20 Months

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!

Seasons

It’s spring time and the weather is starting to warm up. I think it is good for the soul. The azaleas are in bloom. The pollen is almost gone, I pray. The sun feels good. And life is starting to feel okay again.

I feel like most days I can breathe. Sometimes it still hurts to take a breath, then God gives me the nudge to take in a big ole deep breath and it feels good. Sometimes I feel guilty thinking it feels good to be alive. I remind myself that life is meant to be lived while we are on this earth. God made this place for me and you. So each day I am given a chance to wake up, I will keep reminding myself of that.

Just as we are in a different season of the year, God has placed us in a different season of life. We are healing. We are looking forward to the future. We are hopeful of another child. We are anxiously awaiting our nephew, who will be born any day now. We are full of anticipation. I know that there are so many good days ahead.

Thank God the season of deep mourning and depression feels like it is ending. Laughing feels good again. And that might be one of my favorite things. To laugh. A deep belly laugh. I know Will is laughing all the day long. So because God has given me joy, I will laugh and sing His praises. I know that my sweet Will would have made me laugh non stop.

It’s Been a While

It’s been over a month since I’ve put some words down on here. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. Journaling sometimes is my choice. But that can’t be on here, those thoughts would probably get me on a psych ward. Just kidding… a little.

I’ve been missing Will something fierce lately. It seems that time has been moving at warp speed and I don’t want to forget what he felt like. I don’t want to forget his beautiful face. Or the way I felt when he was in my arms. Thank God for pictures.

But, life is moving along. We are healing. We are making it. I am making it. I didn’t know if I would. If I had to do it alone, I’d be a goner. But God is so good. In the midst of everything, He is everything. I am reminded of this daily.

For so long, I wondered what I did to deserve this. Was is something I said? Something I did so wrong? Maybe something Coy did. Or a combination of our sins?

But God doesn’t punish us like that. Through all of this, I think God is using me. Showing me that He is enough. That I can’t do it alone. That He really does give and take away on this earth. But this isn’t home, this place isn’t final. He does allow us to suffer because that makes us draw closer to Him. We can’t do it alone.

Sometimes it feels like all we can do is dig through the trenches of today to finally close our eyes and hope that tomorrow will be better. I know tomorrow will be better than today. God gives us a new morning everyday we wake up. Each day I get is a reason to be thankful. And each day we get is another day closer to Heaven.

An Angel in Target

Last Friday night we went to Target to get a few things. One of the more important was a box of Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes. They had the white ones at this Target, so I went crazy and picked up a few boxes. Our Target never has the white ones in stock. So after more shopping, I got in line and Coy went to get the truck.

As I was unloading the buggy, an older woman behind me in line smiled and then started talking about the cakes. She loved them. She loved all Little Debbie’s. She has served those Christmas Tree Cakes as dessert before at a party she loves them so much. So then we started talking about the most important thing I found in Target. A tiny little Christmas tree. I have known all year that when December came I wanted to put a tree on Will’s grave.

So, the woman asked what I was going to do with that tiny little tree. She talked about how simple it was. And how pretty the limbs were. And then she asked. “What are you going to do with that one little tree?” I mustered up enough strength and with that tearful glisten in my eye, I responded, “it’s going on my sons grave.” And then I lost it at register 6.

But, she didn’t let that end our conversation. She asked how old my son would be. So I was able to tell her that he would have been 10 months old next week. She then asked what happened. I was able to stand there at register 6 and give our testimony. And we continued to talk while she checked out. It was surreal.

So I told her Merry Christmas and she said that she prayed the new year would bring joy and hope of another baby; which is what we have been praying for. So I high tailed it to the truck because I knew Coy would be close to the door. I was nearly sobbing because of the sweet encounter. And when I got there, he rolled down the window asking if I was okay. So I said yes, look for the old woman in the red sweater. And she never came out. We sat there at the front door for forever and she never left.

I know she was an angel. I have always known they exist. I never thought I would be able to see one on earth. But in the beginning of the Christmas season, I know God knew I needed that reminder. Sometimes it’s a small star I see in the sky and it is so bright that I know it’s God giving me a wink. Sometimes it’s in the midst of a heavy moment filled with grief that I get a little bit of relief. But last Friday, at register 6, I truly believe an angel came down from heaven to give me some peace.

So today, December 5, Will would have been 10 months old. I’ve tried all day to think about what he would have been doing if he was still alive. Who would he look like? What size would he be? Just about every what if has crossed my mind today. I know he would have loved the Christmas lights this year. And I know he would have been playing around our tree. So we decided on his 10 month birthday to take him his tree.

We placed it on his headstone and wept. It was a sorrowful time but before we left, we thanked God again for his life. Those 52 hours were the best times in the worst circumstances.

Every time we visit his grave, it’s a reminder of time continuing on. More grass continues to cover the ground over him each time we go. The weather continues to change. We have watched the leaves fall off the tree right beside him. And yet, it feels like life is standing still. Time and life continue to go on and I still can’t figure out how to keep up. Maybe I don’t have to keep up, just keep pushing through. That’s all we can really do.

I’ll be Home for Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas movies growing up was I’ll Be Home for Christmas with Jonathan Taylor Thomas. That scene where he waits outside the window watching his family and you can actually see the love has always made me choke up. The music. The lighting. Just everything. I always dreamt of when my son would come home for Christmas. Even as a teenager, I thought about that day years down the road and just knew I would be so excited to see him.

