For George Mason’s birthday I received a locket with his picture and foot prints kept inside. I wear it often, because it’s a beautiful piece of jewelry, but also because it feels good to carry him so close to my heart. He is always there, sometimes more deeply hidden, in my mind, but to see his precious little face makes his life seem a little less distant. Almost like it’s proof that he existed; not that I need proof, but because sometimes it’s hard to remember that he really did live. Those months of carrying him in my womb were filled with stress and worries. With each appointment we got more bad news and it seemed like we would never meet our son alive. But we did. And as hard as it was to tell him good bye, it was wonderful to have held him for the short time that we did. But even those memories are fading. Not because I want them to or because they aren’t written deeply on my heart, but because 16 hours is a blip. It’s nothing in the scheme of time. And with each passing day, those memories feel more distant.

Some days I wake up and wonder how it’s been 15 months since his day. How we’ve lived on and through an entire year without this precious little person. And then some days I wonder if it was all just a bad dream. Did the horrors from 2016 and 2017 actually happen? Did we really bury our son? And the frustrating part is that the answer is always yes. Yes. We met him, held him, love him, buried him, miss him. Yes. He was born, cAme into this world, and then left us for the glory of eternity. If I wasn’t so dang jealous I might be a tiny bit angry. Adam and I are here missing him but he’s walking those streets of gold and worshipping at the feet of Jesus.

Audrey keeps asking me to open the locket. She looks at him and takes it all in. I can only imagine that small parts of his day piece themselves together for her as she stares at his picture. She tells me how handsome he is. How much she thinks he would want his blanket. And how he wishes he could’ve come home. I have to agree. He was handsome. He would have loved his soft blanket. But I always tell her how wonderful Heaven is and that even though we are missing her brother, he is not missing us, - though he loves us deeply - because in heaven there is no pain.  There is no sorrow. No tears. Just pure, unadulterated joy. The perfect and complete wholeness of each person who is there. George Mason isn’t missing us. He isn’t wishing he were here with us. Instead, he’s remembering fondly the voices of his parents and sister. Remembering the beat of my heart, the embrace of his daddy’s arms, and the gentle touch of his big sisters curious love. I imagine there is a fondness with which he reminisces about his life and his family. And I also imagine that his Grammy is telling him all about his cooky mama and strong daddy.

Today doesn’t feel very celebratory but there is always reason to celebrate God’s unfailing love. So through the pain of the empty places in our family picture, I’m going to be intentional about seeing that love. And because I have experienced the sorrow of losing my son and my mother, I can be that much more grateful for the joy that comes in motherhood. The ups are made better because of the downs. My love for my kids stems directly from knowing they are God’s children and there is nothing I can do to take that away from them. I can laugh with Audrey and cry over George Mason. But I can also rejoice in the hope of Christ’s promises and all the comfort that comes from knowing my son is in the best possible hands.

In memory of my mama and my precious son, Happy Mother’s Day.