Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Max's Footprints in our Sand

This beautiful story was sent to us by DeAndrea Dare as she is Remembering Anderson Maxwell Graham, March 12, 2013

When my husband Aaron and I first started dating, we were thrilled to discover that we shared a love of travel.  As soon as I found out I was pregnant, we began to dream about all of the places we would visit with our baby, all the adventures we would take and all of the sites that we would see through the innocent eyes of a child.  

We bought a new camera at Christmas so we would have plenty of time to learn how to use all of the features in time for the baby's arrival.  Never did we dream that our lives would turn out much different than we could have ever imagined.  Max was born in the early hours of March 12, 2013 at only 28 weeks due to a placental abruption.  I remember Aaron placing our beautiful Max in my arms and with tears running down his face he said, "Wherever we go, whatever we do, we are always going to think about how he should be with us."  As I recovered at home from the emergency surgery and tried to tread the waters of grief, I searched the internet for ways to honor my baby boy.  I found artists who made jewelry for me out of his hand and foot prints.  For Mother's Day, friends gave me bracelets with his name on them.  And then a friend sent me a link to an etsy site, where I could have his prints made into a stamp.  My friend suggested that I could take it with me to special places.  I began to think about how I could physically leave his 'mark' wherever I went.  I contacted the etsy shop owner and shared with her Max's story.  She was so kind and agreed to make the stamp of his feet for me.  And, so it began that Max's mark began being stamped all over the country.  

His footprint is stamped and painted on a Heart Stone and is placed at the Bridge of Hope at Faith's Lodge in Wisconsin.  His feet are stamped on the threshold of my parent's home in Louisiana.  Last year his feet were stamped on a prayer flag that flew on the top of Cadillac Mountain in Maine at sunrise.  My favorite place and experience so far was stamping his feet in the sand in South Carolina.  We woke up at sunrise and headed to the beach.  It was incredibly peaceful as the sun began to peak out from the soft fluffy clouds.  The pastel colors were nearly the shades of a baby nursery.  The water gently made its way up onto the beach and then quietly flowed back out to sea.  I found a stick and began to write his name in the sand.  As I wrote the letters, I was filled simply with peace.  And then I began to stamp his feet, one by one, side by side in a walking pattern as if he were running on the sand and having his little toes tickled by the foaming water for the first time.  Tears crept into the corner of my eyes but I also smiled.  The joy that I felt while I carried him inside of me began to return.  Print by print.  The grief that, at times, had felt like a tsunami overwhelming me somehow gave way in those moments to a gentle softness that filled me once again with a love that no words could ever describe.  My husband and I looked down and the tiny prints of our son who changed our lives, made us parents, created a family and left a legacy that is still unfolding.  My friend, holding the camera that we bought at Christmas, which we thought would be taking a picture of the three of us on the beach one day, still took a picture of the three of us, just in a different way.  The wind blew in wild gusts and our hair flew around like mad.  We knelt down behind his name, looked up at the camera...and smiled.  We were overwhelmed with love, filled with joy, finding a little peace and being surrounded by Max's spirit that could not be contained in such a little body.  I look back at that picture all of the time.  It was a turning point.  Those tsunami waves still come from time to time.  I still wish I could hold him in my arms and not have to stamp his feet.  But, he goes with us, we carry him in all of our moments in all of our travels and his little footprints are on our hearts forever and can be found wherever we are and where ever we go.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

DeAndrea... I think our sons are speaking to us today. I haven't been on this blog in several weeks, but I came today. I lost my son Anderson to a placental abruption this past January. Just this last Sunday, we wrote his name in the sand at a beach near us. We took the picture with a new camera my spouse bought in anticipation of a baby that has not yet been conceived. Hugs to you, and to our boys, traveling the world with us.

Post a Comment