Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thankful

I have been asked-
If you could have chosen for Jonasen to be a singleton so that you would not know the pain of losing a child, would you?


It's an easy question. One that I can answer without skipping a beat.
No.

Jonasen grew with his brother. My heart grew for Jonasen and his brother. For them, I am thankful.

It is an odd thing to say that I am thankful, so I feel the need to clarify. I am not thankful that I never was able to see the color of their eyes, soothe their cries while holding them to my breast, laugh at them as my heart burst with pride... because those are things I will never have.

But early on in this journey, I made some conscious decisions. I decided that I would thank God for what I do have, because for twenty minutes on that fall night, the doctor had told me what I didn't have. He told me that I had lost them both. But he was wrong, and for that I am thankful.

I am thankful that Andrew and E have made me pause. I can see the beauty around me, and I know there is a God. And I know He has my children. Prior to being their mother, life went fast. They have allowed me to slow, to remember, and to be thankful.

For every second, every day, every moment that their heart beat in me was a miracle. I am saddened that for some they didn't even have that- though they dreamed of it still.

Driving home from church today, I was quiet. Thinking of all that I am so thankful for- my sweet angels included- when I thought of him. Wondered how he was. It had been years.



I remember hearing about it. A man had lost his wife and son. She had died in childbirth. I remember being at a loss. A complete and utter loss. I spent two days thinking about him non-stop and finally grabbed a pen, looked in the phone book, found his name and penned a card. I felt I had to let him know, that I was thinking of him, praying. Though my words seemed so small, I had to do something. I signed the return address, "A Stranger Who Cares".


Two days later, my phone rang. The voice on the other end was one I did not recognize. When he said his name though, my heart stopped. For I had just written his name on an envelope. After stating his name, he said, "You were wrong. You are not a stranger." As we spoke, I learned that he lived next door to a friend growing up. Suddenly I pictured a young blond boy with a head full of curls. I remembered.


He spoke, and I listened. Tears streamed down my face as he spoke of his wife. She was so excited. It was their first child and she was beautiful. Pregnancy suited her and she glowed when she entered the room. He remembered how she looked that morning, the look on her face. She was concerned. She could not use the bathroom and so late in pregnancy, she found it odd.


They went to the hospital and it was there that they learned. She was sick. Something was terribly wrong and there was rushing and efforts made. He stayed with her still. And then they told her. The baby was gone. He told me of the tear that fell from her eyes. He knew she'd be going too. She could not let her baby go alone. And she did.


I found it hard to breathe. The way he described- it was the ultimate love story. He spoke of how he imagined them together. He never did see his son. He could have, but figured he should stay with his mother, in the place that had been a safe haven for him for those days, months, and moments when he kicked, and grew and listened to their voices, felt their love. They were buried together.

And though his world had suddenly changed more than anything I could imagine, he spoke so highly of his wife's love for their son. In that moment, he did not focus on his grief, he focused on her love. He was so proud. He was so thankful. For she was grace, she was beauty, she was an amazing mother.

So this week, as I reflect and think about all that is good in the world. I think not of loss and sorrow- but what can be left in spite of it. I think of strength, of healing, of grace. I hope that it finds you this season.

And I hope that despite your sorrow, you can look to those heavens, know there is love- know they are safe- and know they are there- just a whisper away.


Thank you Andrew.
Thank you E.

You have opened my eyes to a grace that is given so freely that sometimes I feel that it overflows to those around me. You have made me a member of a community where I have met the most amazing and inspiring people. You have changed my life.

For the Better.

And for that, I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dear God.

Dear God,

Today we were talking (as You and I often do) on my way into work. It was such a beautiful sunrise and the way the sun broke through the fog was breathtaking- I sometimes lack words. And I did- silence- but the tears said it all and I know you read my heart, felt my exhale. Of course it made me pause- and made me think of him, of them, of You.

