This morning is one week since we found out that our baby’s heart had stopped beating. The past couple of days have been full of painful reminders of how different things were just seven days ago.
Today I folded and put away the clothes I had on for what was supposed to be a check-up appointment. Yesterday I finally moved the small hospital bag my father-in-law brought to us from our living room to our bedroom closet. Still unemptied. The ID bracelets I wore sit upon my dresser, waiting their fate. I’m not certain they’re tokens I want to keep.
They say grief changes you. That you will never be the same again. This week I have been processing an overwhelming amount of feelings and thoughts. I couldn’t begin to articulate a post on grief yet, but for now it is enough to say that James is never far from our minds and our moods still yo-yo all day.
The simple tasks that my husband and I completed routinely not so long ago, have now become both sad reminders of what will not be as well as occasions to remember the precious gift of what is right in front of us.
In time, singing to my little girl or watching my boys play together will not make us weep as it does now. A quiet wistfulness will take the place of hot, stinging tears.
What I hope does not change with time, though, is our resolve to not take the gift of life for granted. We will honor James in this way by loving each other well and recognizing the treasure of our days together.
I shared this picture on Instagram this week. I am learning the dichotomy of loving what is right in front of me, while missing what is gone.
It’s significant that the tasks that make us simultaneously grieve and give thanks are the simple and seemingly mundane jobs we do everyday. Reading stories, singing lullabies, hugs and cuddles, changing diapers, playing with one another– humble and yet worth their weight in gold.
We see that more clearly now.
My husband and I both have been guilty before of rushing through story time, of being distracted while spending time with our children, and having too short of tempers over things that do not matter. And I’m not so naive to think that we will never struggle with these things again in the future.
But knowing our propensity to struggle does not mean that striving to do better is vain.
If we’ve learned one thing so far, it’s that experiencing sorrow teaches us not to live in fear of death, but to cherish life.
I want to see the beauty that is there and teach my children to do the same.
I want to give the sweetest kisses and the longest hugs.
I want us all to look each other in the eyes when we talk.
I want to say yes to one more song and one more story.
I want to smile and cry and laugh like I see today for the gift that it is.
And most of all, right now, I want to remember James’ little nose and the feel of him in my arms. To be reminded of his life in the lives of my children. To know without a doubt that all of his days were a gift too.