Years after a 6-year-old boy died and left a blue stain on the carpet, his mom made a heartbreaking discovery. Now, she is appealing to all parents, hoping they will read this.
Heather Duckworth is a mom who knows all too well the challenges mothers face and how exhausting it can all be. Their work is never done. There’s laundry to do, homework to check, dinner to make, and a house to clean. With all the joys motherhood brings, plenty of frustrations come along with it. However, Heather has a crucial reminder for mothers who feel like they are always running out of time and patience.
Heather’s insight came following an unimaginable tragedy when she lost her son, but it would be years later after she had her daughter that things would become clear to her. Oddly, it happened on a night she was cleaning up a mess. Her daughter, Heather’s fifth child, had dropped slime on the carpet, leaving a stain for Heather to try to scrub from the surface. Feeling annoyed like most of us would, she began to tackle the chore while muttering under her breath. Then, suddenly, she was taken back to another stain — “The Blue Stain” — and her perspective suddenly changed.
Fourteen years prior, before her daughter was born, Heather was the mom of two-year-old triplets and a four-year-old little boy. It was a rough time, trying to get four active boys to bed. Life seemed to be a constant tornado of activity and non-stop chaos with four children who were all so young. Spending most of her time chasing her kids, Heather remembers, “My hands were full, but so was my heart.”
Then, on one particular evening, as she struggled to get her boys fed, bathed, and to bed, things seemingly went from bad to worse for the worn out mom. Trying to manage her children’s needs while cleaning up after them as the kids blasted music, running around singing and dancing, full of energy, things were about to come to a turning point. This would be the last time that this kind of atmosphere would prevail in the house for quite awhile for several reasons.
Amid the chaos, Heather looked down at the carpet, where she saw a large blue ink stain. Glancing up from the unsightly disaster, Heather saw one of the triplets, Jacob, standing nearby with a broken pen in his hand. It was from that broken pen that ink had been smeared all over the carpet as well as Jacob’s pajamas, his body, and just about everything else in the room. With her patience already at its limit, Heather lost it.
“I instantly felt so upset as I grabbed my son and took him to the bathroom to clean him up and my husband started scrubbing those bright blue stains on our carpet. Tears of frustration stung my eyes. I was just so tired. And mad. Like really, really angry. I wasn’t mad at my son – who was as blue as a Smurf – but upset with myself for leaving that pen out where my toddler could reach it,” Heather wrote in a post on the Facebook page Love, Faith & Chaos. “We had only lived in this house for six months and now the carpet was completely ruined. We scrubbed that stain for an hour that night, but yet it remained.”
Later, Heather and her husband even hired professional cleaners, but it was no use. The stain persisted and continued to get on Heather’s nerves, annoying her every time she happened to lay eyes on it. “It made me feel angry and it made me feel like such a failure for leaving out the pen where my young son could reach it. That blue stain was just a big fat negative in my life. I hated it,” Heather recalled. Those frustrations would all disappear, however, when the family faced a single, tragic, life-altering moment.
Jacob, the little boy who had broken the pen and created the stain, was later diagnosed with cancer. And, two years following the heart-shattering news, Jacob was gone — but his blue stain remained. “It was still there . . . and now . . . it was a constant reminder of my son. It was a constant reminder of my frustration over something so trivial . . . something so unimportant in the scheme of life,” Heather admitted. The stain was a constant reminder of so many things for this grieving mom.
That blue stain was a constant reminder that life is messy, but that’s what makes it worth living.
A constant reminder to not sweat the small stuff.
A constant reminder that “things” aren’t important, but people are.
A constant reminder that accidents happen.
A constant reminder to let go of the little things and hang on tight to what is important.
Heather now calls that mess a “blessing in disguise” and admits that she would live with a million blue ink stains if it meant she could have one more day with her son. Although she continues to clean up after her children, she now does so while also thinking about the time she spent in the hospital with her little boy. That time made her realize that parents should not become so absorbed and stressed about everything happening around them that they forget to enjoy the little things in life that sometimes appear frustrating.
The dirt in life is just a reminder that we have lived. We had children, and we raised them, through the good, the bad, and the ugly. We loved, grew, and learned. Remember this the next time you are faced with sticky hands, spilled milk, or yet another load of neverending laundry. It’s only normal to feel like we’re running out of patience now and then, but that’s when we need to stop, take a deep breath, and take it all in because one day, when they are gone, hopefully with families of their own, we are going to miss this.