Grief and Loss

Three Tidal Waves 

Three Years too long…

I sit here with an aching, bleeding, broken heart just as I did three years ago.

 The pain is fresh. The disbelief once again resurfaces and surrounds me. 

How could a baby, a perfect little baby… healthy, strong, kicking… fine for 7 1/2 months…suddenly… die? It doesn’t make sense. 

I can’t imagine it ever will.

 Losing my son will never, ever be OK on any level to my aching broken heart. The “Why?” will never have an answer- and even if it did one day, it’s not going to make him all better. 

How has it been three years? How have I survived for another 1,095 days … I have no idea by my own strength and yet know it has all been from God’s strength that I am still earth-side. 

It has been the three hardest years of my life – by far. I have become a person that I wouldn’t recognize if I’d seen her in the ‘before’. I am scared to death of losing someone else. I am harsh when I want to be gentle. I am angry when I want to be calm. I don’t know how to not be angry on some level. Angry that my son died. Angry at all the moments I see around me that my Philip missed… and I missed as well. Angry at the piggyback rides missed, the brother to brother tackle fights, the boys chasing their sisters, climbing trees, playing hide and seek… the list goes on. 

I don’t know how to act in public. There is always an awkwardness now. How to answer the inevitable “mommyhood” questions like “how many children do you have?” 
My heart screams “count him in!” “Say his name!” And I pause… and usually don’t… Because when I do my heart shatters all over again. The pain swells and the tears drip hot against the edges of my eyes, threatening to fall down my cheeks. And then the worst part happens, in my broken and struggling state…silence returns in the room surrounding me. Eyes that scream their apologizes and words that just don’t come. A few utter “I’m sorry’s” so quietly it can barely be heard. And after some awkward amount of silence, someone bravely moves on to the next person or changes the subject and we all try to forget the awful moment that just happened. 

But my heart doesn’t just ‘move on’ as the other moms can. It remains broken for a time… that day, that week and I relive the moments we had and the many more moments we missed. And I often wonder if listening to my heart… saying his name…was it worth all the pain it’s caused again? My attitude at home changes. I am hurting again and my living children don’t know why… and how can I explain it? I say “mommy’s heart is just hurting.” It’s the only thing that comes close to the truth that they can understand. And then by ask “why?” And how do you explain that?

Three years is already too long to have seen his peaceful face. To have held his solid, strong weight in the crook of my arm. It is too long to have felt the softness of his skin against mine. It is too long to have felt both love and joy and heartbreak overflow within me simultaneously. 

It’s been too long since I saw his curly dark blonde hair plastered to his head, as newborn hair does. Too long since I saw his ever so tiny and delicate fingernails and piggy toes. It’s been too long since my lips kissed his forehead but were met with cold where there should have been warm. It’s been three years too long since I got to experience my little boy Philip. 

It will always be too long.

However many years it’s been.

I looked at a photo today of the day before and all I see is a life of the past: The innocent smiles. The happiness of my children. Their unbrokenness. My unbrokenness. Joy before Sorrow. A life is barely know now. 

I’d never change the experience of having Philip for the short one we did- in exchange for never experiencing his life… but oh how I wish every day we had more. I know God is good and I know He has purpose in this. I’ve seen beauty in the ashes over these last years. But knowing that in my mind, and loving my son in the depths of my heart reveal different desires of the heart and mind. 

I’ll always want more. And eternity seems so far away to wait to hold him again. 

His heaven day comes and my heart stops and hopes that time will stop with it- perhaps even rewind. But it doesn’t. I look at photos of my precious little boy and try to remember every little detail that I can. I try to experience even a little bit of him again… though I know it’ll never be enough.

 It’s the day we had to say goodbye, before we even got to say hello. 

Heaven days are hard. Hard to really celebrate, though I know I should. It’s the day he met Jesus, gained his angel wings, found eternal happiness and joy. But it’s also the darkest day of my life because I went from expecting a healthy baby to hearing words I’ll never forget. Words that changed my life for all time. It’s the day I broke and became someone I didn’t even know. And I’m still working on figuring out who I am and how to live broken. 

Birthdays are a bit easier because I feel like there is something to celebrate for me, for our family. April 20th, it’s the day I met him and held him and loved him physically. The only day I got to hold him. 

So much joy in that day, albeit mixed with sorrow. 

It’s been three years too long and I don’t even know how I’ve gotten here. The pain wells up fresh and the sutures of the broken pieces of my heart loosen. The scars remain and they hurt to a depth that I’ve not let myself feel in a while. The cares of the world quiet (even while they scream) and my mind blurs as I feel just as lost as I did on that day 3 years ago. Time stands still. I feel numb. 

It all comes back and floods over me like a tidal wave. The kind of wave you see coming and tell your feet to run… but instead there you stand, feet glued to the floor. You watch  the wave swell bigger and bigger and scream to yourself to “get out of there!” But you can’t move. You know it’s gonna hit. You can’t escape it. You see the wave curl and you know have no chance of fighting and so you must let it take you and throw you and spin you until it finally lets go of you and you float to the surface, half conscious, hurting, once again broken, and desperate for air… clarity…peace. That’s this week for me. 

And all I can say is “So let the wave fall.”

And long for the day I’ll resurface and find the sweet release of a deep breath of fresh air again waiting for me as my Savior once again pulls me from the deep waters and holds me tight, and tells me that somehow I’m gonna make it through this… again.  

When the world says ‘give up’… hope whispers ‘try one…more….time’.(Unknown)

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