Sunday, September 22, 2013

Finding my JOY

This weekend we celebrated our sweet Coco's birthday.  She turned 4 this past week and I can hardly believe it!  It amazes me how fast time flies.   My living children's birthdays are difficult for me. I still have such a hard time celebrating life when I know all to well the reality of death.   I want so badly to make the day special for the kids, but even with all the bells and whistles, I can't rid myself of the sadness that creeps into my heart.... I continue to think of the fact that I will never be having a party for Declan.

However, I look at my living kiddos and my heart swells with pride and joy.  I am so thankful for them.  I often ask myself 'what did I do to deserve these precious people?'... that is typically followed with an extreme sadness as I remember that I am not able to have one of my children with me physically and that as lucky as I am, I am also so very unlucky as well. 

Slowly, I am moving forward in my journey... slowly I am excepting mine and Declan's fate.  I am trying to embrace this new life... this life with a broken heart, a raw wound sitting right beneath my chest.  I am always trying to see the JOY that God is consistently offering me.  This weekend part of that joy was Coco's beautiful birthday cake, made by a dear friend who I would not know if I wasn't on this journey.  

Another joy was this beautiful smile.... and this sweet little girl.  This momma is so blessed to have her! As much as my heart hurt... as much as I wanted to take a moment to have a good cry... when I saw those blue eyes looking at me with so much joy and excitement, I knew I had to put a smile on this face of mine and keep the party moving!  Enjoying as much as I could as it happens. 

I will always find myself thinking about the parties I won't be having for Declan... the little smile that I should be seeing, but won't be... the squeals of delight as each new present is open that I won't hear...  that immense sadness that I know I will feel is always soothed by three amazing people... My dear sweet loving husband, my goofy, brilliant oldest son Noah and my very own princess, Coco.  Together the three of us are walking this journey side by side... day by day and taking each moment to try and see the JOY that is abundantly supplied to us. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

This thing we call life

Twelve years ago today, Nathan and I said our 'I do's'.  We looked at each other, promised to love each other through sickness and in health and until death parts us.... we walked out of our crowded church, holding hands and beaming with excitement.  Looking back on our special day I admire our innocence... I envy our naiveness... I am jealous of the dreams that we had and the belief that life would always be perfect.  I was 24 years old... I had yet to realize that bad things do happen to good people.  There was no way I could have ever imagined the sadness I would feel because I was so overwhelmed with happiness.  Our future held endless possibilities, endless potential and was the beginning of a bright life together.  We had big dreams... but we didn't want anything out of the ordinary...

Our wedding sermon was called "Minding your Ps and Qs" and although I don't remember Pastor Kevin's exact take on it, I remember him talking about minding our manners... saying Please and thank You to each other... being tender with each other's hearts.... and appreciating our relationship and the people that we are and loving one another through the ugly and dark times.  Complimenting each other freely and expressing our love towards one another often. Remembering to nurture our relationship and never take it for granted. 

However, after losing Declan, our relationship changed.  It had to.  I believe nothing stays the same as it was before.  In our life there is a definite "before and after" when it comes to his death... and although from an outsiders perspective our lives may mirror what and who we were prior to losing our son, trust me, we are different.   In our marriage now, I would say we are more quick to move past anger.  We have more faith in our commitment to each other.   We love deeper and allow each other to be vulnerable.   We hold each other while the other one sobs... stroke each other's back during the bad days.   We also have moments and days when anger comes quickly and hurtful words find their way out of our mouths before we have a chance to think about it.  When our raw, wounded heart can't take another minutes of feeling like it does and it snaps... We need to work more on finding the middle ground again... getting to a point where we can recognize that the hurt is building and needs some way of releasing itself.   But... these moments flee fast and are followed by immense guilt, followed by a flood of tears.  What I am realizing is how important, now more than ever, it is to "Mind our Ps and Qs" with each other.... our damaged and bruised souls need extra love, extra patients and extra tenderness... today, I wonder if Pastor Kevin is thinking about those words... is there anyway he could possibly know what his wedding sermon, 12 years ago, would mean for us today.   I would think that even Pastor would have to admit, that was God preparing our hearts for this unthinkable loss.  

It's been a journey I can't imagine taking with anyone else.... it's been a trip to hell and back... but together, Nathan and I have found what it means to work as a team and put together some resemblance of healing... each day we walk two steps forwards and somedays we take three steps back, but we are walking... one way or other, together we will walk hand in hand, fighting for each other and fighting for this thing we call life.

Happy Anniversary Nathan Lee... everyday you make me a better person than I was the day before.