Dearest little Gabe

Oh my little love, little sunshine, tomato faced boy.

How I miss you so very much and wish and hope for the moment I get to see your sparkly eyes again. Photos just couldn't capture them... not the way they really were. Not the way you were. I look at the photos but they don't hold you for me. You were touchable, soft and mushy- not like a photo- so still and so without life.

I remember the first time I heard your heartbeat. I was only 7 weeks along! They said it was probably impossible to hear it yet, but there it was, strong, steady, galloping. It always sounded like you were riding a horse in there.

Did you know your heart started beating when you were only 21 days old? All the cells that would make your heart began to dance in a beat, a dance, even though they hadn't formed your heart fully, they knew the beat already. You danced into existence.

How amazing is it, that cells that were laying there, doing not so much but waiting, suddenly jolted into life, sprung into action and knew the dance they had to do- even though they were not connected yet, they all danced together. It amazes me, perplexes me, how it all works.

Some  people think that because your heart formed imperfectly, because your cells formed imperfectly with an extra chromosome in each, you were a throw back, a throw out... a mistake of nature.

If only they could see the way I see, and their hearts would bleed for even thinking such a thing. Your life was of more value than I can even begin to imagine.

Because of you, I know what a blessing it is to hold a baby and know that they will be okay if they fall asleep without oxygen- and that they probably won't get sick tomorrow with the flu and need to be hospitalized. I know, because of you, that it's okay to count someone elses blessings for them, even though I wouldn't tell them that.

On Reeces Rainbow there are a few baby boys born the same month as you. I see them and I want to meet them, to see what they are doing and what they are like. To see what you might be like- what you might be doing had you never been born with a half of a heart.

The pain of missing you is still an ache that will never leave- but I am not in shock when I wake up anymore- I am not in shock that you will not be here- you will not be coming home.

We grieved your presence in the months you were in the hospital unable to look at us and smile... but we didn't grieve you as a loss. We knew you could get better, that you could come home.

So now we have grieved that, and now we know that you aren't coming home- our subconscious knows that you are home somewhere else, but you aren't coming to our arms here on this earth.

I learned a lot from you.

1. Give without saying.
The Bible taught me this a while ago, but as we went through this journey we had a couple people who gave to us, and expected us to never forget and to kiss their feet from then on. Receiving has never been a specialty of mine, and when this happened I realized something. I should give without boasting, in silence, and without expecting anything in return. Not love, not money, not loyalty. How could I burden someone else through giving? So I gave to several people throughout the process of learning this, and I will never say why or how much or who. And I don't care if they never thank me or speak to me again, because it's not my money to give, and it's not my heart to give with take in mind. Giving should be gracious, as Jesus gave with no expectations, but only hope. Hope that love would be seen in it, and only love.

2. Be gentle with your words.
Some people said things that were hurtful, harsh, and not always to us, but to other families we know too. Someone said "It's for the best." When you died. A few someones. I don't believe that your death was for the best for us, but I also know that they meant it not to be hurtful... but words need to be gentle. Gentle touches. You cannot love someone with logic. You love someone with humility, grace, and with listening. Logic is beyond all things when grief is present. Only love can conquer the pain of grieving, humbled, gentle love.

3. Forgive, lots. Don't be bitter.
And when these things happen, forgive. Forgive the people who hurt you when you are hurting. Forgive the people who say something they shouldn't have, or something that they didn't intend to hurt. Most people only mean kindness with their words during grief, they are looking for a way to relate. So put yourself in their shoes, if you can. Try to see from their view, and assume- as much as you can- that their hearts are in a good spot.

4. Don't be afraid to hope for the future.
In moments when I feel strong, where I feel ready for what should come after losing you- a look or a sentence brings me back down to the point where I feel hopeless and fearful of the future and the 'mights and maybes' of what could happen. Especially when I think about another baby- though doctors and nurses say it won't happen again, I can't help but get pushed over by fear occasionally... but then God reminds me.
Fear is a liar.
Evil is in fear, fear is in evil. It's meant to stop us from moving forward, to freeze us, to choke us into standing still. But we are not given that spirit by God, and we are made to conquer it.

5. Faith doesn't mean always understanding.
I don't need to understand anymore, why you died and why you had half a heart and why you didn't get better. Because I am not meant to decode that. I am meant to love you, and I can't love you if I spend my life asking why you had to die. You aren't gone forever, and that's enough for me. I don't understand why some get better and some die, and that's okay. I understand one thing. 1 percent is pretty bad odds. And you got better from that 1 percent. You came into my arms and you stared at me and you and I fell in love as a Mother and baby can. And my faith tells me that the miracle was there. My selfishness desires more, but my heart knows those months were a gift.

6. It's okay to feel the pain, and it's good to write it down until you can't write anymore.
I hope that everyone who goes on a painful journey writes it down. I hope they write it down for themselves, and then they share it with others so people can see that pain IS beauty. It's beautiful to fall to pieces, because thats when you find out what's really been under your hood your entire life. I know who I am, and I know I am breakable and also put back together able. I am no humpty dumpty. I was made to endure, and you were made to teach me I could. I hope that someone can relate to something I've written here, and I hope they can use it to inspire them to write. To say what's in their heart. To share.

7. Love.
Love love love.
Grace Grace Grace.
Love love love.

I am convinced that this recipe is what will make your life full. Having grace enough to see others with love, even when you ought not to. Having love enough to give someone grace when they don't deserve it. Falling in love with someone so much that your relationship shows grace where ever you go.

I miss you so much, little boy. I love you more than words can describe.

I am so thankful for you.

And I will always always always be so.

1 comment:

Corinne said...

Oh thank you for writing this. I am moved beyond words (and if you knew me, you would know that is hard to do!) Your faith, your love, your ability to see lessons and beauty - all moving me. Thank you.

Mama of a CDH baby and blessed student of special babies everywhere

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