I have found that when in a room full of people, even those closest to me, I tend to push my emotion downward. And it is ok. No one in my close circle pushes me to be a certain way, at a certain time or expect me to follow the norm, they know better. It is not that I am not sad or hurting that my Noah is gone, I just choose to save my emotional moments for myself (and nick of course, he is my person)
Cook Children's Medical Center put together an incredibly thoughtful and beautiful service Sunday afternoon for those families who's child died in the PICU during the last almost 2 years. Those that could make it, came, had pictures on a slide show, a candle was lit and words were spoken by medical staff and the chaplaincy dept. It was a lovely time. Doves were released in the prayer garden in honor of the children who had died. They truly put love and time into it and as a mom I was thankful and felt very loved and special.
I realized, yet again, just how different we all are, in our grief. I could look around and just wonder at how we all take loss in such different and yet meaningful ways. Grief is such a taboo subject, yet at the same time, everyone is affected by it and everyone knows someone who is dealing with it or they themselves are in the midst of it. I suppose that grief is as common as celebration. That is ok. Services such as the one we attended yesterday just don't stir my emotions, as it does others and that is fine. In many ways I swell with pride and thankfulness that my son is of the honored and he fought the good fight. I get the proud mom face on and soak it in. Those times I just don't let a lot of tears fall. The moments I find myself letting my guard down and feeling the wetness touch my cheek, are the walks down the hall, pushing the 2 in the elevator, ringing the doorbell to the PICU, walking by the cafeteria, the play place, the gift shop and front entrance. Those quiet moments of normalcy that I got used to, coming back into that context makes me weep. I weep because I miss it. Deep deep down I miss that place, the people, the smells and the long walks. I miss them because I miss the one for whom I was there for. I weep because I and especially Noah are free from all of that now. I just weep because the mix of emotions just overwhelms a momma's heart. The bittersweet taste in my mouth as Nick and I walked the familiar halls. The immediate turn to the right as I walked into the PICU to wash my hands before handing over the treats we brought. The conversations with dear dear friends, as they continue to care for little ones, endlessly. There were times before Noah died that I swore I would never go back if he died. He would have lived his entire life there, encapsulated, and I could leave it there. The second Noah died, I just wanted to stay though. I wanted to come back and I still want to go back, because, for that same reason I thought I would never come back. Noah lived there. I feel him in the halls, in the elevator, in that cold bathroom with the showers, that I had to experience far too many times. ha. I would do it all over again. I weep because walking into the hospital now, means that I'm there for someone else. (as much as I am there for myself too) I am there to love on and encourage those who did SO VERY MUCH for my baby, for myself and for my family. So many things come to mind when I walk out of Cook's. Thankfulness. Pain. Heartache. Joy. Inspiration. Empowerment. I am a better person every time I visit that place. I'm refocused and rejuvenated as a wife, mom and person in general. I want to help every single family that walks in those doors, knowing that is nearly impossible. So I am asking the Lord for what I can do for the heart families. The ones that are in the place I was this time last year. What Lord, is it, that I could do or give that would make a difference, lessen the load, care for or love on that lonely mom, nervous dad or precious sibling? I have my ideas and I pray that they come to fruition and that I will be able to see God work in it.
I know God has so many plans for our family. Sometimes, the demand of the mundane makes me forget that we are set apart, that we are still on his radar and in his hands. I forget that the plan for our family didn't end on February 22, 2013 at 10:40pm. Life didn't end there. When the dust of home gets to be too thick for my lungs, I head south on 287, go slowly down i-35 (usually) and hit I-30 where I will see blue roofs and a familiar feeling rushes over my gloomy heart. I made it through the longest year of my life, including the hardest 5 months I have ever experienced, in that place. Everything about Ft Worth (for me) is magical now. It is this special bubble. I know for those that live there, this is absolutely absurd, as I feel the same about Amarillo. So, every few months, God seems to give me the opportunity to visit and be refreshed. It might only be a few hours at a time, but it is always enough. Bubby left his mark, God made His mark on me there, and I am forever changed, grateful and will always need it. I will always need the people there, the friendships and relationships. I will always be thankful.
I'm not sure where you are in grieving, or maybe you aren't but know someone who is. Give them space. Help them find that place that inspires and refreshes and encourage them to go there, as often as needed. I'm thankful for those around me who continue to let me be me, let me grieve how I need to, and also push me to keep going in the direction of hope, grace and joy.
If you are reading this and need help with the loss of a child, I am not sure that I can be of huge assistance, but will try. There are some amazing resources that I have come upon,
Kathy Guthrie and all her books.
I am currently reading A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
This book touches not only on grief as a whole, but it is his personal experience in the loss of his wife. Incredibly honest, raw and perfectly written.
If you could, please say prayers for a little 4 month old boy from Amarillo, Harley, who is in Houston recovering from a liver transplant. He has his ups and downs and we continue to pray for him to recover and thrive.
Please pray for those families who were at the ceremony yesterday, including ours, who continue down the road of loss and grief.
Please know that if you feel you need permission to share this blog with someone, you have complete permission. It is public and I pray it ministers to those who need it. My heart and my prayer are to lift up and come alongside anyone who could use someone who is in the middle of it all still. Grief, heart moms, etc. Thank you for being someone, in my life, who supports, prays and loves me through it all. I appreciate you all.
God is faithful. He is doing good things in our life. I am waiting on Him for many things, knowing that He sees, loves and delights in us still.