And then last year we were planning for this year with Will. And in my mind, I went 30 years down the road to him coming to our house with his family.

And here we sit tonight, riding down the road and I’ll be Home for Christmas comes on. The lump in my throat grows to those puddles of tears streaming down my face and Coy grabbing my hand again and letting me have my pity party. Then halfway through the song, God placed His hand on my heart, almost literally, and just gave me a peace.

I never get to see him grow, fall in love, marry, and everything in between. But, I’m here with my family and we are celebrating the Christmas season. We celebrated Thanksgiving with thankful and joyful hearts, but with an empty seat at the table. And we will continue to celebrate. That seat will always be there. And I’ll always wonder what would have been. But I don’t have to wonder where he is.

Will isn’t here for Christmas. He never will be. He is HOME for Christmas. Every single Christmas, my baby is home. I get to live this earthly life without him now, but I know that he is celebrating Christmas everyday and eventually we will celebrate together.

I truly hope if you are sitting with an empty seat, you have the joy of Christmas in your heart. It doesn’t mean you won’t have those hard moments, but ask God to give you the peace. He will continue to guide you through the unknown and give grace when you need it most. My prayer is that he covers me and my family in it this season, I know we will need it. Every single day I pray that He covers us in grace like He did in the hospital that day when we gave Will back to Him.

Merry Christmas season!

Thanksgiving

It’s thanksgiving week and I have been so sad. Some days I just feel down. I wish that Will was with us. It feels so lonely. He is missed at the table at every meal. He is missed when we take a picture. He is missed when we laugh. He is simply MISSED.

It just isn’t the holidays that are hard. Everyday is, but those big days we celebrated last year while pregnant, they kind of suck this time around. I just knew he would enjoy so much this year. I knew we would enjoy so much more this year because of Will.

And here is where the kick to the gut comes, we are learning to enjoy so much more because of losing Will. It’s so weird. I can’t even describe it. I am so much more thankful for everything now. The mundane stuff means more. And the big stuff I used to fuss over doesn’t even matter. Losing Will has taught me so, so much.

So this Thursday, when you are with your family, friends, or whoever you choose to be with, thank God for everything. Thank Him for the small things that make you smile. Thank Him for the big things that make you cry. Thank Him for that very moment you’re breathing. And thank Him for what He has given. And taken away. Because everything He does is something to be thankful for.

In the darkest moments of life, I try to find a reason to thank Him. It allows me to remind myself He is in control and He is continuing to get us through everyday. He is the reason for Thanksgiving. Psalm 100:4 says “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Will never made a sound here on earth, but I know he was so, so loud the moment he entered Heaven. And I know he hasn’t stopped talking since he woke up in Heaven. Will is in Heaven singing His praises and is perfect. I can sing His praises on earth until the moment He calls me home too. I will rejoice for He has made me glad.

Are you there God? It’s me, Arianne

You remember the book by Judy Blume? I never read the whole thing, but the title has always stuck out, “Are you there God, it’s me, Margaret.” Sometimes I feel like Margaret. Right now, I’m feeling like that. It’s 3:11am. I’m wide awake. And deep down, I know exactly where and who He is, but this crazy mind is spinning.

Why couldn’t he save Will? Where was He in the unknown we were going through? Why were other babies who were barely 1 pound at birth able to live but my healthy big boy wasn’t? Why can’t I have everything I want and have it right now?

Why am I even questioning everything? Because Satan is bad and he can get in your head. Satan plays with you. And if you don’t believe that, I’m here to tell you he will come in like a thief in the night. He can toy with emotions and creep up when you least expect him. Watch out, he’s waiting.

But, I know someone who is more real and is more alive than Satan will ever be. And when Satan comes knocking and making me doubt, I am reminded by the Holy Spirit that He is with me and in me and working for my good. He was there with us in the hospital. Will is alive forevermore. Not here on this earth, but he is waiting in Heaven. Other babies born have not fulfilled their purposes like God has fulfilled the purpose for Will’s life. Everything I want isn’t what God has planned for my life. He has bigger plans. And He will work everything for my good, in His time.

This suffering we are going through and the trials we will continue to face are just a part of life’s journey. In the midst of bad things, it’s hard to imagine life getting any better. But there are hills and valleys in life. I know we can’t be in the valley forever and I can’t wait to get to the hilltop again. I sang His praises when I’ve been on the hilltop before. And I am singing His praises in the valley. Despite how bad it hurts sometimes and how many tears fall when I sing a song.

So right now, I feel like God is saying, are you there Arianne? It’s me, God. He is always there for me and He will always be with me.

And because this blog is about Will, here’s another picture of my precious baby boy.

I’m reminded again as I add this picture that God was right there in that room holding me while I was holding my baby. In fact, in this moment, Will had already met Jesus face to face. I know the love I have for Will and how I felt holding him right there. I can’t even imagine a greater love. But I know God loves me even more than I could ever love Will, and that blows my mind.

So thank you, God, for being in that room and for filling that space with a tiny bit of Heaven. When I let Satan creep in and tell me you aren’t there, I just need to remind myself you are. And if I start to forget what You feel like, I can remind myself of the night Will met you. I can’t put into words the way the room felt that night. But I know You were in that room. It felt as if you were physically standing with us.