Eight Months Ago: This Was My Prayer

Sitting in the hallway because they made me sit down.

Shock is setting in.

I know it’s taking too long.

Desperate to run to the ambulance with him, but they aren’t coming out of the room with him.

The secretary reminds me to breathe.

Dread fills my soul.

My heart is sinking.

 

 I look up and beg God, “Please.”

My heart is pleading for his life.

 

 

So many times in books and movies we see people bargaining with God. If He’ll just give them this one thing, they’ll follow Him all their days, they’ll give Him anything.

I don’t feel we should bargain with God, but it crosses my mind.

I can’t offer something that I may not be able to follow through with perfectly because this is too utterly important.

I know I will fail my promise to God at some point.

I have nothing to offer Him that is equal to my baby’s life.

I have absolutely nothing. I know He knows this.

I just say, “Please.”

I have never felt so desperate. I have never felt so helpless. I have never felt so unworthy.

 

wpid-20140402_193237.jpg

 

This was my prayer one month and one day after I lost my son:

As I was driving in the car, I think to myself, there will always be a hole in my heart, because of the loss of my son.

Then comes the thought, let God fill the hole.

But, I know I’m not ready to hand over the hurt, grief, and sorrow, so I pray that I will be able to allow God to fill the void where darkness lies.

I’m not ready to allow God to fill the hole because I don’t want to diminish the love I have for Silas by giving up the pain I feel in his absence.

But, this void truly is darkness because it is filled with grief, sorrow, and hurt–wounds caused by this great loss. These wounds must be felt, yet be given the opportunity to heal.   

I begin to understand that my love for Silas is not in the dark hole in my heart; my love for him lies in the bright places of my heart. The beauty of my love for my son is greater and more powerful than the hurt. The love between mother and child spans the distance that now separates us.

I ponder…if I can allow God to fill this dark hole in my heart, He will make my heart WHOLE again, and Silas will always be there.

 

Today:

I am missing my baby.  

I am carrying Silas in my heart.  

I am allowing the love to heal my heart.

Advertisements

Silas’ Song

Daddy, don’t be angry
And Mommy, please don’t cry
I’ve gone to stay with Jesus,
In His home up in the sky
 
There’s someone here who holds me
And sings me lullabies
She came up here before me
And I think that must be why
 
Tell my sister and my brother
that although I’m far away
I am now a little angel
And I’ll come and watch them play
 
I miss my sister Lily
And my brother Milo too,
I know that they will be okay
In all the things they do
 
We would have had adventures
Got in trouble, now and then
It would have been okay though
For the camaraderie with them
 
Be kind to sis and brother
When they err along the way
It’s how you scold and hold them
And the loving words you say
 
Tell them to be happy
And do their very best
For they will be my heroes
And life will be their quest
 
Dad and Mom, I love you
You gave your hearts to me
Our brief time together
Will last through all eternity
 
Daddy take care of Mommy
Her heart is broke in two
If you hold and hug her
It will help you too
 
Mommy take care of Daddy
He’s trying to be brave
His heart is very tender
For the words he can not say
 
I love you and I miss you
And there’s something you should know
I will be okay here
Jesus says it’s so
 
Yes, we were a family
And though I couldn’t stay
Just keep me in your hearts
And we will always be that way
 

Written by Christopher’s father’s cousin, Cheryl George

Simply beautiful.  Many tears fell as I read it.  The second stanza references Christopher’s mother, the first person I pictured holding Silas in heaven.  

IMG_2122 edit

I’m Giving My Son to God

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.  So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

1 Samuel 1:27-28 NIV

IMAG0849 edit

I prayed many months for my son. I wondered if the Lord would bless us with a third child. I didn’t know the Lord’s plan for our family. I only knew I desired another child in our family, and believing that desire comes from the Lord, I continued to go to Him in prayer, searching for His will. I figured He would take the desire from my heart if it was not part of His plan. I clung to the scripture verse, “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.”

I never knew how one day the next verse of that scripture would impact my life. While Hannah raised her son for a few short years, and I only did for six short weeks, we both were and are prompted to give our sons to God to do His work. However, my son’s work is heavenly.

