She would have been a lot of things, but she isn’t. The one thing she is is she’s not forgotten. This week I have been out of sorts, a little off center. Things have been just a little out of focus. I have had a low-grade anxiety that something is off kilter. These are all symptoms of birthdays and death days. The week before is a time of reflection. Today is a time of gratitude for the person Lydia was.

Benjamin June 21 lydiaShe taught me so much, gave me so much, and lived so much love. She did an incredible job loving in the midst of such great tragedy. She loved in the midst of our baby’s death. She loved in the midst of our older child dying daily before her. And she loved as she lived with her own journey to death. Her love was like a candle’s flame that somehow stayed lit in a hurricane.

At the end of her life I asked her what she thought was on the other side of this life. Her response was, “I don’t know. All I know is I’ll know my babies.” She knew love was waiting for her because love was so much a part of her. It was what she left me, and what she took with her to see one child and wait for another.

Love and relationships did not begin with Lydia or end with Lydia’s death for me. In our closing months she encouraged me to continue to love. She said that the greatest testament to our love would be for me to say I want to do this again.

I have been with Rachel for over fourteen years. Rachel has a remarkable capacity to accept life and to love in the midst of whatever comes. Our challenges in life have been different in manifestation from what Lydia and I went through, but the inner fortitude and commitment to love is the same in Rachel as it was in Lydia.

People have asked about what Rachel thinks of all this openness that I share about Lydia, Matt and Bryan. Rachel encouraged me to write the book when I was reluctant. She is the one who started this Facebook page without telling me. She is the one who puts my words to all her beautiful photographs. She is also the one who does so much to keep this page going.

Beyond all that, Rachel has a remarkable capacity to hold an openness to love. I found with her the ability to go through my sorrow in a safe place. She lives in awareness that love does not need to distinguish between her and Lydia. And I do not need to choose between loving one or the other.

My love for Rachel is the greatest testament to my love for Lydia. It may sound strange, but I think they would have been very good friends. I wish they could have met. Their wisdom, gentleness, power and presence would have harmonized beautifully.

Today, I honor Lydia. I honor her birth. I honor her life. I honor the multitude of gifts she gave me, the strength she had in going through so much and by showing me what true love really is and what true love can always be.

Matt was to live three years beyond Lydia. As Lydia came closer to her death, she said, “Promise me you won’t let him forget me.” What a strange thing to say. How could a child ever forget his mother? It is as impossible as me ever forgetting Lydia.

I am able to love Rachel because I am able to love Lydia. I am grateful Rachel is such a loving, tender, wise women. I was hoping I could find someone like Lydia and I have been blessed to do so. Today, I am so deeply grateful for what Lydia gave me and what her life gives me today in my life Rachel.

It is truly a day of honoring.

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