It’s been nearly eight years this month since my first son was born and died.
Years later, I still marvel at how I was able to breathe that cold day we put him in the grave. As I left his coffin, I begged him–plead with a dead child I’d never hold—to please ask God to take me too.
I did not want to live, much less move.
As I type those words, they don’t feel any less intense, and the tears in my eyes still sting with the same raw, hot burn that they do every so often when I think about what time means in light of loss.
Many say that it heals.
I say that’s crap.
If anything, time allows you the opportunity to look back and see Providence and provision where you simply were not at a place to before. Time marches whether you want it to or not, and each second is sort of like a grain of sand over sea-glass that gets tossed in the waves. Not quite the same sharp, cutting piece of glass it once was, and even though dull through the years, some strange beauty in it exists.
Mainly because it’s a freaking miracle you survived.
People who are somewhat further from their losses (and even some for whom it is fresh) often will say, “I didn’t have a choice. I had no choice but to go on.”
I myself have said that. But…as the years have passed, so has perspective, and I now know that I most certainly did have a choice.
I chose to keep eating.
I chose to keep showering.
I chose to smile when something was funny, even though every fiber in my body screamed I was a horrible mother who didn’t really love her child.
I chose to make plans for a future without the child who was the answer to our prayers and I chose to suck every.drop.of.joy this life offers because I knew how fragile it was.
These choices were not a given, and they were and are still hard-fought.
Still, I choose to be thankful instead of angry, though every inch of my heart often feels angered by a betrayal of my faith and devotion.
Still, I choose to live like life is worth living, instead of giving in to the mother in me who cannot fathom how life can go on without all her children with her.
Still, I choose to allow happiness…even seek it…despite the fact that it seems impossible it could exist while I mother a grave.
My guess is that if you’re reading this, you’re making those choices too, and they are not ones you are taking lightly.
There is always a choice, even if it seems like you may be picking the lesser of two evils.
If you’re choosing to survive, and thrive, you’re choosing unfathomable bravery.
And I’m choosing right here with you.
Photo: Ama Strachan/Flickr