The concept of time has become increasingly important to me lately. Sometimes it goes by too quickly. Sometimes it doesn’t go by quickly enough. Other times you lose track of it and can’t decide if maybe it’s a little bit of both. We wish it away or wish for more of it. I think every mom, or parent for that matter, would agree that once a child is born, the definition of time changes completely. You wish you had more of it for sleep. You wish you had less of it when they are driving you up the wall. The older they get, the more you realize that it passes as quickly as your parents always said it did. I’m reminded of the Kenny Chesney song, “Don’t Blink”. It’s true. I feel like all I’ve had time to do is blink and my little girl went from a newborn to a 1st grader. Another blink and my little boy went from snuggling in my arms to running around having light saber fights with his daddy. And even less than a blink since my dad left us. And all of that, up until now, has been tolerable. It’s natural, part of life, unchanging. But now, I can’t accept the speed at which time is passing us by. I feel like overnight I went from 33 to 34 weeks pregnant. And in what will feel like 2 nights, I’ll be at 37 weeks. And then Ethan will come. And there is NOTHING I can do to stop it.
The fear of how quickly the next 6 or so weeks are going to pass is sometimes suffocating. If I’m being honest, I think I’ve really avoided anything having to do with his birth lately. Almost like, if I don’t think about it and don’t prepare for it, it won’t happen. I know, probably sounds crazy. But when I do think about it, or start to prepare for it, I begin to head down the rabbit hole that is next to impossible to climb back out of. I haven’t packed a hospital bag yet, because how do you pack for something like that? I’ve been asked about memory making items, but how do I plan to make keepsakes for my baby that will only remind me that he’s not with us anymore? I know I need to, and I know that afterwards I’ll be thankful I did, but how do I think about it NOW? Obviously these are all rhetorical questions. The only One that will be able to give me answers to all of this will do so in His time, and will speak them directly to my heart. I know that too. But in all honesty, knowing that it will happen doesn’t make the present moment any easier. I still live in dread of what the future holds. And even as I type it, I hear Him say to me, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” My faith feels strong but weak, all at the same time.
We’ve gone through some pretty substantial “firsts” the past few weeks. Our first Thanksgiving without Dad, our only Thanksgiving with Ethan, our only Christmas tree expedition with Ethan, our first of Dad’s birthday’s without him, our first company Christmas party with him. To say these couple of months have been and will continue to be difficult is an understatement. Sometimes they feel unbearable. But I know that’s not true. I try to remind myself that as far as my Dad is concerned, he would have our tails if he saw us crying over him every minute! And as for Ethan, I’m trying to smile at every opportunity, knowing that I will cherish each of these moments for the rest of my life. I received one of the most meaningful gifts this weekend, from one of the sweetest souls I have the pleasure of calling my friend! She has suffered more infant loss than anyone I know, but has also come through it as one of the toughest women I know. She gave me a necklace that she wore through these difficult years, and was so gracious to pass on to me. It reads, “I’ll hold you in my heart… until I hold you in heaven”. I wear it on the same chain as the necklace my daddy gave me for Christmas last year. These two pendants are a constant reminder to me of the love of my Dad and the love for my son, as well as the love of others.
As I sit here, wallowing in how much my heart is hurting for myself, and my husband, and our families… I’m reminded of a family close to home who just lost their baby boy. It was completely unexpected. She went into labor, delivered her baby boy, and spent over two weeks in the hospital trying to keep the faith that he may survive it all. And at 18 days old, their angel went to be with Jesus. My heart hurt for them in a deeper way than I ever expected. Because despite the pain that we’ve endured the past 6 months, THAT is something I could never imagine having to endure. While I still believe that no one can compare their own situation to another’s, this one is just beyond what I can fathom. So as I learn my way through mourning our baby, I also mourn for theirs. It puts things into a slightly better perspective again. Still painful, but through some less gray-colored glasses. As you pray for us, please pray for this heartbroken family as well. That they may find peace beyond anything they imagined and blessed assurance that their baby touched the hearts of more people than they may ever know.