I think about him every day.
In a hundred tiny ways-
Today when I got up I read a text from my daughter that reminded me of him. It started with “Mother!”
That is how he always texted me when I was late picking him up. Which was…..often. It was usually 5 minutes maybe 10 but to a kid that’s always an eternity and a half. So I would say “sorrrrryyyyyyy….” kind of half meaning it, after which I would explain how Brady had to have a last minute diaper change or I needed to wait for the potatoes to finish boiling. He would always flash a huge smile at me and tell me it was okay. Then ask me how I was.
I was complaining to Brooklyn about how the snack food in our house always disappears like we house an army of hungry wolves, and I remembered how he always took extra granola bars for his friend who never took a lunch. I would see him shoving 4 or 5 in his lunch bag and throw my hands up in despair… but not once thinking, what a kind friend he is. I was only worried about the grocery bill.
I remember collapsing on the couch after a long day of mothering and attempting to keep our house “clean” enough the CPS workers would not come calling, and Lucas would be sitting there on his phone, and he would ask me if I wanted to watch Big Bang Theory with him. That was “our” show. We watched separately more than together, I say regretfully but it was one we both loved. I wish I would have said yes more often. I know he was trying to cheer me up but instead I would go to bed, too weary to think of anything but my pillow.
I did not intend to blog today about regret, although so often what I intend is not what ends up on the screen. I was simply missing him. Overwhelmingly missing him and had a quiet moment where I felt the keyboard calling me.
In my opinion the greatest anguish, the greatest pain, the greatest sorrow is having that child that you can never talk to, never touch, never hug again in this lifetime.
Yet in passing on facebook this week I saw a post about someone famous eulogizing his wife. He said something to the effect of, “I can’t say I lost her because that would mean I don’t know where she is. I do know where she is.”
I read that and I tried to think of that, only that for 20 minutes. I actually set a timer and just let that thought of him in heaven saturate my mind. I tried to let my ever tortured heart be at peace with the thought of him with Jesus. I would like to say that it made me feel so much better. Yes- the thought of him in heaven does bring me joy.
It is just that joy overlaid with the same sadness that plagues me day after day. Like a cloak I wear. Glasses that I see through. I still feel happiness. I laugh. I smile. Yet the cloak never leaves.
We are so surrounded by, drenched in, permeated by this world and its pain. We try to keep our eyes on Jesus but it is a constant struggle to remember that this is only our temporary home. This earthly life is but a grain on sand on the beach of our eternal life. Our human brains can barely grasp that idea. We are so very “in the moment.”
I said in my last blog that my human life means nothing to me. I did not mean I don’t truly intend to live my human life to the fullest- to the glory of God. I just mean that with the pain I carry, with the perspective I have gained through this loss, I look forward to my next life with intensity. I hope every day that today will be the day that we lose this earthly skin and gain our heavenly glory.
However it may not be today, or tomorrow, or next year, or twenty years from now.
This life- this is the hard part. This is the race.
It has been a long time since I ran a race. I do however remember how it feels. I remember running a leg of the mile relay. A full out sprint all of the way around the track. At first it feels pretty good. Stretching your legs out, pulling out ahead of your opponent little by little, feeling the crisp air fill your lungs and the adreneline pumping. Then you hit about half way and your legs start feeling a little heavy. Your breath more labored. Your brain has to psych you up for every step. That gap between you and the next runner is getting smaller. Then your lungs start to burn. Your legs feel like lead. It takes sheer willpower to keep going. Your body is telling you “hey! hey! we’re maxed out now! lactic acid has filled your muscles and your heart is beating at maximum capacity! stop! please!” But you ignore that voice and push on, through the pain, and cross the finish line.
This is the hard part.
It was never meant to be easy. Whether you have lost a child, or not. You may have lost a sister, a Grandma, a job, a relationship; its all pain. It’s all part of the race.
We weren’t put here to coast through life without a care in the world; sitting by the pool drinking margaritas. Duh, everybody knows that. Yet when hard times fall on us we cry out and say “God where are you? This is too hard! I can’t do it!” I HAVE DONE THIS. I CONTINUE TO DO THIS. I AM HUMAN. YOU ARE HUMAN. WE DON’T LIKE PAIN.
This is the hard part. This is the race. Remembering my sweet boy every single day and feeling that deep awful pain but NOT GIVING UP. I am still here. God wants me here to run the race, to further his kingdom, to proclaim his name, to live life every day for HIM. To live life for my creator who loves me and has the greatest prize that ever existed waiting for me.
When I finish my race.