Tuesday, August 24, 2010

This weekend we took everything of Zachary's out of the baby room...his certificate of life, molds of his hands and feet, locks of his dark hair, the blue, knit blanket we held him in, baby boy clothes, pictures of the day he was born, and hundreds and hundreds of cards. I placed them in Rubbermaid bins (carefully-selected, practically indestructible ones) and they found their new home on the top shelf of our bedroom closet.

As we packed up our son's belongings, my heart ached and I could barely swallow. At one point, Shaun and I made eye contact, and I had to look away to avoid becoming hysterical. I just kept thinking, "This really happened? This is my life? Without my son?"

I know they're just things. They are not my baby boy. He's been gone for 15 long months now. They are not even my memories. Those are kept in a sacred place deep inside the heart of a mama and in the recesses of my mind. But they are physical reminders of a life that was...a life that changed my own forever...a life that I can no longer share in.

And so we live in this place of irresolvable tension. It feels like beginning a new chapter with the previous one left unfinished. As we prepare for this little girl to join our family, we celebrate. I praise God for the chance to carry her every, single day. Each time I get to watch my belly dance as she wiggles around. Every time I wake up at 3am to stumble to the bathroom. Every night as her daddy talks to her and kisses my belly. But we welcome our baby girl into our home and our hearts with this ever-present reminder that our family is missing someone...someone I'm missing desperately.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So, I just had to write this down so that I can remember and chuckle about it years down the road. :-)

My biggest pet peeve of the month?

When someone who knows our story learns that I'm pregnant and says excitedly, "Oh, congratulations!" And then, just as quickly, their expression changes to a furrowed brow and they add, "I sure hope this one works out...(likes it's a teenage dating relationship)...(awkward pause as they stare at my belly)...oh, I'm sure this one will work out..." (as if they're reassuring themselves)...(another awkward pause and then I change the subject).

The first time it happened, I though it was a really strange thing to say...and then these awkward interactions started occurring frequently!

I know it's sincere, but if a family goes through the tragedy of losing their teenage son, you don't say, "Oh, I hope your other children don't die, too"!

People are funny. :-) It makes me think about all of the dumb things I've said to someone after they've gone through something tragic....hmmm....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

There have been numerous times in the past couple of weeks when the loss of my son has been so "punch-you-in-the-gut" that it has felt like I said goodbye and kissed Zachary's face one last time just yesterday. There hasn't been any real reason or rhyme to it. No triggers I can identify or patterns in my emotions. I've just missed him. And the sorrow has swept over me in waves.

I listened to a sermon this evening by Bill Hybels, who pastors at Willow Creek Church in Illinois, titled "Grieving with Hope." It was based on 1Thessalonians 4:13: "For we grieve not as those who have no hope."

It was an excellent reminder that, not only did God guarantee that we would walk through horrific circumstances in our lives, but that grief takes time, and in order to be made whole again, we have to give it time. So often I wish I could just "get over it" and stop feeling sad, but that's not how this works.

I would strongly encourage you to listen to this message if you've recently experienced a loss or know someone who has and want to be a great support to them. You can go to willowcreek.org, click on "Watch Messages" on the right-hand side, and find "Grieving with Hope" in the sermons from May 2010. (Sorry, it won't let me link it on here...)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Life is going really well!

This sweet baby girl is active and growing strong and healthy, and my anxiety level is relatively low. I can't believe that she will be here in less than 4 months.

We got away on vacation to the lake last week and had an awesome time with family and friends.

Work's going well. We're still praying for full-time employment for Shaun before this little girl arrives, but God continues to provide for our needs. He is faithful.