Driving home from church today, as we approached this one particular intersection just a few blocks from our house, this vivid memory from February 11, hit me. I don't know if or when I've ever written down what it was like to leave that hospital without my son, but as we sat at the stop light waiting to take a left I remembered. I remembered the awful pit in my stomach when we signed the discharge papers. I remembered the incredible pain I was in. Every sneeze, cough, even swallow, reminded me of delivering that precious baby boy and was an oddly perfect picture of my heart. Every muscle in the front of my body hurt but if you were just to look at me, I looked fine. My heart was broken but no one could have known that just by looking.
We walked to the car from my hospital room, just me and Adam, and we did it in silence; slow and labored and silent. As Adam walked ahead to go get the car so I didn't have to walk any farther, I couldn't make sense of what was happening. Yesterday I had delivered a baby. Yesterday I was holding a baby. Today, I was leaving the hospital and there was no baby. There never, would ever again, be that baby. There was no car seat in the car. No inspection for correct installation. There was just me, a c section incision, and my husband. I didn't even cry. I couldn't. I just stood at the entry to the parking garage, numb, waiting for Adam to pull around with the car. I remembered carefully climbing into the car with the help of my hubby. I remembered the very matter of fact discussion of which route to take home for the smoothest ride... the pain was no joke. And then, as the car pulled out of the parking garage, I grabbed Adam's hand and in silence and through tears, we drove home.
The only words from either of us were at the intersection that started this memory... "please go up the hill so we don't have to go over the curb onto center street."
Adam and I never expected we would bring George Mason home with us when I was discharged from the hospital. Ever since the diagnosis, we knew the NICU was going to be our baby's home and that our sweet George Mason wouldn't be joining us on the ride home like his sister did. Leaving the hospital without our baby was what we had prepared ourselves for. But leaving the hospital and never seeing our baby again, that was not someone anyone could have prepared us for. When I think back over those initial days, most of it is a blur. I was numb. We were numb. Our world had been rocked and we knew we would never be the same. Our son's life, George Mason's life, changed ours forever. God gave us this precious tiny human and the responsibility to care for him as long as he lived. That wasn't nearly long enough. Now, we are left with loving him for the rest of our lives, even though we can no longer physically care for him.
That drive home and the vivid way it came back to me today is such a reminder that this world is broken. This is not the way it's supposed to be and we are seeing and experiencing that in such a deep and crappy way. But for every memory of our sorrow, there are as many or more of our incredible joy through Jesus. The first verse I clung to when George was diagnosed reminded me that God will never grow tired or weary and that he would give me the strength to survive day to day. I've seen in a lot of ways how he has given me strength, but as I get farther from George Mason's day, I'm starting to see how important it is that my great God will not grow weary.
"Have you not known? Have you not heard?The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength."