I think in those initial weeks after George’s day, it would have been really easy for both, Adam and me, to say we were packing up and leaving. I don’t even think we would have really cared where we went, anywhere had to be better than here. Our family has been through so much these last two years, this place has gotten a bad rap and would be an excellent scape goat for the pain we are/were feeling. 

We expected to be somewhat “stuck” here while George Mason was under the medical care of his team of various doctors. We had prepared our minds for that and prayed that our hearts would follow; that we would somehow fall in love with this place God had brought us - somewhat kicking and screaming, initially - and make the best of the circumstances. We didn’t want to just be living here and counting the days until our son was healthy and we could leave. We wanted to fully submit ourselves to this position, place, circumstance, situation… When he didn’t live, we had so many decisions to make but they were all shaped by one single question: What does our future look like now that George Mason isn’t a physical part of it?

I have no idea why, but God never gave Adam or me a reason why we should leave this place. And trust me, it would have been jumped on if either of us had any inkling that we could cut and run. We don’t know what is “next” for us, but we do know that right now we are surrounded by people who love us and who love George Mason. That is a provision from our Good Father that we could not possibly live without and didn’t even know we needed. With time, the open wound of my broken heart is healing. I’m less sad, less often, and thankful for a God who keeps with me. There is still a deep bruise surrounding George Mason and his day, but God is good and He has remained steadfast in giving me my daily bread. I’m thankful that I serve a God who is so caring and trustworthy. I’m thankful that I serve a God who knows my every need and lays out exactly what it takes to get through each day. I’m thankful that I serve a God who saw fit to give us a community of people when our hearts had one foot out of the metaphorical door. I’m thankful that I serve a God who is mourning alongside me and still providing me with reasons to rejoice. I’m thankful that I serve a God who has a plan for me, even if I don’t always like where that plan takes me. I’m most thankful that I serve a God who has the power to do all things and promises to use that power to make everything right in the end. 

For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses - as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. - Hebrews 3:3-6

In those first weeks after George Mason’s day, I had to be intentional about doing the work of grief. I sat down every day and faced the fears and frustrations. I posed the questions to God that were tugging at my heart strings. I cried, a lot, I also felt so many emotions beyond sadness. I felt forsaken, betrayed, angry, confused, shocked, numb… God was my punching bag and my caretaker. He faithfully took my punches. He never walked away, no matter how hard my day was. I didn’t always want to talk to Him, but He always made His presence known. He always gave me assurance of the hope that I cling to. He always gave me a reason to be confident in that hope. My emotions are less varied as time goes by. I don’t feel many of the ugly emotions of anger or betrayal anymore. Instead, while I still have unanswered questions, I remember that God has been there - losing His own son, feeling the temptations of sin in humanity, but also beside me every step of the way - and He’s going to see this through. This work of grief is not my burden to bear alone. It is not the only part of my identity either. My son is in heaven and that’s a big part of my story, but God didn’t erase the rest of my story. I am His child. I am my parent’s daughter. I am Adam’s wife. I am Audrey & George’s mama. I am Jillian. As I get further away from George Mason’s day, I’m able to see that more clearly. I don’t have to always be sad. I don’t have to always be happy. I don’t have to be ok but I don’t have to feel guilty when I am ok. I just have to be Jillian; adopted daughter into the house of God. God’s got this, and that’s the best part of the story. 

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. -Hebrews 4:14-16