“Thy will be done.
I know you see me.
I know you hear me, Lord.
Thy will be done.”
Sweet Job. Nearly six years baby boy, since I held you. Six years that the world has moved on without you in it.
I’m sitting here, alone in my car, eating food I shouldn’t be eating, dreading the fact it’s September. Every year, I can’t hide from it.
These days, I go months without the breath-stealing pain. Most days I can think of you, mention you in conversations, tell your story, without it triggering that deep emptiness you left.
But there are always those triggers that I least expect. Those are the ones that make me miss you more than I can even comprehend. When I’m watching a show while folding laundry and a mama with an 8 month is sitting on her couch at her husband’s funeral. Someone offers to hold the squirming baby, but instead she holds him tighter and buries her face in the baby’s neck and quietly sobs.
I know how that feels. To need to cling to the life around you as another life slips away.
I know Jarvis doesn’t remember it, but he was 9 months old when you were born sleeping. And there were so many days that I sat, alone, on the floor in that house we moved into just so we would have room for you. I would sit and hold on as tightly as I could while I sobbed and my precious 9 month old giggled and patted the tears streaming down my face. He would laugh and then finally pull away to crawl away to play. And the emptiness inside me would echo without you, Job.
But his giggles are part of what helped me carry on without you, Job. One of my most vivid memories of the day we found out you were gone are his giggles. We had just been to the very short ultrasound. I saw the still line over your heart, but they wouldn’t tell us anything. They said we would need to come back tomorrow to see the midwife. Barely holding on to the last shred of hope, I insisted we speak to her today. As we sat in the waiting room at the OBs, watching the big bellies walk by, i was trying to not breakdown, not yet, not until someone told me for sure. When we finally went in, after hours, the midwife saw my red, splotchy chest and face, my nearly hyperventilating breath, and asked if I was ok. I told her I was afraid something was wrong with the baby. She placed her hand on my knee and said the words that changed my entire life. “The baby is gone. There’s no heartbeat.”
In that moment, as I sobbed and clutched Jarvis, he patted my tears and giggled. What incredible grace for Lord to give me that precious, giggling baby to pull me from the depths of my grief over losing you, Job. Everyday, as I felt the emptiness of my soul echo without you, He put that giggling baby right back in my lap.
He taught me that in the midst of sorrow there is joy. He taught me that we must endure the greatest sufferings of this world to appreciate the joy, the blessings. He taught me that my children, the 5 with me and the 3 with Him, none of them were ever mine. They are but His, on loan.
And when I hit a trigger now, when I find myself, in the middle of a laundry basket, unable to see for the tears that fills my eyes, unable to breathe for the sobs that fill my chest, He puts another blessing in my lap. Another giggling baby to pat my cheeks and laugh. Another toddler to beg to be picked up, another child requesting a snack, a big kid skipping excitedly to show me their latest lego creation.
I don’t have you, Job. I can’t watch you learn to read or ride a bike. I don’t know your favorite color or who you look like. I don’t know what your favorite foods are or how you like your hamburger. I don’t know if your personality is like the bears or the buddies or something all your own. I don’t know you.
All I know is the fading memory of the feel of your tiny legs kicking me. The cleft of your chin, your big eyes, how you loved when I ate sweets. And I know how it feels to walk around eith a piece of you missing everyday. I know the pain.
And because I know the pain of living without you, I also know the joy of life.
I have 5 beautiful, intelligent, healthy, frustrating, challenging, life-giving kids filling my life.
So thank you again, my sweet precious boy, for teaching me the greatest lessons of my life. Loss. And life.
I’ll let myself grieve you again this month. I’ll let myself feel the triggers and relive the dark moments. And I’ll let the others pat my cheeks and giggle. And I’ll take a deep breath and live my life more patiently, more compassionately, more fully, more Christ-filled when I remember you.
Til the day I can hold you again,