As I sat there, holding Sammy asleep, his last moments of infancy drawing to an end all I could feel was sad. It was the day before he would turn one and I was frustrated that my heart was so heavy. I think if I were being extra honest, the truth is I want him to stay a baby. Forever.
I recognized the feeling all too well, I just did not predict it would come at a time that is supposed to be filled with joy and gratefulness. It was grief. It snuck up on me, but as I sat there with a tears dripping onto my newly toddling and fast asleep Sammy I realized I was grieving.
What was I grieving? I think lots of things.
I think my arms will always feel empty. Gideon left a piece of my heart gaping and wide open that will never be fully healed in this lifetime. Holding Samuel filled the physical emptiness that you feel when you lose a baby, but apparently the empty arms can return when your one year old goes from a crawl to a sprint in a matter of days.
I think I am grieving the loss of being in this stage of life. I love having a baby. I feel most alive and full with a baby on my hip. Its not for everyone I realize, but taking care of babies is a joy for me that fills my heart to the max. I realize that I cannot have a baby on my hip forever. Eventually life will need to move along and the phase of baby having will be in the past for our family. This makes my heart sad.
I think I am grieving my baby Samuel not being a baby anymore! As baby number 5 in our family he was tossed into our everyday living and this year just flew by. I took every opportunity I could to soak it in, but all my soaking did not stop the clock from turning. Samuel is a busy boy, he’s got two feet out the door and he is gone! “Mommy catch up if you can, but I am outta here!” Time just goes and goes.
At first thought, I did not want to allow myself to grieve this things. First of all, it felt foolish. After losing a baby I know the blessing of a healthy one year old. It is a gift! So, I pushed it aside, “Grief, you are not welcome here! This is a HAPPY time.”
Second of all, it hurt too much. I could not bare the thought that I might possibly grieve forever. That the “baby sized” piece of my heart will always ache and miss and see other babies in public and want to cry. The idea hurt too bad and so I just wanted to skip it. Again, this was a familiar feeling to me, “just skip it because it hurts too bad.” Sounds exactly what I thought about my pregnancy with Gideon and then the heart whisper reminded me, “Joy comes out of the sorrow. Don’t skip something just because it hurts.”
Thirdly, and finally, I wanted to skip the grief because it seemed too “small” a thing for it to hurt so badly. Enter in guilt! Ah guilt, you are never a welcomed guest yet to seem to invite yourself over all. of. the. time. Guilt because shouldn’t only things such as death, sickness, betrayal cause grief? Shouldn’t I only spend time grieving the things in life that “really” matter? Lies. All of them. Grief does good work. It always us to feel the fullness of what it means to be human, what it means to turn to a God that loves us, and what it means to remember the hope we have in heaven. Grief is important and allowed in any area. Loss of job, loss of relationship, loss of dream, loss of expectations, loss of joy, loss of excitement, loss of opportunity. This list could go on forever I’m sure, but the point is grief is okay. Important even.
So I can’t go over it, I can’t go under it, I can’t go around it, I have to go through it. In these days I find myself imagining life without a baby in our home. I imagine feeling sad every single time I see a Huggies commercial and I ask myself if I can trust God with that sadness. I ask myself if I believe that God will meet me there. Yes. The answer is yes. I do trust and I do believe.
I allow myself to fully realize the truth that another baby is not going make losing Gideon any easier. He is gone. The arms that held him will always wish him to be here with us and there is no replacing him. I knew this before, but I know it even more now. The finality of death has hit me once more, but in my hope to see Gideon again I will cling. Do I believe that God will meet me, until the day I die, in my missing of Gideon? Yes. I do trust and I do believe.
As I was praying about this post I felt the heavy weight of concern for you. I wonder if there is something in your life that you have not allowed yourself to fully grieve? Something you skipped because you thought it was too foolish or too hard. Something that maybe was just easier to shove under the rug and pretend its not there. May I pray for you now? May I pray for us in our grief?
Father God, so many things remind us that this place is not our home. This broken and painful world too many times leaves our hearts broken and hurting. Father would you teach us what it is to grieve with hope? Would you give us the strength to be okay with feeling grief? Would you give us the perseverance to push through it and would you meet us there on the other side? Lord, grieving is no easy thing. Often times it hurts more before it hurts less and just don’t want that. But you have given us a greater perspective and you have promised us that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character and character produces hope. God give us the courage we need! Keep shame and guilt far from us, and may instead your peace reign in our days. Thank you Lord, that you give us a Heavenly Father to come to who loves us and hears our prayers. Its in Jesus Name I pray. Amen!