Losing Will and allowing God to give us joy through the mourning.
I am a 35 year old Mama to a sweet baby in Heaven, named Will. My husband and I had Will on February 5, 2018 and he passed away on February 7, 2018. We hope through this, someone will find the hope that only Jesus can give.
Three years. How is this even possible? It feels like Will was just born a couple months ago. And it also feels like a lifetime has been between when he was born and today. Some days life still doesn’t seem real. But we press on. We have to keep living. Lots of life has happened in the past 3 years. So much. Good. And sorrow. But lots of good.
God continues to help us get through each day. Sometimes it’s the small things. Random people will ask if we have children and you get the chance to tell of God’s goodness through deep valleys. Sometimes it’s just a rain shower followed by a big rainbow that brings nothing but tears. Sometimes through a good cry and reminder that it’s gonna be okay. Sometimes through the healing smile of Benji. You can see glimpses of God’s mercy and love for us through that little boy. And it’s always because of the promise of healing.
I miss Will with every ounce of my being each and every second. But the load has gotten lighter mostly. I know that God used our baby for His good. I just don’t understand why, but that’s not for me to know. I am just learning to live with it. I know that losing Will has taught me to love more and deeper than I could have imagined. And to live with hope. Hope that things will get better. Hope of Heaven. And hope that I’m gonna be okay.
I heard this song by Casting Crowns the other morning. It literally brought me to my knees. With so much going on right now, it is so easy to get caught up in worldly things. I worry all the time. How long will we have to wait for our next baby? What’s going on in our country? Is COVID gonna get us all? And Thursday morning, I realized it doesn’t matter. I need room in my heart. Lots of room for the Holy Spirit to move and use me.
The chorus has a line, “You can come as you are, it may set you apart, when you make room in your heart, and trade your dreams for His glory. Whoa! Trade my dreams. Well, I’ve been there. I dreamed for years of holding a baby and raising a child in our home. Well, I fully surrendered when Will was born to His will. Now, God has called us to adoption. I traded what we thought life would be to show others that you can turn tragedy into good if you allow God to use it for His glory.
Sometimes life isn’t fair and things don’t go the way you want. Just surrender. Give up those fears of the virus. Give up the political worry. God is going to use us if we leave room for Him to.
I used to be so scared of cemeteries. Anytime I would ride by as a young girl, I automatically assumed that dead people would get me. I guess I was just a weird kid. And then as I got older I realized that wasn’t the case, but they still scared the mess out of me. Death was something I never had to learn how to deal with growing up. People in church died, sure, but they were old and ready to go to Heaven.
And in the summer before college, my first great grandparent died during my lifetime. I was heartbroken. And he was 92. So, I assumed it was time for death. And then another great grandparent died. She was 85. Again, old and it was time. She was in pain. And then my Granny died in 2009. And she wasn’t old. And I wasn’t ready. And death scared me. It was hard. Feelings were raw. I couldn’t say her name without bawling my eyes out for years. Obviously, I should have gone to seek professional help. I can’t deal with change. That was the lesson I learned.
And then fast forward 9 years. My own baby died. My flesh and blood. He had been in my body just 2 days before. And that’s when I learned that death is always going to come. It’s inevitable. God designed it. Because the end of life here on earth isn’t the end. It’s just the beginning. And it comes when you least expect it. And you don’t have to be old to die. And I was so sheltered, I guess, that I never even thought about my own baby dying. Will would have been 2 and a half this week. It’s been 30 months almost. And life keeps going. I still can’t figure it out. It feels like a nightmare that I can’t wake up from and life keeps going on.
All that to say, I’ve finally realized that a cemetery isn’t a scary place anymore. 35 years later and I’m not scared. I have been there when the sun rises, when the sun sets, in the middle of the night. Basically, I can usually be found creepin’ around Celestial Memorial Gardens. And I’m okay with being a creep.
I have had a wireless charger for my phone for a while now. It’s on my nightstand, close to the bed, so at night I am supposed to just lay my phone right there and trust that it’s charging. And most nights, I end up telling Coy just how much I hate that little round thing! I never know if it’s charging, I keep fiddling with it, and I have to make sure the light is on so I know it’s working.
I was about to turn over and lay my phone down for the night and realized that my life is like a wireless charger.
Literally. Every morning I am gifted the opportunity to open my eyes and decide whether I am going to continue to lay my life in His hands. I wake up, place myself in God’s hands, and choose to blindly walk by faith. It’s not easy. I keep checking to make sure that I’m still laying and resting in His hands. I keep fiddling with the temptations of this world and choosing to continue on with His plan. And then I have to make sure my light is still on and others can see Jesus through me.
Most of the time I know I am charging. But doubt keeps trying to knock me down. Life hasn’t been easy lately. August is right around the corner and we should have been welcoming a sweet baby into our family. It’s been a struggle to keep smiling and know that God is still working.
We began the process of adoption last month! There are so many times a day I question if we can do this. But I know that He has a purpose and He has promised to see us through. We are fully trusting what He has laid before us. I know He has called us to this. It’s a wonderful gift and a privilege. I don’t doubt Him. He will provide. God continues to use us. And I continue to keep charging myself daily.
Right after Will was born and rushed to the NICU, the nurses asked Coy who could come be with him. He immediately responded, Mama. It was my mama. She ran, with my daddy following. She knew I couldn’t be there, I was still in surgery. But she was there.
The first time a mama touched him, it was her.
The hand above his head is my mama’s, his Mimsy. There is no other hand I could have wanted there. I know the love the two of the shared is beyond comprehension. I choose to celebrate her today and every day because of how she loves me and everyone else.
