I am not a seamstress. At 35 years old, I still often ask my dad to iron my dresses for special occasions and my mom still hems new pants that are too long for my five foot frame.
But today I began sewing patches.
In the fall of 2014, I was told that my only child was terminally ill. I spent the next five months fighting to save his life. When I couldn’t, I was left with a million tiny holes in my shattered, empty heart.
Those holes allowed the pain to leak into my soul. Without the barrier of the once strong walls, the grief poured out in tears, in rage, despair and fear. I filled them temporarily with conversation, busy work, social activity. But the sediment settled and the holes emptied – dark, cold and hollow.
But I think I’ve found a way, finally, to seal the leaks and conquer the holes. Maybe they can’t be filled. But maybe they’re supposed to be empty. Maybe those holes create a foundation that is different from the one before. A remodel of sorts. One that weaves together the values of a lifetime and the meaning of true, unconditional love.
So, I am done trying to fill the holes in my heart. Instead, I am going to patch them. I will keep them from leaking sadness, fear and regret. I am going to use their foundation for strength moving forward.
My first patch will be made of music. Each time I hear a melody, I will smile. I will sing along to familiar lyrics and I will bounce in my seat as my three-year-old once did. And he will be watching as his mommy sways to his favorite rhythm and one hole slowly closes.
I will patch the next hole with gratitude. Gratitude for the three years I had with my sweet boy and thankfulness that I got to be his mom. That patch might even cover three or four holes, because I am so grateful that baby was mine.
Every patch I sew will be created from memories of our happiest times and traditions born from our new normal.
My heart will never be quite whole, but in time, it will be a beautiful work of art.