Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Shared Tears - 4 Years

My Dearest Noah,

I've been thinking about you a lot lately. It happens naturally this time of year.

It's been four years. Four years since we found out that you had passed away inside my womb at 31 weeks. Four years since I delivered your small, broken body. Four years since I kissed you and said goodbye. Four. Kinda crazy.

Most of the time it seems like a distant, far off memory, and at other times it seems like yesterday. Sometimes I feel bad about that. But I know it's a good and natural thing. Of course I'm still sad that you're not here, but one cannot live in a state of grieving forever.

I will never stop thinking about you; I think God gave you to us for a purpose. I want and need to learn from your short life, grow from my time with you and my time losing you. I want to remember you. I want others to remember you too. It means your life, that valley that we walked through was not lived in vain. But I also know I can't dwell on your loss either, that's not healthy. There is life to live, and the lives of other little ones depend on me to be alive emotionally and spiritually for them.

I looked at your pictures on the computer last week. I do not do it very often. I am so thankful that Kristin was able to get some very beautiful pictures. It's hard though, because you were not beautiful. And, I feel bad about that too. I wish I could look at you and see beauty. I wish I was like all the other moms of babies with anencephaly who saw beauty in their little ones. I am jealous of them. But my baby wasn't beautiful and/or I wasn't able to see your beauty. It has it taken me awhile to not feel guilty about that. Thankfully, even though I still get teary-eyed thinking about it, God has given me peace.

The day before your birthday I got to sit with Charity (a friend and missionary on furlough from Indonesia that is living with us until June) and tell her all about you. I didn't realize how long it had been since I fully got to share your story. I didn't realize how good it felt to cry anew and share how I felt, then and now, what I struggled and still struggle with. I didn't realize how much I really needed that. To share you. To share that I am your mother too. It felt good.

On the morning of your birthday after Daddy left for work (his job has been a little crazy and had to go to work early) the kids and I, along with Charity, watched the slideshow that I made for your memorial and looked at a little photo book that I created. It was strange because the kids, except for Livvy, didn't really remember the slideshow or the book. They, of course, know your name, include you in the count of kids, etc. but I hadn't realized that they didn't remember you, or the time that I carried you. And as for Jon, he wasn't even born. In a sense it was all new information for them.

We all shared some tears. Livvy snuggled up to me with tears in her eyes. She said something about wishing she had met you. Sammy and Ben didn't seem affected until after looking through your book. Then I saw Ben crying on the couch opposite of me. Poor little guy. Sammy joined in too with his own quiet tears. Jon just looked a little confused and said something about you "going up". My sweet kiddos.

After wiping away tears, we loaded up the van and went to Aunt Shirley's to meet Oma and do some fun swimming in Clarkdale. We had a very nice time playing in the pool. Shirley even fed us ice cream and cookies.

I'm pretty sure you would have loved swimming, ice cream and cookies, what 4 year old doesn't. Even though I know you were exactly who God intended you to be, I still wonder what you would/could have looked like - a chunky baby like Danner, Ben and Livvy? Or skinny like Jon and Sammy? Would you have been super talkative, rambunctious, or more of a quiet fellow? Oh, sweet baby, how I long to know you more fully.

We picked up Daddy at work after getting back into town. He stopped at the grocery store to buy balloons. Usually we let them go in our back yard, near your garden. But this year the timing was a little off for getting back home before the sunset, so we drove out to Lake Mary to let your balloons go.

The kids, Daddy and I all wrote little messages like usual. Oma even sent one up with us from Clarkdale from her and Opa. Then...1, 2, 3 we let them go. We've never taught or told the kids that you're in heaven looking down on us or that you can see the balloons (or somehow read this letter) - I don't believe the Bible teaches that, even though it is a sweet thought and I love the idea. We just launch the balloons as a sweet way of remembering and celebrating your life. Maybe it also helps us to let go of some grief. Maybe.

Your Daddy, sister and brothers, and many others love and miss you.

I love you my sweet baby Noah.

I long to hold you again.