Tonight I was writing a text & it dawned on me, all too often we focus on what has been taken away from us and lose sight of the gifts that have been given.
Leading up to the boys' birthday I focused on my loss. I focused solely on my empty arms, broken heart, crushed dreams, and the lack of that new baby smell. I spent nights curled up into a ball with their blankets, which smell like lavender, and would ask God why my babies were no longer wrapped warmly on my chest; Why they were taken away.
It's been over a month since the one year of their passing, and I've been feeling a shift in my heart. The past 6 months I've allowed grief into my life like a new friend. When it comes knocking on my door, I open it. I apologize for the mess, with a giggle of course because secretly I don't care, and I offer it some coffee. I know it'll be here for a while, so might as well get comfy.
Grief and I have been talking. It tells me it hurts, I agree. It tells me I'm going to cry, and I say "Great!" This where my shift began. In the beginning stages, or well even the middle one's, I fought grief and the tears. This mama had to keep it together for everyone else's sake, so grief was a no go. But once I finally allowed it in my life, I began to learn to manage it and become friends. I know this sounds weird, but it's true. When you don't fight your friend, you learn to love their quirks, and although you may not always agree or want to spend 24/7 with them, they always seem to help time to time. Grief has been helping me. It's showing me how to live a life with purpose, how to love harder and to enjoy the simple things in life. It's showing me that a simple argument can be detrimental, as we are not promised the next hour, so we need to move on, forgive and love harder. It's showing me that I do in fact have a purpose that's larger than me. I used to live day to day just going through the motions. > I need to wake up at this time, make coffee, feed kids, get them to school, go to work, come home, finish emails, play with kids, make dinner, spend time with my husband, lay kids down, me time, and then go to bed. < Where's the purpose in all that? I was like a zombie, missing all of God's dreams laid out in front of me. My story is larger than me.
With that, I'm still hurting. My heart is still in pieces but I am no longer suffocating. When I cry, I cry. I allow myself to hurt. I allow myself to feel their loss. I allow myself to grieve, and in doing so, I can finally breathe again and see a little clearer.
This life is hard y'all, and it's so easy to focus on what we don't have. I could write a HUGE list of all the things that I've lost (including my boys, money, hopes, etc) and/or things I've never had (a minivan - enter laugh here - a home to call my own, etc), but today grief has taught me to look at my gifts.
The gift of memory.
My memory depends on the day. There are those days that I walk into 7-11 and the guy remembers me from all of elementary, middle & high school, and I literally cannot remember his name. There are those days that I'm so deep into my work that I forget to pick my son up from school. (Side note: I remembered at the exact time he needed to be picked up & my husband got him within 15 minutes. This only happened once.) Then there are those days that I'm driving, and I'm so deep into my traumatic memory, that I can barely remember the red and green lights. The screams, the cries, the looks on the nurses' faces, the feeling of labor, the feeling of sadness all flash before my eyes as if I'm in the hospital room rather than my car.
And then there's my gift of memory, from God. It kicks in and I'm laying in a hospital bed, holding both of my boys, examining them head to toe so I don't forget a single thing, and it feels like I'm actually there. I can smell them, their soft sweet smell from having a fresh bath. I can feel them, soft new skin. I can feel the weight of them, they're real.
God gave us a gift, and that is a gift of memory. I don't even want to imagine not remembering these precious moments and I'm in awe that God created something so simple, memory, that we take for granted all too often, so that we can look back and smile, and remember, and love.
Friends, don't let life's harshness get in the way of the gifts, even the small one's, that God has given us. Tonight, I'm grasping tight to my gift of memory and thanking Him oh-so-much for loving me so much to be able to create the gift of memory, so that while I cannot be with my sons, I can remember the time like it was yesterday.
A thousand thank you' s go to Him.