It’s been a while since I sat down with this journal. Life has been crazy hectic these last few weeks - our 2nd birthday celebration was a much needed break from the chaos. Yet, as the sun set on February 10, life could no longer pause. An unfinished basement awaited. A visiting friend’s arrival neared. We moved forward. Much like everyday, even though our hearts stopped on George’s day and wished that time would hold still just a little longer - just a few more snuggles and a few more beats from his tiny heart - time kept moving. And as it did in 2017, February 11th, followed. As did the 12th, 13th, 14th, etc.

I miss this journal when I don’t spend time here. But it’s also heavy to do so. The time away, whether it be hours or days or weeks, is always both healing and hard. It is such a tangible mercy from my Father when I am able to sit in the quiet of His presence and fumble through the emotions and thoughts of any given day. It allows me to really work through all the many facets of this life in a season of perpetual grief. It points my focus back towards Jesus when it’s so easy to seek self pity. But it also brings me back to that day; to George’s day. It straps me tight, just as if I were about to launch on a roller coaster, and then does exactly that: swirls me through the ups and downs, that literal roller coaster of emotions. One minute is joy and pride in meeting this tiny human who God called His first and then ours. The next minute is anxiety and fear over all the uncertainty around this little person’s life. The next minute is exhaustion from 9 months of worry, 48 hours of no sleep, a c section. The minute my eyes began to close in a shallow, desperately needed nap, the knock on our hospital room door brought with it the next emotion. An emotion I don’t even really have a word for. What do you call that sunken numbness that is countered by an anvil sitting on your heart while your brain goes a mile a second trying to process those words “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing else we can do” ... and in that moment, when all of the things that felt so pressing before suddenly faded away into a the distant background, and all I could feel was pain.

Pain that is indescribable. Pain that is made up of all the hopes I had in a miracle. All the dreams I had for our son. All the imagined moments of our family of 4. All of the ways that tomorrow was going to be the start of a brand new life; one that meant existing without a part of me. As my heart sunk in that room, after those words, I don’t remember what came next. There’s a fog that has fallen over the next several minutes. Did I cry? Did I curse? Did I yell at God? Did I do nothing? Was I silent? Frozen in that bad, eyes locked open - there was no more time for sleep. My son, who I had only spent brief moments with, was being moved into a private NICU room, where we could say our goodbyes. The pain that immerses from every minuscule crack is wretched. And then time could no longer hold still. We had decisions to make. People to call. Snuggles to give. It’s so unfair that our very first snuggles with our son were also our very last. The numbness gave way to adrenaline. All of the things we needed to do started to happen, and when Audrey arrived, we made the long walk from the recovery ward to the NICU. And then we walked down the long corridor of private rooms. Where the very sickest of babies got to call home.

The last minute of my sons life felt painfully long. The time between breaths was getting longer. The tiny little coughs as he gasped for more air were telling us that our time with him was almost up. And as the nurse listened one last time for his tiny little heartbeat, we kissed him and knew he had gone to be with Jesus. If I thought the walk to his room was long, the walk back to my own was even longer. Suddenly, it was no longer necessary for me to worry about two children. The anxieties of that day had ceased to exist. I kissed Audrey goodnight and made my way back to bed. Everything felt ruined. Everything in that moment, it really was ruined. And everything since that day, since George’s day, has been shrouded in all the facets of life after death.

The saving grace of that day, and every day before and after, is the immeasurable love of our Savior and the promises He has made to His people. That even though my son’s death is filled for me with pain that I cannot even express, George Mason has been made new and whole. He no longer has to gasp for air. His lungs no longer have to work overtime. He is formed anew. He is whole. He is perfect. He feels no pain, no sorrow, no sadness. And he is at the feet of Jesus.

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep praying. - Romans 12:12