Sunday, January 22, 2012

4 years

It’s hard to believe how long it’s been since I have written on this blog. It’s even harder to believe that it has been 4 years since we said hello and good-bye to our son. Life is different. Life is good. Life is sobering. Life is real. Life is amazing with a faithful God.
I have spent some time this week reflecting on the past 4 years. It’s amazing where we are at right now. It really is. I know that when I was pregnant and reading blogs, I couldn’t imagine what 4 years would look like. I couldn’t imagine anything going forward because quite frankly at that time, life was standing still!! Would I ever feel joy again? How?
I realize now that joy is different for me. It is not joy in the things I had before. It is a scared joy in the things above.
Four years ago as we anticipated and prepared for Larson’s birth, I knew that the inevitable would happen—DEATH. I had already had 4 children. I knew what it was like to add to my family. It was easy. Sure there was a season of craziness. A period of transition as we got used to more work. I didn’t know how to have a child die. This was not normal. You get pregnant and anticipated the arrival of a spectacular event. You don’t get pregnant to plan a funeral, but that’s what we did. We had been planning a funeral for 17 weeks.
We made a decision when we received Larson’s diagnosis to watch his life unfold according to what God had desired. He arrived with an incredible smile and a miraculous cry! That cry was like no other. He had fluid in his lungs! It was a gift for sure! God gave us 23 amazingly sacred and beautiful hours of life. It’s not what I wanted. It’s not what we had hoped for. We wanted more. We wanted years!
The first couple of years where the hardest for me. Yes! 2 years was rough. Not what I expected. At times unbearable. I wrestled with God. He listened. I asked God questions. He answered. Not always how I had hoped or prayed for but he did answer. I went through dark times. God was there. A year after Larson died, I had incredible back and leg pain. I wondered why this? Eventually I had back surgery and then spent time recovering from surgery. The path I continued down was nothing I had imagined. I wanted my son. I wanted more children. That was not a part of our families story, but God has been faithful. Yes, He is Good!!
I have come to see the beauty of God’s faithfulness. It's not always been easy but it is being created by the Creator Himself. There has been darkness and depression. There has been laughter and tears. There has been pain and suffering. There has been smiles and anger. There is the good, the bad and ugly. There still is! But I am no longer stuck in the darkness. There truly is beauty from ashes. Not the beauty that the world looks for. My son is still gone. There will always be incompleteness in our family. But beauty isn’t there. Beauty is in hope. Beauty is in mercy. Beauty is joy in the LORD. Beauty is in a unchanging God. Beauty is in Jesus.
I still think of Larson daily. I smile as I consider his little body and every detail about it. I like that I can still imagine all of it. I don’t want to forget anything about him. When I think of Larson, it is no longer painful. It is not filled with the gut-wrenching grief and sadness. I don’t fill like I’m in the slough of despond and will not make it out. I am no longer in a pit. I am so very grateful for what God has given to me. Yes! Grateful for each one of my children and my husband and everything that is wrapped up in it. It’s not always easy, but the dance between joy and grief is beautiful. It’s beautiful because God is here! I don’t hope for perfection. I am satisfied with imperfect.
Last week, I was caught off guard by my attitude. After sailing through the seasons and feeling quite settled, suddenly I felt a stir in my heart. A darkness. I was anticipating Larson’s birthday. I’m not going to lie. His birthday is hard. The day to day of life is now normal, but there is nothing normal about celebrating a birthday without the birthday boy. How do you celebrate? We have done something with our kids each year and I am so grateful we have. We take the time to pause. To celebrate life. To celebrate another day of life. To thank God for getting us through the good and bad. We celebrate the incredible gift in a son, brother, nephew and grandson who impacted many! We celebrate Jesus who has allowed us the hope to see our son again.
After trying to fight my emotions, I decided to give in. To which his video and let the tears fall. He is worth the tears and heartache as much as he is worth the laughter and joy. Because in this place of grief (even 4 years out!) is also an amazing God. A God who was with us at Larson’s diagnosis, during the 17 weeks that we carried him, in the delivery room as we greeted him, in the hospital room as we enjoyed our time and God was there when we had to say good-bye and let Larson go. Yes, 4 days later I am still in this dance. And I am still dancing!!! Sometimes it’s graceful and smooth and other times I fall. But my partner is amazing. I don’t stay down for long because I have practiced this dance for a while now. It’s not uncomfortable anymore when I am clumsy, and I am ok with falling, because the fall is as beautiful as when I get up. Somehow in the fall the worship is sweeter and my gratitude deeper.
Thank you to all the many friends who continue to think about Larson. It always warms a parent’s heart to hear about their children and Larson is no different. We have some incredible friends who have walked by our side all this time and we have made many more. Until next time…