Tonight I’m sitting on my couch with a wondering mind…
I always wonder who Will would have been. What his personality would have been like. If he would have acted more like me or Coy. If he would have still let me cuddle him. If he would have been so so funny.
But tonight, I wonder about the other small baby we just said goodbye to. 10 1/2 weeks was the time we had. I love that baby. I loved the idea of a baby in our home and arms.
But God has other plans and His ways are higher. I sure do hope and pray that one day we will be in the hospital holding a baby and bring that baby home.
This evening will be 2 years since we held Will while he slipped into Eternity. Some days it feels like it was just a month or so ago and other days it feels like it’s been forever. I can still feel the weight of him on me. I can still feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and the pain of loss is so real. I still feel the rawness and reality of death. I still allow the devil to creep in during a super weak moment and get me doubting God and the healing He has brought.
And then God reminds me to calm myself and cast ALL my worries on Him. He was there in the darkest moments. He is here now. He reminds me that when my heart of full of fear to call on Him, because He knows my name and He knows what I’m going through.
I was riding down the road the other day thanking God for everything He is doing and the best song I’ve ever heard came on. It was Testimony Time by the Down East Boys. Here’s the chorus of it:
“Come gather round and spread the news
Tell what the Lord has done for you,
and let the whole world know that God is good. Come on it’s testimony time, the devil will be left behind. We’re more than over-comers when it’s time to testify.”
And right then, God spoke to me in a loud voice. He told me that He has this. He’s been writing my story for years. He knows everything. He knew what was coming two years ago. He knew what was coming long before that. And he knows what’s on the horizon. He is writing a redemption story.
And what a story it is. We found out three weeks ago today that Will is going to be a big brother. What a bittersweet thing to say. Sometimes it feels so unreal. I continue to pray that God will allow us to bring this baby home and allow us the blessing of having a child in our home.
What a journey it has been so far. Sometimes I feel alone in a corner, and then I hear of something someone is going through and I’m reminded that everybody is going through something. It’s how you allow God to work in you and through you. Since the moment I found out Will was sick, I have asked God to use us to show someone how good God is. I really hope people know He’s still in the business of miracles and can see that through me and my family.
Last night we went to the Christmas pageant at First Baptist. We sat on the pew with Benji and watching him watch made my eyes fill with tears. Seeing a baby enjoy the magic of Christmas lights is something that I’ll never forget. I was so enthralled watching this baby I love so much that it made me think about what it would have been like watching Will enjoy this show. But I reminded myself I can’t, so I sat and enjoyed Benji.
And as most Christmas pageants go, they had a fun part with lots of laughs and then the gospel was presented. And at the end, you imagine that the choir singing in white robes to Jesus is what our earthly minds picture Heaven to be.
And right there in the pew, the Holy Spirit touched me. I felt it. I sat the hour before enamored with Benji, but wishing I could be watching Will. And the Holy Spirit literally placed His hands on me and told me that I have Heaven to look to with Will. He made me realize that I can enjoy this place He has given me right now, but oh don’t forget what is coming! He showed me a sample of what it will look like. And I cried. I tried my best not to turn crying into sobbing. Through that simple presentation, I got to enjoy both of those baby boys who hold such a huge place in my heart. Here and in Heaven.
Oh what a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see. I know I’ll be there with Will singing to the One who created us.
Last year, life wasn’t fun. It was a struggle. Daily. Now, almost 22 months into grief and healing, days are easier. God has truly placed a healing hand on my heart. It feels easier to breathe. And for that, I’m so thankful.
We went to the Carol Lighting last night at the State House. I know that last year, I would have had a panic attack on the way. This year, we were so excited. I don’t know if the addition of Benji has been the biggest blessing in my life or what. My heart feels so less hardened by everything and I truly feel happy again.
That doesn’t mean I don’t think of Will every second of every day. It’s just that I smile about him. I laugh about what he would have been saying. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes it stings at the what might have been. But then I am so thankful for the time we did have with him that I’m overjoyed. Will is celebrating this holiday season and every other second with the King of Kings and I couldn’t be more excited for him if I tried. What a day that will be when I spend every second with Jesus holding my baby!
Happy Thanksgiving. It is this Thursday. And I’m feeling thanksgiving in my heart again this year. Enjoy everyone you have. Enjoy every minute you have with those people. Life can change quickly.
Psalm 100:4-5 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For theLordis good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
Twenty months ago about this time, we walked into a lifeless house. Neither me nor Coy said a word. There were no words. Tears filled the backs of my eyes, but none could come down my face. I was numb. Coy’s eyes looked dead. We were new parents, sleep deprived, and exhausted. The only difference was our baby didn’t get to come home. He had just passed away and we had to leave his body all alone at the morgue. That is a stinging pain I will never forget. I still feel the lump in the back of my throat. Twenty short months ago, it felt like death was going to swallow us whole. That’s what the devil will do. He came to steal, kill, and destroy.
But God sent His Son to redeem all evil and save the world. And because of that, we can go on. Fast forward to tonight, we heard Will’s song on the radio, smiled at each other, winked at Will sitting on the moon, and held hands and cried. It was a thankful cry. Thankful for today. Thankful for healing. Thankful for that baby boy who made us a Mama and Daddy.
All over social media, people talk about October being infant loss awareness month. That is a daily struggle in our home. It isn’t just a month. It is life. Don’t forget the parents who don’t have those babies in their homes. Looking in through our windows tonight, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell we are grieving. But, joy mixes in well with grief and I hope you can see that in our eyes too.
We have a baby in Heaven. We celebrate and grieve at the same time. Thank you Lord!