when a movement is done repeatedly over time and your muscle creates a sort of memory for that movement which allows you to do it without really thinking about it too much; like riding a bike, or typing on a keyboard.

Emotions are born in the brain . . . but they live in the heart.

That’s why it swells and overflows when we feel joy. And that’s why a “broken heart” physically hurts when we lose or miss someone.

It all happens there. Some would argue the accuracy of this, but it would fall on deaf ears. I know my heart and what it holds.

And today it is aching.

I thought I knew what love was.

Until I had a child.

And everything changed.

I fell in love with my son the moment I knew of him.

Our life together began with his first hello . . . a small flutter from within; and with every passing month, I talked to him and he responded with little poked messages of acknowledgement, as we secretly conversed in our own Morse code; with me talking and him tap, tap, tapping in reply.

Until the tapping stopped.

And it was all over.

The dream ended; the gift withdrawn.

And I was left with nothing but empty arms and a broken heart.

When you lose a baby, you lose a lifetime.

In my case, I also lost a lifeSTYLE, because I couldn’t have another child.

And the trouble is my heart already started loving him.

My heart memorized every single moment of him. Every hope and dream; his first steps and his first bike ride, when he learned to drive and when he went off to college. My heart remembers the sound of him calling out, “Mom!” as he returned home from school; and the way his dark hair fell across his forehead when he was asleep. I remember when he fell in love with my daughter-in-law and they had my first grandbaby; and how I marveled at my blessings and the opportunity to relive it all again.

Oh, yes, I fell in love with him.

And my heart remembers the life we were supposed to have.

The one I had imagined.

Our beautiful babies aren’t supposed to die; but mine did . . . on the day he was born.

He was in an incubator . . . and then he wasn’t.

Then he was in my arms.

Then I was allowed to hold him.

And in those few moments . . . we lived our lifetime together.

Those powerful few moments have sustained me for 30 years.

I’m not burdened by the weight of grief every single day anymore.

I’ve learned how to live with the reality; you get used to feeling the pain, I guess. I actually embrace it at times. And memories of my son are kind of like breathing for me – I don’t consciously think about breathing, but I do it . . . all the time.

As for today, I am thoughtful.

I am grieving the loss of my son on his 30th birthday, I am sad for what will never be, and I wonder what motivates me to rise each day.

But I do. And I will.

And I will continue to grab the little bits of joy I happen upon, and I will embrace them. I will work hard to be good and to be kind. And to be better than I am.

Because I have a son. And I want him to be proud . . . just in case there is a heaven.

Categories: Grief/Healing, Holidays/Birthdays | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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22 thoughts on “IT’S BEEN A LIFETIME

  1. Victoria Sanchez

    Beautifully said and often how I feel since I also lost my only child and I do not carry on in anyone by blood. Thank you! 💜

    Sent from my iPhone


    • I’m so sorry to hear that, Victoria. I didn’t know. My heart to yours, my friend. My heart to yours. You can talk to me anytime. I’m right here (or on Fb). xoxojulia

  2. Betsy

    Touching. Sad. Poignant. Love.

  3. There is my friend…a heaven, for you and him..he’ll be waiting…on that I bet my life…

  4. I feel your heart, Julia. Thankyou for speaking your truth and sharing your love. We are with you….

  5. From my broken heart to yours, well said my friend. Living a lifetime of “what ifs” is made a lot easier with the help of friends who are traveling the same path.

  6. Keith


    We lost a daughter 24 years ago. Full term unexpected still birth. Everything was fine early in the day at a doctor visit, went into labor during dinner, got to the hospital and no heartbeat.

    The pain never goes away but does change with time.

    I have been told that when you lose someone in your life, say a parent, you mourn your past.

    But when you lose your child you mourn your future.


    • Oh my goodness, I’ve never heard that, but it’s so true. Thank you so much for sharing with me, Keith. You have a warm and generous heart. Xojulia

  7. Sending you a big hug today. I know it’s impossible for me to fathom losing a child, it’s a place no mother’s head or heart wants to go. But you are not alone, this I know.

  8. marshamusic

    Beautiful memories, beautifully written. What comes from the heart reaches the heart, and you reached mine. Thank you.

  9. No one knows your pain, Julia. Still, I believe with all my heart that your son’s spirit is with you every day and he waits for you to join him in heaven.
    blessings ~ maxi

  10. Hugssssssssss….you are an incredible woman beyond numbers.. a million reasons to love you for just how real you are…. my inspiration to keep going despite the turmoil

  11. This is a beautifully written post. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing these special deep feelings! You are one of the kindest, honest person I’ve ever met!
    I love you deeply!❤️

    • Thank you so much, Joyce. I love you deeply also…deeply in my heart forever. And thank you for reading my words and hearing my heart. Let’s talk soon. ❤❤❤

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