The other day, I stood in yet another new church. Since we’ve moved, we’ve been looking for the church we’ll call ‘home.’ Every church I attend has the meter of, “Will they tell me that Matthew’s death was planned?” and/or, “It was God’s will that he died,” as the measure by which I’ll decide where we’ll best fit to worship, and that in itself is a whole different article.
There I stood…so close to Matthew’s birthday and the day he died that I could barely breathe, and we drove the roads I’d driven eight years ago as we naively believed he’d come home from the hospital and be ours forever. I listened to the words of the songs, which typically have moved me in ways no other inspirational words have, and started to cry.
Flashbacks to this time eight years ago hit me like a ton of bricks. Such is the way that PTSD works–often triggered by simple things that would normally not even be noticed. As the music tuned out, I thought about how he’d been taken to another hospital, where the NICU would try to save his life.
I thought about how he looked in the unit they worked on him…the tubes, the listless look in his eyes. I never even saw all of that but in pictures, and still, the pictures haunt me. I thought about how it must have been for my husband at Georgetown, all alone and listening and watching the doctors frantically save a dying child.
Our dying child.
And then I thought about how I never got to hold him. How close I was to just holding him one time.
The ambulance from Georgetown was on its way to get me and take me up there. I was maybe an hour and a half, two at most, from getting to the hospital to be with him myself.
I readily admit I was not physically in any condition to do so. It was against the advice of every single clinician in that hospital that I go, and yet, they moved heaven and earth to help me get to my son.
But I never did. He died before I could.
This Sunday morning, I mourned two hours.
I wished like I have never wished for any amount of time before that I’d just had two more hours. That he could have just hung on for two more hours or the doctors would have helped him hang on just two more hours so his mama could tell him he was loved.
Just two more hours.
Today, on what would have been his eighth birthday, you’d think I’d be wishing for his whole lifetime. I mean, he should have lived to a ripe old age and I should be baking him a chocolate birthday cake.
But all I can find myself begging God for (and uselessly, I might add) was to have had two more hours.
If I’d just had two more hours I wouldn’t be aching to wonder what his skin felt like or his body felt like in my arms.
If I’d just had two more hours, my husband wouldn’t have to hold him alone, telling me the horror word for word over a stupid telephone.
If I’d just had two more hours, he’d have known what his mother’s arms around him felt like and he could have taken that feeling with him as he took his last breath.
If I’d just had two more hours, his last breath would have been with ME, like his first breath was, and if I’d just had two more hours…he’d have heard me tell him how thankful I was to be his mother, and how thankful I was to love him.
I just needed two.more.hours.
What I wouldn’t give for two more hours.