New life and new life in heaven

In the days approaching the anniversary of the day I wish had never happened, I realized that even though I wish with all my heart that Silas were here with us, a happy 13 month old boy, I have grown accustomed to carrying him in my heart. My arms still ache, but my heart is forever overflowing with love.

i carry your heart with me

I began journaling after I lost Silas. It helped me make sense of the sea of emotions I was discovering. I had never know such devastating loss before. I’ve chosen to share the following journal entry from last September because I often wonder what heaven is like. That is where my future with my son is. We are all moving forward in this life, but some of us are also moving toward reuniting with those who left us too soon, or those we never got to meet. Death has lost its sting. I have begun to realize my future does hold having Silas again. Lily always reminds us, too, that we will be with the baby we never got to meet, as well.

 

September 4, 2013

When they told me my baby’s heart had stopped beating, I felt so much pain. It was like I was giving birth to him all over again. My heart and soul were torn from my whole being. My body tensed and wrenched just as it did in labor. The intensity was incomprehensible. I could hardly breathe.

As I reflected on this moment, I wondered why his passing from this life was so similar to his coming into this life. I began to think there was a deeper complexity to God’s plan when Eve sinned and God said woman would suffer during childbirth.

Natural childbirth is excruciatingly painful. That pain faded quickly as I heard my baby cry and as he was placed in my arms. Joy replaced pain as he entered my life. When he left my life, intense pain filled my body. But, I wonder if it was followed with joy in heaven as he entered his new life.

Silas, six weeks old

This is the last photograph I took of Silas. He was exactly six weeks old here, and we lost him two days later.

 

You can read the story of how we lost our little man here.

***I purchased the above necklace from StampedbyDesign to remind me I always carry Silas in my heart. 

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He Was Braver Than I

Another month. Nine in all. Today, I remembered holding him for the last time. I remembered the questions my heart asked.

In disbelief I looked at him and thought, how did you suddenly slip away? How did your precious spirit leave your body? In my heartbreak, I didn’t understand how he could leave, because I felt as though I was dying, but my body couldn’t and wouldn’t release me.

I looked at my son, my precious baby who had only just come to us from above and realized, he was so fresh from heaven that he recognized it and accepted going home.

I could finally see that I have feared death because I have been separated from heaven and have forgotten what awaits at the end of this life. Having been in the world so long, I’ve fought against death for I feel unworthy to ever return because my sin separates me from God, even though I know the price has been paid.

In that moment of profound grief, I knew and understood Silas was okay and heaven felt so very real, so very close, and so very attainable for the first time in my life.

My son was braver than I. With the spiritual purity of a child, he recognized home. That day, my son taught me not to fear death. He showed me that heaven’s doors are wide open.

image

The Baby

My Grandpa Kevin passed away one week ago.  When I told my kids Grandpa Kevin had left us, Milo said, “But I don’t want him to be because I love him.”  Lily is always so sweet to remind us that he is alive in heaven.  🙂

God saw him getting tired,

a cure was not to be.

He wrapped him in His loving arms

and whispered, “Come with me.”

He suffered much in silence,

his spirit did not bend.

He faced his pain with courage,

until the very end.

He tried so hard to stay with us

but his fight was not in vain,

God took him to His loving home

and freed him from the pain.

(Unknown Author)

Until the past year when his health was failing, he and Grandma Ruth would travel down for the kids’ birthday parties, and we would visit them at least once a year.  My kids are so blessed to have gotten to know a great-grandparent so well, and they will continue to know Grandma Ruth in the future.

When Milo was born, they came to stay with us to take care of Lily while we were at the hospital. When Silas was born last summer, my aunt graciously offered to care for my grandpa so Grandma Ruth could come down for his birth.  She was scheduled to fly in two days before his due date (Milo made us wait a few days after his, so we weren’t expecting any different.) but he came one day before her arrival.  She came straight from the airport to the hospital to meet our Silas.

Grandma and Grandpa

Our family traveled to his funeral.  Christopher and Milo were pallbearers with the rest of the grandsons and grandsons-in-law.  My grandmother asked if I would like to play the piano for his service.  I agreed to play the prelude only because I knew I was still too emotionally raw from my own child’s funeral, not yet seven months before.  I love the songs from musicals my grandfather loved, and I am so glad I agreed to play those songs for him, even though I did not feel strong enough to do so.

