(PC: Peter Bang, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep)
There's no feeling on earth like meeting and holding your child for the first time. Although the outcome for this birth was different, my anticipation for that moment was the same. I loved my boy and holding him in my arms was all I could think of and what kept me pushing through when the wait felt like forever. Bobby was born at 8:50am and I'll never forget seeing him for the very first time. This tiny little human was laid on my chest, only with no cry and no first breath, but that can never change a Momma's love. His Daddy proudly cut his cord.
The morning Bobby was born the bright pink sunrise filled the sky outside the big windows in the labor and delivery room. The promise of a new day and an increasing confidence that we would meet our son (in the same room his big sister Audrey was born in) gave me fresh hope. It had been 24 hours since we walked into the hospital to be induced and the wait, at times, especially in the night, seemed excruciating. There were moments when I questioned God and wondered why he was putting me through this hell of a time when the circumstances we found ourselves in were already bleak.
Our day began with heaven coming down to earth. We held him while he was already being held in our Savior's arms. We wept for the loss and sadness we felt, but we had confidence that in heaven he was perfect and whole. We had a whole day to be with him and hold him close, to snuggle him and sleep with him, to marvel over the beauty of God's amazing creation, to count his fingers and his toes. We cried, visited with friends, took pictures, and said our goodbyes. It was a beautiful day I'll remember always and one that has changed me forever.
Saying goodbye and burying a child is the most unnatural feeling and agonizing experience for a parent. I hate it. Jesus hates it. He weeps with us and counts every tear. I could have held Bobby forever, but I knew and I could see his frail body was not made for earth. He was made for heaven. As the day went on you could see the decay happening before your eyes and it was heartbreaking. I didn't think I would come to a place of peace, but knowing he was already in a place where he was complete gave me peace to leave my son and say my final goodbye.
As beautiful as that day was I can't recount it without tears and sadness. Grief doesn't leave when you say that final goodbye. I wish it did. In many ways it just begins. I wish life could just stop so you could just grieve. I wish I could hold my baby again. I wish that there weren't days when it didn't feel like my life was over. I wish that there weren't days that I didn't just want to be alone. I wish that there weren't days that I didn't want to get out of bed. I wish I didn't feel "Mom guilt." I wish Bobby had a chance to walk this earth. I wish everything was made right now as Bobby is made right in heaven. Earth is a fallen world, broken, and incomplete, but God is with me. I am never truly alone or forsaken. I know I can't and won't come out on the other side of this without Jesus.
I'm grateful God knew what was best and that His plan was better than mine for the timing of Bobby's arrival. In the night I cried over the agony of waiting for his arrival, but in the morning I understood God's plan and the gift that waiting was. Had he been born in the night we never would have the kind of time with him that we so desperately needed. I think what God taught me through my labor with Bobby is one that parallels our current experience. Though we find ourself in a place that feels dark, sad, filled with pain, and we don't know how long this night will be, God is at work and his outcome is better than our "perfect" plans. I cling to that truth every day. I don't understand, I don't know how this will all work out, I don't know how God will bring beauty from ashes. But he's given me glimpses of that hope I'm holding onto.
My best friend shared this quote with me today, I couldn't have said it better myself:
"It is much better to be left with the question in the night, 'What in the world are you doing, Lord?' than to think, 'You know, I cannot ask the Lord what he is doing, because he is not in this. I am on my own.'" (Ligon Duncan Does Grace Grow Best in Winter)
As a brief aside, thank you for all the comments and love from my writing. Many have asked me to keep writing. This has been a helpful outlet for me in my grief and it helps me to share it. I'm usually a private person, especially with my grief, but there is something marvelous and beautiful that is going to come from these ashes and I want the world to see how great is the God we believe in. This is going to be a story of God's faithfulness and redemption, with twists and turns, peaks and valleys, but in the end I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Bobby's story is going to be bigger than his tiny and short life. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
2 Corinthians 4:9 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." (Thanks Ally for writing and sharing this verse with me).