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.
(I wrote this the day after Easter, April 18. And just now posted.)
Every year in Sunday school as we were approaching Easter, we talked about Jesus in his final days. What He was doing. What His disciples were doing. What His mama was doing. I always wondered how Mary got through it. Seeing her son like that. Watching her son die. Then real life got me.
We went to ride by Will’s grave yesterday. Sometimes it’s just too hard to get out and walk down that short path. And not physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually. I’ve had more spiritual warfare standing on that small piece of land than I’ve ever had in my life.
But yesterday was different. I remembered sitting in Sunday school. In the downstairs of the church on the very same road as my son is buried and thinking about how saddened I was about Mary. So I got out and told Coy I needed to do this alone.
And I stood at my sons grave and prayed. And asked God to forgive me for doubting His plan. And thanked Him. I thanked Him for Easter. I thanked Him for Jesus. I thanked Him for promises He has made. I thanked Him for the hope of Heaven. I thanked Him for Will. I thanked Him for impressing the importance of Mary on my heart 25 years ago.
You see, Easter is about being whole. Easter is the whole reason we celebrate. Jesus was made whole and ascended into Heaven. And now my baby is there with Him. And I know in my heart I will be too. One day.
It sure doesn’t seem like it’s been this long. And it also feels like I have lived 10 lifetimes since you were born.
Life keeps moving at the speed of light and when I look around it feels like I could close my eyes and still feel you here. I could close my eyes and feel me making myself make the walk to visit your room in the NICU. I still feel the weight of the whole world on my shoulders while walking the hallway. I smell that hall. I smell you. I wish I could touch you. I wish I could hold your hand. I wish for anything for you to be here.
But you can’t. And I would do it all over again. My heart is broken but I can’t imagine not loving you. You made me a Mama. And I’ll never stop loving you.
God keeps using our family for His glory. People keep seeing Him through us. Everyday we choose to get up and keep going. Only because of Jesus.
I’ll never stop wanting to hold your hand. One day soon, sweet Will. Mama and Daddy love you more than anything.
I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life. Waiting on my turn. Whatever it was. I wanted it.
And here I am again, asking the Lord to give me what I want. Another baby. God, you were so good to give us Will. And we trusted You when he went to Heaven. And now we are trusting in the waiting.
I’ve tried to take the desire and want for another child away, but it won’t go away. I keep hearing God ask me to wait. Allow Him to work. And He keeps saying, wait. “You have no idea what I’m up to, Arianne. Be patient and trust Me.”
So I am waiting and praying. And if you are reading this, I hope you are praying for me while we wait.
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.