Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring and Samuel

I've been surprised these days about what's made me sad.  Spring is one of my favorite times of year, but as the weather has warmed up and the sun has shown itself, I've been flooded with memories of last spring, and they always leave me mournful. 

One of my favorite things to do in all the world is read outside.  I am an avid reader (majoring in English and theater and teaching high school English sprung out of my love of reading), and I love to be outside in beautiful weather.  So when you combine reading and lovely weather, it's about as perfect as it gets for me.  Every spring I spend hours on end (during naptime, mostly) reading books in our backyard.  This is only our second spring in our house, so I only have one year of memories reading in this particular backyard.  And those memories are of Samuel.  Reading time was my time of day with just Samuel -- when my rambunctious almost 2 year old and sweet 3 1/2 year old were nestled in their beds.  It was a time when I looked at my belly and felt Samuel beginning to kick.  It was a time I bonded with him and imagined him joining our family, when I wondered if he was a he or a she and would rub my belly to tell him I loved him already.  I associate spring with being pregnant, with a growing belly.

Exactly a year ago I was 17 1/2 weeks pregnant.  Samuel was just starting to move in me, I had my first stranger ask if it was a boy or girl, and we were going back and forth on whether or not to find out his gender in a couple of weeks.  I know the book I was reading at the time; I wasn't very fond of it.  It was about a baby born with Down Syndrome in the 1950's.  My mom was in town for her spring break, and she was going to keep the boys for a few days while Bryan and I got away for a long weekend.  I vividly remember closing the book after reading a few chapters and going inside to call my OB's office to be sure my AFP test was normal and didn't suggest our baby had Downs.  I wanted to go on our weekend getaway without the fear of Down Syndrome hanging over my head.  I got ahold of the nurse, and she told me everything looked normal.  Little did I know what was around the corner in just a couple short weeks. 

I think the thing that has caught me so off-guard as spring blossoms around me is my own reflection in the mirror.  My freckled face makes me think of being pregnant.  For some reason, I freckle more when pregnant, and so though I'm not as freckly as last year, the dark spots on my nose and cheeks and forehead draw my mind to Samuel.  The reflection I see in the mirror is the one I think of as carrying Samuel.  And when I look down at my freckly legs, I can't help but be drawn back to a year ago, when life was so hopeful, and Samuel was the child I had begged God to give me.  It hurts my heart to look in the mirror, and that is something I never expected.  To be honest, I don't know what to do with it. 

Friends and grief resources have told me that the seasons and changes in weather -- particularly the season in which you lost someone or experienced pain -- bring back the pain in fresh and difficult ways.  I have anticipated this about August and even about July and September.  But I never expected to face it in March already.  I wonder if the next 7 months will be like this -- remembering a part of pregnancy or a doctor's appointment or a scary complication because somehow the weather triggers a memory.  I guess I was prepared for the 1 year memories to commence in August, and I never considered that I also have all the months of pregnancy with Samuel to remember as well.

Though I am a bit overwhelmed by the momentum of this "remembering" grief, I am grateful that I have more than one month of memories with Samuel.  And I am grateful for Samuel.  I truly feel so blessed that I was able to carry our sweet third son, bring him into this world, and shower him with love in his short life.  His life has deepened mine, has made me a richer person, has grown me in ways I can't begin to understand, and I am thankful.  Thank you, Lord, for Samuel.


  1. I am sending my love and most ardent hopes and wishes for you, Bryan, Joel, and Caleb. I am grateful that Samuel will always be part of your lives and those of others. I know that spring time can be hard when everything is blooming and coming to life. I imagine that spring will be an intense time for your family, both difficult and meaningful in new ways. By the way, thinking of the upcoming Easter season, I am stunned by the maturity and articulateness of your little theologian Caleb! What joy.

  2. 以簡單的行為愉悅他人的心靈,勝過千人低頭禱告。........................................