Levi’s Journal- Journey from pain to purpose

How many children do you have? 

Some days are easier than others.

I am a photographer, but I am a wife and mother first. I would like to start sharing about our journey: Losing Levi, gaining life.

Many friends and followers would like to know how we lost, dealt with, and survived the death of our 22-month-old little boy, Levi Marnus Strauss. I feel it is time to document this magnificent story. Because it was a magnificent, miracle story that should be heard and spread for all to hear. Because someone, somewhere needs to hear this.

Telling this tale does consume me. It brings so much sadness. However, simultaneously gives Levi’s life a purpose. When meeting new people the question often pops up: “How many kids do you have?”

The room fills with silence as my friends who know us and know our story wait in anticipation for my answer.

I pause.

Trying to formulate the best short description of how to explain that we have 3 children. One in heaven and two on earth. That: “Our first, Levi passed away at 23 months. He is in heaven, and then we have these two rascals. Leo and Lex.”

However, as I’m busy finishing my sentence I see the Mother’s eyes fill with despair and sadness hearing about our loss. Not even hearing that we have two other healthy kids. Our sad story has shattered the whimsical atmosphere in the room and left everyone uncomfortable.

I then soon start to justify and try to explain our intricate story within two sentences. I try to lessen the heavy weight of the word “Belated”. However, everyone knows that once that glass bomb shatters, every moment following is insignificant. No matter what I talk about they all think about Levi. Our loss. Our suffering and how excruciating that must be for us.

They look at me differently. They look at me with saddened eyes. They wipe away the tears and smile simultaneously.

They are confused by my bubbly personality, and how I tell this tale without crying. The questions start popping up in their mind: How can she be so happy? How did she find happiness after she lost her child? I would never be able to survive something like that. “You are so strong,” they say.

The truth is that I’m not that strong. I did not have a choice in any of it. We were given a special needs miracle boy who carried a very rare gene that made him very ill. Our hope for him was a long life filled with purpose. However, God’s plans differed.

You two will endure something in your life that feels like you won’t get through it. You will plead to God for relief. It will consume you. Your life will change because of it.

In a good or bad way.

The point of my blog entry today is that you have a choice in the way you process the trauma. You can use the pain for a purpose or use the pain to punish yourself and others. Loss is inevitable in life. It comes in multiple forms, and you need to decide how you are going to channel these emotions and the power that comes with loss.

Sharing our traumatic story about Levi comforts me to know that we can help others who have or will experience a loss of some sort. So when you’re crying on the floor because of losing something or someone remember that when you rise up from mourning, use the pain for a purpose.