Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back Home

Today is my first day of "daily life" since Samuel was born. It's just me and Caleb and Joel. We're back from the beach, Bryan is back at work, and my mom is back in Texas. And I am Mom once again -- responsible for my children, in charge, and running the household. It feels a bit overwhelming at moments, but some times it just feels like life again.

Caleb went off to preschool this morning, and for the first time ever, I had a morning with just me and Joel. We went for a walk, and the whole time I was pushing the stroller, I was fighting this inner voice of panic. I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I was only responsible for one child -- and that the one child was Joel. Back in July when I would picture the future, it always held a degree of craziness. Trying to care for three little boys, juggling a baby's schedule with Caleb and Joel's, figuring out how to do preschool pick-ups and drop-offs with Samuel and Joel in tow, etc. It never held an image of me and Joel alone and on a walk. So this morning I kept thinking I was forgetting someone, had neglected to care for someone, and was seriously dropping the ball. It was the first time I had the "where's the baby?!?" panic. I keep feeling like our family is incomplete, like 4 people is too small, and we're missing someone. The truth is we ARE incomplete. Our family of 5 is separated, and we feel too small because we are.

Today, for the first time, I got the question I've been dreading since Samuel's health turned really south. The cleaning crew was here, thanks to our many friends at North Point Community Church, and one of the ladies asked me, "So how's the baby?" I had to answer the words I've been so afraid to utter: "He died." She clapped her hand to her mouth and looked truly horrified. I welled up big time and tried to think of where I could run away to, but there was no escape since Joel was sitting at the table eating lunch, and there were two other ladies upstairs cleaning the bedrooms. So, I had to control the wave of emotion swelling up in me and continue on in the chit-chat that followed. I did it, which makes me think I can do it again the next time I'm asked. I'm glad the inevitable first time is behind me.

Tonight will mark the point at which more time has passed since Samuel died than the time he spent alive. Somehow that feels significant to me and Bryan. It's a sad marker for me and makes Samuel and the time we had with him feel farther away. It's already ebbing away from me, and I hate that. I know no matter how much time has passed since he was here, the time we had with him was precious and eternal, but it's still a difficult thing to watch time lope by at its quick, unfeeling pace.

While we were at the beach (again, a wonderful time to be together as a family and a MUCH needed reprieve from daily life), we found out the results of Samuel's genetic tests. Everything came back "absolutely normal." This was a big relief to me as I was afraid (and still am, to be honest) about future children enduring the same things our sweet Samuel did. And I'm pretty close to terrified of enduring them again myself. But whenever I think about what's ahead and whether or not we'll have another unhealthy child, I am reminded that I never thought I could survive losing Samuel, and God surprised me. He was everything I needed to walk through the month of August, and He's been everything I need to walk through each day since. So whatever path is ahead, I can trust He will be enough. However, I still have my fearful moments, and these results helped to ease them.

Caleb and Joel continue to process the loss of their baby brother. This morning I was changing the crib sheet in Samuel's room because I needed the mattress pad under it. Joel was crestfallen to see me disturbing Samuel's crib: "That's Samuel's, Momma! Why you do that? That's Samuel's!" And last night when I tucked Caleb into bed, he burst into tears out of the blue. As I pulled him into my lap, he said, "I am sad about Samuel. I'm sad he died. I miss him." He sobbed in my arms for a long while. It's so heartbreaking to see my kids' hearts break. I am praying for God's great wisdom to help us shepherd Caleb and Joel's hearts, to enable them to feel free to mourn and be sad but never make them feel like they're "supposed" to be sad, to point them to Jesus and His goodness and trustworthiness, and to draw them into God's comfort and presence. It would take scores of wisdom I don't have to shepherd Caleb and Joel well through their grief even if I wasn't blinded by my own sorrow. It will take the Lord's supernatural presence to do so in the midst of our grief.

Once again I find myself at the feet of Jesus, depending on Him for the strength, joy, and courage to move forward and to face what this day holds. He continues to be my portion, my rock, and my good, good God. Is it weird that I am amazed -- truly -- at His goodness as I navigate the paths of grief? He is so very real, so very present, so very strong, and so very tender with me. Can I say yet again, IT IS A GOOD GOD WE SERVE!


  1. I'm sorry that you're having to experience those moments of "panic" feeling like you've forgotten something, the inevitable questions from people who don't know what has happened and shepherding your boys through their own grief process. Will pray for continued strength as you adjust to "life as usual" and yet are not "doing well".

  2. Thanks for sharing your heart. We look forward to seeing you guys tomorrow. I promise not to ask, 'how are you doing'!