Woven in my Soul….

My name is Lisa Mende and this is a journey of grieving.  I lost my son, Walker, on Mother’s Day weekend 2009.  Since that time, I have learned many things about life, death and the grieving process.  The greatest lesson I have learned  is that even though your child might die, they really never leave you, because they are truly “woven into your soul” hence the title of this blog.  I am not writing this blog for entertainment but to share with other parents who grieve and also in hopes that those who have not lost children can better understand the grieving process.  .

Once you lose a child, your next role as a parent is to find a way to “parent the memory” of the child.  When my role shifted from “parent of the child” to “parenting the memory of the child”, I knew that part of my duty was to keep Walker alive in the eyes of our family.  I am writing this blog because Walker has a sister, Rebekah who was 18 at the time of his death and also two younger brothers, Hiller ,who was 11 and Thomas, who was 8.  I know as time passes, it will become increasingly harder for the younger siblings to remember details about their brother.    My hopes are by writing this blog, their children will also know their Uncle Walker even though he no longer lives among us.  Here’s the story….

 

On July 23, 1986, after years of wistful daydreaming, I became a Mother!  My son, Walker Herring Taylor came into this world.  It was not the easiest of births.  I labored for 23 hours, pushed for almost three hours and was then told I would have an emergency c-section because the baby’s head was stuck in the birth canal prohibiting birth.  It was a long day and night full of pain and excitement, but once he was born, my world was changed forever for the better.  Walker was a very healthy baby.  He was happy as long as I was holding him, playing with him and in his sight.  Not so happy if any of the three components were not available to him.  I really didn’t mind, after all, I had waited a life time to be a mother.

My mom would get irritated if she came for a visit and Walker would wedge his little body between us.  It wasn’t that he was really that needy, it was more because he wasn’t use to sharing me.  Once he established his space he would stay there and play for hours on end with a little matchbox car.  Driving it up and down my leg or on the sofa gave him pleasure.

Walker was a very mechanical child. He was able to put things together that no one in our house could figure out.  It always amazed me and sometimes irritated adults.  There were so many things he could do with those chubby little hands.  I can still visualize those little hands busy at work.

When he was born we lived in Henderson, NC.  He went to pre-K at Kerr Vance Academy, Kindergarten at Zeb Vance School and first grade at Rollins Elementary.  His first grade teacher was our friend Kathryn Day whom we all lovingly referred to as “KatBird”.  I think of all the years Walker was in school, that was his best year and it was all due to Katbird.  She was the best!

When Walker was four, we welcomed Rebekah Wynne Taylor to our family.  Walker was a very proud big brother.  He would fetch diapers, bottles and most anything his little sister needed.  He once told me “he would always take care of her” and to this day I believe he will.

Walker spent many days playing in the cul de sac in front of our house with his friends, Cameron and Marcus.  All the moms would gather to chat and let the boys play.  It was a sweet time.  As the boys grew, they still remained good friends.

When Walker was 7 his dad and I got divorced.  It was really tough on the kids.  Rebekah was only 3.  They didn’t like being sent back and forth between the two households but there was nothing I could do about it.  I know it was important for them to spend time with their dad but it was really hard on those little people.  In retrospect, I am glad they did though because their dad loved them and needed to be with them as much as I did.  Life was hard early on for those two kids but they learned to make the best of it.  Walker was always genuinely concerned for Rebekah and served as her “Big Brother” proudly.

We moved to Greensboro in the fall of 1993.  Walker went o Irving Park Elementary and Rebekah was in daycare.  I had decided to return to school to study Interior Design.  It was really a struggle for me.  I had made arrangements for Walker to be dropped at his teachers house every morning because, he needed to be in place before school started.  His teacher was a single parent and understood my plight.  She was an angel.  I would drop Walker at 7:20, race over to Rebekah’s daycare by 7:30 and over to campus to park my car and jog to class with my art supplies before the door slammed in my face at 8:00.  If you didn’t get there before 8, you were locked out of the room.  Two locked door and you were out of school.  I never was late all semester.  Lucky for me the kids stayed healthy and generally agreeable to this grueling schedule.  On Fridays we would leave early and go by Krispy Kreme before dropping Walker off at his teacher’s house.  The kids loved getting hot doughnuts fresh off the conveyor belt.  I loved watching my children’s delight over the hot sugary treats!  Some of my fondest memories are of those days.  Even though it was a hard time, we were a family and we could tackle the world!

I was dating a really sweet guy named Bryant who loved those kids.  He was really good to them.  They thought he was pretty cool.  One day he asked me to marry him and move to Charlotte, NC so I did and we did!  We got married in July and moved to Charlotte shortly thereafter.  The kids went to Sharon Elementary.  We lived in an apartment until we figured out where we wanted to live.  It was a happy time.  I was in design school at Winthrop.  I had an hour drive everyday.  I always arranged my schedule so that I could pick the kids up from school.  It was really hard on me but I loved what I was doing, loved Bryant and my kids, so we were all happy.  Eventually we bought a house and moved to our current location.  It was fun fixing up the rooms for the kids.  We finally had space to spread out.  Life was good….(continued tomorrow)

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