To my sister Bekka,
Yesterday morning when I woke up I was complaining. Too little sleep- a baby who likes to vomit on me- a stubborn toddler- a persistent mouse in the basement and whatever creature ate that mouse out of the trap- a messy house- piles of dirty laundry.
Life was rough for me, and my poochy lip gave constant testament to that fact.
And then I got a call last night learning of your loss.
Your sweet little baby who was only with you for 7 days.
Like a bucket of ice water thrown onto my sleeping face, I realized what was really important in life. I realized how much I had that I wasn't thankful for. I realized how much I love you.
You endured a difficult pregnancy and I never once heard you complain. You lovingly grew your baby while chasing after little Lauren, working and maintaining a far more meticulous house than mine.
A C-section was necessary for you and yet even then you didn't say one negative word about the long recovery- having to take care of a toddler while recovering-the extra pain.
When I think of the physical pain you were still in when you had to say goodbye to your baby coupled with the emotional pain of your loss- my heart crumbles in an attempt to match your shredded one.
People say they're praying for all of us- but our only pain is the pain of empathy. We hurt with you.
You are the hero of this story. You are the mother with empty arms. You are the daughter that makes the rest of us look insufficient. You are the wife that is the closest thing to perfect on this earth. You are the sister that was there beside me every step of the way when I found out that my baby had Down syndrome- the one who always knew the right things to say.
I wish I knew the right things to say to you now.
To say I'm sorry feels trite. To confess to you that the mouse in my basement no longer scared me when I went down to do laundry to pack for my visit out to you sounds silly. To proclaim to you how thankful I am for my two children now seems cruel.
You had seven beautiful days with your baby. I know you'll treasure them always.
I wish I could have met him. I wish I could have celebrated with you more. I wish our sons could have played together. I wish John could have lived a happy, full life consisting of much longer than one week.
But the truth is, none of those became reality. And I hold tightly to the thought that there must be a reason even though I can't think of one to comfort you with now.
I thought the biggest struggle of motherhood was having to adjust to a disability that would never go away. But it turns out I was wrong. The biggest hardship of motherhood is having the one taken away from you that earned you that title.
Having to say goodbye simply a week after saying hello makes me scream of the unfairness of your life right now.
I know that God is good. I know that he giveth and he taketh away. I know that all things work together for good.
But that doesn't take away the brokenness of my heart when I envision everything you're facing right now.
God ultimately decides who should live and who should die and yet sometimes I want to say that he made the wrong decision.
God doesn't make mistakes. I know this. John is with him now.
But I know that doesn't take away the emptiness of your arms and the sorrow that seems permanently a part of you.
Sometimes life is pitted with such horror that it can't help but make heaven seem all the more sweet.
Perhaps when you get to heaven someday the first voice you will hear is little John calling you "mama".
The thought fills my eyes with tears because I know you would much rather hear that voice here and I'm beyond sorry it didn't work out that way for you.
I loved your baby fiercely and I will mourn him fiercely.
Nothing about this is easy, and I wish I could stop you from the hurt. I wish I could step in front of you and shield you from the pain.
I'm so sorry that I can't.
I hope you know how many people love you and are praying for you right now. If our support for you was like a boat on choppy waves keeping you dry- then you would be on an ocean liner in the height of luxury because you deserve nothing less.
I hope you can sleep tonight. I wish there was an anesthesia for emotions. I wish there was a magic pill that would make this all go away for you. I wish that fire wasn't a purifying source.
I love you. I'm hurting for you. I'm praying for you.
You are the most fantastic mother/sister/daughter/wife that I know. Thank you for your inspiration, example, and love. You are handling an unspeakable nightmare with more grace and dignity than most could even dream about. You are my hero.
I'm praying you can find comfort, peace and healing. Fire may be purifying, but the precious jewels don't have to stay there forever. Eventually they come out of the fire, sparkling, vibrant, beautiful and cherished. You were already those things. I can only imagine how much more beautiful you will be after the intensity of the fire dies down.
I'm coming tomorrow to give you another shoulder to cry on- a hand to hold. I'm bringing Addison because she spreads joy wherever she goes. I hope her face-consuming smile can help soothe your spirits. I hope her smile will remind you how my tears of devastation turned into a good thing.
I hope yours somehow will as well.
Your little sis