I sometimes wonder, why me. Not why you chose to give me Andrew or E, or why you chose to take them away (though that of course is a question...) but I was thinking about my faith, and I wondered, "Why me?"

When I listen to others who are struggling with You, angry with You, crushed with You... I nod. I understand fully and completely. I know that You nod too. You've felt it too. You felt it when it was me.

But I sometimes wonder why me? Why was I able to be so angry with You, scream at You, and then in moments feel that sweet release? Feel as if You scooped me up off that floor and held me. Feel as if You carried me. Why me? Why not them?

I wish somehow I could tell them to wait. That it's ok. That You will be there for them tomorrow, in a year, or in a decade. I wish somehow they knew that the best thing about You is that no matter how angry we get, how furious... You are always there waiting, feeling what we feel, ready to embrace us again, and carry us.

So tonight Lord, there is someone out there. Someone somewhere who is ready. They are beaten and battered and they have nothing left. I pray that You would find them and scoop them up off that floor, like You did me, on so many dark nights.

And if they aren't ready for You, I pray that You would send them someone. Someone to listen and feel. For a child's absence can feel so suffocating, so lonely, even though You are right beside us.

I feel Your peace tonight. I pray that they feel it too. If only for tonight. Sometimes that is enough.

Amen.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Soup for the Soul

This morning as my children were eating breakfast, I ran upstairs to get something I had forgotten. I noticed that Jonasen has left the light on and so I stepped in to turn it off. It was then that I glanced at Jonasen's fish tank and noticed that his beloved fish, Rocky, was dead.

I didn't say anything at all. I simply went downstairs, kissed my children goodbye thanked my mother for watching them and left for work. I phoned my mother when I got to the car. I told her the news and asked her to take care of Rocky after she got the kids on the school bus. She did.

I thought about Rocky all day. I thought about Joe. I dreaded breaking the news to him and ran a million ways that I might tell him, through my mind.

There wasn't a good time to break the news to Joe. While playing after dinner I finally couldn't take it anymore. "Joe," I said. "I have some sad news. Rocky died." "He did?" To my surprise, Joe didn't seem very upset. I breathed a sigh of relief and said that perhaps we could get a new fish soon, since he really did such a wonderful job taking care of Rocky while he was alive.

Our night continued as usual.

And then I heard it. Sobs. Coming from Joe's room. I ran up the stairs and saw him. Head on his dresser next to an empty tank. Sobs. I gathered him in my arms and carried my seven year old to the glider in his room and just held him as we cried.

I remembered. I went back to the emptiness of the room. The crib being gone, and the chair. I remember how it sent me into uncontrollable sobs. Uncontrollable heartache. I watched him cry and I knew how that felt. And while it was 'just' a fish. Sad is sad and my dear son's heart was breaking.

Joe couldn't talk. He tried, but the words wouldn't form. And so we prayed. We thanked God for Rocky the fish. We thanked God that he was such a good fish to Joe and we asked God to take good care of Rocky. And that is when Joe's sister asked if maybe God could give Andrew Joe's fish... perhaps he would like to watch a blue Betta. Suddenly I had an image of another seven year old, head in his hands as he watched a blue Betta flutter and glide. I wondered if Andrew would have liked a fish. If he would have chosen a blue Betta like Joe's... Another question I will never know.

And as my mind was going to that place, Joe's sobs subsided and he said, "Mom? Do you think I could write about it?" I was so completely shocked that for a moment, all I could do was nod.

Joe has no idea that I have been writing letters to his brother. He has no idea that it was through my writing, my letters to Andrew, that I found my way. It was through my writing that I learned about my grief, found my way, found my peace.

And so I watched as Joe took his pencil and began to write. He wrote in silence for a while, drawing pictures and then forming his thoughts into words. As he began tears steamed down his face still, but I watched as after a while his breathing calmed and his pencil flowed. I watched as a smile crept across his face, remembering... dreaming...

He found soup for his soul in the form of a pencil.
And tonight I found soup for my soul in the form of a seven year old writer.