The day we lost Silas, it was obvious that a greater power was in control. We were in the right place at the right time, and my son’s life could not be kept on this earth, despite the efforts of the doctor and the paramedics who began attempting to save his life while he was yet still breathing. His death was unexpected and unavoidable. I pleaded for his life, and that prayer was not answered in the way I had asked. I still don’t understand.

When the ministers came to the doctor’s office, we gathered for a prayer. As Randy prayed, he spoke of Mary giving her Son. I identified with her in a way I had never before understood. I looked up and my heart prayed a prayer of thankfulness that the Lord did not ask me to GIVE my son, but instead took him, for I was not strong enough to give him to God.

My sister, Brittany, shared the song “I Give You to His Heart” by Alison Krauss with me after I lost Silas. It’s a song for Moses, from his mother, as she gave him up to God in order to save his life from the Pharaoh who ordered the slaughter of male babes of Israelite and Hebrew descent in a vain attempt to keep one of the sons of Israel from overthrowing Pharaoh’s reign.

The wind is blowing down the quiet river
A shining road to carry you along
Oh baby boy, my love will last forever
If you’re to live, I must give you up to God

I know our God will guide, protect and keep you
Teach you faith and hold you by the heart
Though your mother’s heart is broken by your leaving
Our Father knows just who He is and who you are

I wish that life wasn’t always ending up this way
With Heaven’s love at stake and hell to pay
But you in God’s loving plan might be the missing part
You must live, so I give you to His heart

The wind, it blows you down the silent river
A shining road that leaves me all alone
A life for you is worth losing you forever
Someday we’ll stand in God’s fair land forever home

I wish that life wasn’t always ending up this way
With Heaven’s love at stake and hell to pay
But you, in God’s loving plan, might be the missing part
You must live, so I give you to His heart

At first, I could identify with only portions of this song. I couldn’t fully relate with it since Moses’ life was spared and Silas’ was not. As time has passed, I have come to understand that Silas’ death is not the end. It just can’t be. The promise of new life in heaven has never been so real, or so close, to my heart.

I wrestle with many thoughts. I know that life is not fair. Why do some live a long life? Why are some taken before even a breath has been breathed? We are not all promised the same things. Most of my friends will get to keep all the children they have borne, while I did not. Even though we lead similar lives, hold similar beliefs and ideals, and love God, I did not get to keep my son and there is nothing I have done that has caused this to happen. I don’t understand why this has happened. I don’t know why my heart has been shattered while others will never even understand a portion of this cruel pain. I would never wish this on my worst enemy. I only wish I had been able to keep my boy.

In my grief and on my road to healing, I have felt that acceptance is more important than answers. I have no choice other than to accept that I have lost my son. I try every day to accept what has happened, and accept that heaven holds my boy while I miss him endlessly.

A couple of months ago, when this song came to my mind, and I listened to it again. For the first time, I felt a sense that I will give Silas back to God.

I know that seems a little odd since he’s already been taken from my arms, but if Silas were here with me, I would be taking him to God for His watchful care and guidance in Silas’ life, even as I did in those six weeks, and the nine months prior.

I messaged my friend, Christy, and shared with her this song and my thoughts. She and I had been praying that month that I would be able to trust God and trust His plans for the future. Trust was the focus of our prayers that month, because it is hard to trust anything in life after such a traumatic loss. It makes you question when the good will turn to worse than bad. This song has shown me an element of trust. I know not what is next for Silas, but I can place my baby in His hands and trust Him where my knowledge fails.

My heart is broken. I feel alone without my baby. But, in my loss, my Silas has gained the riches of heaven. His body would not allow him to live on this earth, but in giving him back to God, he will live. The day his life left this world, he was born into a new life.

I will give Silas to His heart. Over and over again. For it is hard to trust what I cannot see.

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.

Mommy, where’s your baby?

“Mommy, where’s your baby?” asked Milo as we came to Brittany’s house to pick up our children that night. I could barely stand as it was, and that question caused nausea to roil in the pit of my stomach. How do I help them understand when I don’t understand?

“Mommy, where’s my baby?” asked Milo the next morning.

How do you tell your son that his brother died and is never coming back in a way a three year old can understand? It was unreal, even to us. Milo and Lily had held their still brother, but Milo could not comprehend the permanence, and Lily barely could.

