I was driving home this morning from my ladies bible study and was hit with this very vivid memory from George’s day. As I sat at a stop light, I was suddenly right there in my hospital bed. After we had said our good byes and listened to his last breath, we split duties as parents. Adam took Audrey Nole home to sleep in her own bed and have as much normalcy as possible on what she will one day remember as one of the worst days of her life. I kissed her goodnight and I gave Adam a long embrace. And then I made the long walk back to my hospital room. Alone. No baby to care for. No reason to pump. No joys. Just sorrow.
As I climbed carefully into my bed, the physical pain of the day began to hit me. Adrenaline had kept me able to walk and hold my baby. I was up and moving around the hospital as if nothing like a c-section had happened that day. Just pure adrenaline. I was exhausted from nearly 48 hours of being awake. And I was emotionally frozen. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. It’s like I was starting into a mirror but didn’t recognize the reflection staring back at me. And then I cried. And I cursed. And my dear friend cursed with me. And then we talked about what to eat for dinner… because the cold meal plate sitting at the end of my bed from the hospital cafeteria seemed like the crappiest way to end the most awful of days.
Community is the best. Not being alone that evening in that cold hospital room was a gift that I will cherish for my lifetime. Knowing that my not quite two year old could sleep in her own bed, with the comfort of her daddy at home with her, was a delicate kiss from God on that night. That day was awful. There is almost nothing about it that I can look back on and remember with fondness. We were tired. We were anxious. We were dreading all of the what ifs. And even though we knew from the start that George’s life would likely be short, it was still so very sobering to hear the doctor tell us he was no longer with us. So if I can look back now, almost 2 years later, and be thankful for the huge gift of community on that day (and the many days before and after), I will take it. I will shout it loudly. God is good. Because it wasn’t a mistake that the people in our lives were there.
After our brief dinner discussion, I was left alone for just a few minutes. Long enough to share with our community that our sweet George Mason had gone to be with Jesus. Those were the hardest words I think I’ve ever had to come up with. But as I look back, and particularly this morning as this memory hit me, even in that moment, I felt God. I’m not sure that in that moment I wanted to… but just like Adam squeezes his precious daughter when she’s struggling to contain her emotions, my Heavenly Father squeezed me. No matter how much in those minutes and hours after we kissed our son goodbye I wanted to kick and scream and fight away His love, God loved anyway. He loved deeply, profoundly, and with a ferocity that I cannot even describe.
Its not fun to be hit with a memory as equally delicate and heavy as sharing your son’s death with your small piece of the world. It stings. It leads to tears. But it also reminds me that my God is truly incredible. That He is worthy of sharing with whomever I come into contact with. And the best part of all of it, is that sharing Him with someone else doesn’t take a single ounce of His love for me away. Its not like having an earthly sibling who has to get some of my parents’ attention. God is enough for every single soul, ever. He loves me as deeply as He loves my neighbor, my enemy, my government, my children, the complete stranger in the parking lot at the mall. He doesn’t have to be divided. He is everywhere, for everyone, at exactly the perfect capacity in that exact moment; and every moment before and after.
The memories of George’s day often hurt. They aren’t joy-filled and fond. They are hard, heavy, and difficult to process. Perhaps that’s why after nearly 2 years I’m brought back to such a specific moment from his day. But they are my story. They are a wonderful piece of the narrative of my life and God’s story. They don’t seem to have a happy ending just yet, but what they do have is an immense impact on my relationship with my Savior. I long for heaven with an intensity that I didn’t know was possible prior to this suffering. But in the same way that I long for heaven, I’m equally aware that God will provide for each and every day for as long as I live until He calls me home. I’m not afraid of what death will bring. In fact, when that day comes and I meet my Savior, I will rejoice in it. But I’m also incredibly thankful for the life He has given me and the mercies He puts into place each new morning. Raising Audrey, loving and doing life with Adam, and dreaming about our future are all examples of those perfect mercies for today.
“For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’ Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord… And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13:47-48,52