Grief and Loss

On Your Second Birthday…

My son turns 2 today.

2 years old…big round giggling bellies, smiling, adventuring (perhaps a bit too much at times), running around, hugs that melt your heart and  “ I wuv yooo’s” that make my world go ’round.

My son turns 2 today.

But I don’t get to enjoy the toddling feet or big round bellies. I don’t get to watch him eat his cake today. I don’t get to see the amazement and awe in his eyes at the shiny balloons. I don’t get to take him to lunch- just him and me. I don’t get to feel the hugs with little arms so tightly squished against my skin. I don’t get to hear him say “ I wuv yooo” today.

“Why?”  You ask…


Because my son turns 2 in heaven today.

The angels get to chase him ‘round streets of gold. They get to help him down from climbing the pearly gates. They get to see the amazement and joy in his eyes when they present him with shiny balloons made from puffy, white, silver-lined clouds.

It is not I that can feel his arms hug me tight, but Jesus himself. It is Jesus who gets to hold him on his lap and  whisper into his ear “ I love you” ;and then hear his small sweet voice return with an “ I wuv yooo too”.

My son turns 2 today.

It is not the birthday I would have liked to have for him. My heart still breaks as I look around at the image of us sitting in a cemetery, balloons and cake surrounding us…and no little 2 year old there to enjoy it with us. Instead, we sit next to a headstone with a single date on it- April 20, 2015. It cannot hug us. It cannot adventure with us. It cannot say “ I wuv yoo”. It cannot express awe and joy at the sight of the balloons. It is not my son. It is only a place marker for his life here on earth. A life so short but so incredibly valued.

My son turns two today.

And my heart aches and breaks in the moments of today because I wish God’s plan had been different. I wish I could snuggle him in my lap and read him stories. I wish I could hug him tight. I even wish I could chase him as he adventures about. But I have learned that there is great purpose even in the moments of life we do not understand. And  I have learned that the most sacred of prayers is not my will be done, but rather, God’s.

My son turns 2 today.

It was part of God’s plan for me to get to meet Philip and hold him on his very first birthday for the whole day without having to set him down. I got to see his tiny fingers and toes. I got to feel his soft skin. I got to brush my hand over his hair. I got to experience my son and imagine the life he could have had. I got to hold him and so many others do not get that opportunity.

But, it was also a part of God’s plan for my little boy to celebrate the rest of his birthdays in heaven. It was a part of God’s plan for me to begin a life journey into a mother’s worst nightmare- the death of her child. It was part of God’s plan to use my son to help and encourage others, to help understand the aches of their hearts, and to help them walk a very treacherous and lonely road. There are times, moments- and probably will always be- when I wish I didn’t know this road. But God has used it in so very many ways that I myself could never imagine. He had a plan, even in my pain.

My son turns 2 today.

My journey is not over yet. On days like today, it feels like oh so fresh a wound. And though my heart breaks that it has already been two years, I know that my son is celebrating the most amazing day in heaven with our risen Lord Jesus. He gets to bask in the glory that we wait decades for. And I look forward to the day I get to hold him in my arms again, and whisper “ I love you” into his ear…and this time, see him lean his head way back, hair falling away from his face, and watch his eyes lock in with mine and hear the most beautiful little voice say “ I wuv yooo too mama”.

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