My first thought was to say his heart and soul left his body, but to a three year old who sees the world in black and white, how can a heart leave your body?

I placed him on the counter in front of me and looked into his eyes and said Silas’ spirit, the part of him that makes up the things he loves and the things that make him sad or happy, left his body and flew to heaven to be with Jesus.  Something made him too sick and his heart could not keep beating to keep him alive.

I explained the same to Lily when she woke to a home filled with grief. Lily had fewer questions than Milo. She often draws pictures of Silas and listens to songs that remind her of him. She cries, yet Milo doesn’t. They have different levels of understanding. I believe they will reach new layers of grief through the years as they begin to understand the reality of death.

Milo asked me these questions about his brother over and over and over. My heart breaks over and over and over with my own sadness and with the sadness of my children.  Now Milo says, “I want my brother, Silas. But he died. I miss him. I’m so, so sad.”

My children often ask me, “Are you so, so, so, so, so, so sad about Silas?” I tell them I am so sad, but I’m so happy they’re here with me. Now, whenever they ask me that question, they say, “But you’re so, so happy I’m here with you?” I’m glad they know what’s in my heart.  It must be so confusing for them to understand how I love all of my children equally when I cry for one child who’s missed beyond belief.  Whenever I tell them I love them, Lily says, “And you love SySy up in heaven?”  He’s always included in everything they think, say, and do.  ❤

How do you explain heaven to a three year old?  …to a five year old?

Heaven is better than the toy store, better than the swimming pool, better than Chuck E. Cheese’s, better than Disney World.  Silas is with God and Jesus. He’s with Grandma Shirley and she loves him so much and covers him in kisses. He’s with MeeMee and PaPa. He’s with all of our loved ones who’ve died and gone to heaven before him.

But, even though he’s in all that glory, we still wish he were here.

three kids edit

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.

942989_505957702785653_1311090912_n

A difficult day

I woke in the early AM hours after a crazy dream I cannot remember. As I was thinking while I couldn’t fall back to sleep, I remembered back to 5 months ago. In the early AM hours of the night on August 8th, Silas cried for about 4 minutes as if he were were in pain.

Christopher even woke, and we turned on the light to check him all over because he wasn’t calming in my arms or attempting to eat.

Then he quieted, but didn’t want to nurse, which struck me as strange, but I wondered if he had tired from crying. I thought I would wait to see if he would eat in another hour to decide if I needed to call the doctor, and he did eat when he woke the next hour.

Of course, this memory brought back the guilt of not knowing something was going so terribly wrong. I felt regret that I didn’t take him to the hospital that night. Maybe there would’ve been a chance the doctors could’ve figured out what was happening.

But, how many times have my older children done that as babies? It seemed like those “strange-normal” things babies do. How was I to know that I would leave the pediatrician’s office that afternoon without my beloved son?

How cruel to wake in the middle of the night to be taken back 5 painful months, to feel full of regret over something that cannot be changed and couldn’t have been prevented. I can’t help wishing we could have prevented his death, and I will never stop wishing that.

This morning, after Lily got on the bus, Milo and I set out to run some errands. I should NEVER go to any grocery store during the daytime on the 8th of any month, because every time I turned around, there was a mother with a baby in an infant carrier.

I couldn’t help but think, “That should be me with my baby in my cart.” But, it isn’t.

Most of the time I think it “could have” turned out differently. It is so hard to feel something “should have” been a certain way when it obviously wasn’t, otherwise it “would have” been. I can’t say that this was how life was meant to be, because no mother could ever conceive such a thought.

And yet, here I am. Life didn’t turn out in the way I intended. How do I grapple with the thought that this was how it was meant to be? I don’t.  I just accept that this is the way it is.

Because this is the way in which my life has gone, I will do my best to continue the beauty my son brought to my life.

edit photoSilas,
I don’t know how to live this life without you, but somehow, life keeps going and my heart keeps beating. So, I let it pull me forward while I am too weak, and when I am stronger, I will bravely step forward, because I am not living without you, for I carry you in my heart, and the profound love I have for you fills each beat of my heart.

20140108-144030.jpg

20140108-144044.jpg