This week seems like it will never end. The days are long and the nights are even longer. My heart hurts. My eyes are swollen. My body is tired from all of it. I knew when we first got George Mason's diagnosis that our lives were going to be tiring. We were going to have a newborn and they need a lot of care. Except our newborn was going to have the added layer of complexity of an indefinite NICU stay and all of the anxieties of life leading up to a kidney transplant. That's what I had prepared my heart and mind for. Physical and mental exhaustion from caring for and loving on (and worrying about) a very sick little boy. It may have been crazy, but I couldn't even let myself think he wouldn't be here today. I was as ready as I could be for whatever NICU parenting was going to look like because no matter how hard or how tiring or whatever else, as long as there was a NICU stay, there was a little boy fighting for his life.
I think as we get farther from his day, and closer to another milestone without him, this pain of loss is feeling overwhelming. There is no decision we can make that doesn't have grief as a lens through which we make it. And there is no easy way to decipher if that lens is clear or clouded. We are faced with life moving forward. Time will not stop in its tracks because we are sad. We have to keep going. We must keep living, loving and raising our daughter, loving and supporting each other, being Adam and Jillian: person, spouse, parent. So as the time clock ticks and we go on with life, we do it knowing that each day that passes is two things. 1) it is another day without our son and 2) it is one day further from that pain, it is time working in our favor toward healing.
With each new day, some being good and many being bad, I'm constantly in awe of Gods love for me. He is with me in this crazy storm and he's not just along for the ride, but fully invested and doing it with me. He hears my cries and holds me close. He shows me His love in ways that are perfectly suited to the day's unique challenges. He refuses to let me walk away because He knows that it's in this moment, this horrible, awful, painful moment, that I need him the most. He knows my pain and He knows how to comfort me. He is ever faithful to His promise to be my shephard. He didn't give me George Mason to ruin my life but to bless it abundantly. He gave me a son that I love from the bottom of my heart and that is such a gift. Yes, it hurts to know that I won't get to cuddle him as an infant, discipline him as a toddler, encourage him as a child, cheer him on as a young adult, or cherish meeting and loving on his family as he grows into a man. Yes, not having him here with me is painful, but knowing where I get to meet him when my work on earth is finished is 100% awesome. I lost my son to the ugliness of death after only 16 hours but his life has been engraved on my heart and my goodness am I thankful for that wonderful and precious life.
Today is a hard day. This week has been a hard week. I'm raw. God still loves me. One day when I sit with my journal the sadness will seem distant and the gift of my son's life will seem so much bigger than the pain of his death. One day. Not today. Not this week. But one day. Time will certainly help but as long as it takes for time to do it's thing, God is in it and here. God is with me and for me for the rest of my life and all of eternity. His love is unending and his faithfulness is never failing. I'm thankful for that. God is here in this mess with me and that's enough. I haven't been as diligent about writing down the specific ways God is here and meeting me in this place lately. So today I want to remember the look on Audrey's face when we took her first (that she remembers) train ride. I want to thank God for that precious smile and innocent excitement. I want to remember that feeling of pleasure mixed with a little uncertainty but trusting that mama is there. That's what I want to remember from this day. That's what I'm going to bring to my Heavenly Father as a moment of joy and a reason to rejoice. Thank you Jesus for that moment. Thank you for being there in the mundane moments and the parenting wins. Thank you for the gift of Audrey Nole.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:3-7