My grandmother wrote down some thoughts for the minister to share at the end of the service, and below are some of those words.

In February, early in his illness, Kevin was dreaming and talking aloud like he often did, when he asked Ruth, “Can you see all the people around the room?” he stated, pointing to the ceiling.
Ruth replied, “Do you see people you know?”
“Yes,” he answered.
“What are their names?”
As he pointed to them he named, “Melvin & Olive, my parents, Dale my brother, your brother David, and the Baby.”
“Do you see anyone else you know?” Ruth asked.
“No, but lots of people.”
Ruth left the room for a second to contain herself.
When she returned Kevin asked, “Where have you been? All these people are here to celebrate. The other rooms are full too, lots of people all around so we can have a celebration. Somebody keeps carrying the baby all around!”
“A celebration?” she questioned.
“A BIG celebration!” he replied.
…On Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 at 5:05 PM there was a BIG celebration in HEAVEN and no more pain!
 

Until this was read at the service, I had not known that in the weeks before my grandpa’s death, he had seen Silas.  I was so surprised, because in the stories I have heard about people who are nearing death seeing loved ones lost, the loved ones are usually a part of their past, their earlier years, and yet, my grandfather never got to meet Silas and Silas had so recently joined our family.

Silas is surrounded by loved ones lost who are carrying him around, but when those words were read, I pictured Christopher’s mother, Silas’ grandma, holding him, just as I did the day Silas left my arms.  Now that my grandfather has finally met my baby boy, I picture him  standing tall and carrying my Silas all around heaven, especially the places that are similar to our woods and forests for my grandpa loved being out in nature.

Before my grandpa passed away, at my request, my grandma asked him to give Silas hugs and kisses and lots of love from his mama.

Moving Forward

I often think of what I want my life to look like as I move forward. Even though it seemed as if my life could have ended the day my baby died, there really is no direction other than forward, and I want to be ready to step in that direction for my children, for my husband, for myself. But, it feels differently than it used to feel.

I think about having another child, growing our family to a family of six the way I pictured it to be, and now, having experienced the worst loss imaginable, it doesn’t seem like we have just have a chance of risks that could affect anyone. All of the many risks seem way too real now that we have lived it. Miscarriage. Stillbirth. Infant loss. Childbirth complications. Sometimes I want to say to God, I’ve experienced the worst loss imaginable, please don’t give me another baby only to take my child away again–at any stage of his or her life…

And thus begins my bargaining…

Since this tragedy has happened to me, I should be immune to such possibilities in the future, because the trials in life should work like vaccines are intended to work. I want to tell God, I could never handle it if in the future I would become pregnant and it should end sadly.

But, He knows this, and He has promised to be there and catch me when I fall to pieces. I KNOW this is true…it happened to me on August 8, 2013. I am reassured that He will bring me through whatever comes my way, for He has, and He is, and He will. Because of that reassurance, I will not tell God the things which I am capable of bearing.  I do not want to make choices in my life, choices based in fear, to try to shield our family from this tragedy ever occurring again, for if I did I would sever the opportunity for great blessings to come.

I am grateful that in my upbringing, I was given a good religious foundation, but I would not say my faith was concrete until the day my still son was placed in my arms and I was filled with pain and devastation seemingly powerful enough to cause my heart to disintegrate. God caught the pieces as my heart shattered, and I had not yet had the clarity of thought to ask Him for help.  God chooses the most unlikely hearts to witness of His love, for I always thought I would be the most bitter person in the world if I lost a child.

Since losing my Silas my heart has felt that nothing ugly and bitter could come from loving one so precious. In the anguish and sorrow, I have known and understood how blessed I have been by being Silas’ mother. Being able to see the blessings when consumed with grief is a gift.

Moving forward I choose to trust.

I choose to hope.

I choose to open my heart to the possibility of more love.

I choose to not let fear control my actions.

Though, it scares me to think I could fall from a broken emotional state, whereas before, I was more emotionally whole. I move forward while daily handing my fears and struggles over to the Lord for He is willing to bear them, and He is so much more capable than I.

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