Grief is a funny thing, and if you talk to someone who's lost a child they would tell you the same thing, and truly that goes for any kind of loss. Grief is a paradox.... It's where I am closer to my son and yet where I feel the most pain. Without grief at times I feel like I would kinda move on. And that's not a term I like to use.
But life does move on even if we stand tall, and strong with one foot on the edge on staying suck in the past and the memories and one foot in the new life awaiting us.
Six years, 7 months and 8 days ago if you would of asked me how I would conceive life to be for someone who lost a child, all I could of done was tell you is sad story of a good friend who lost her son a year plus before.
I had no idea the excruciating pain losing a child will take on, nor could I begin to tell you the beauty that awaits if we allow grief to mold and transform us.
Six year, 7 months and 7 days ago I still even after watching a good friend lose her son, lived in this naive world that baby loss doesn't happen that much. And life moves on even if so. Never did I know how awful it can be to allow life to come after death. Naturally as mothers we don't think we will bury our children. But the reality is....... It happens every single day...... at least 1 in every 200 pregnancies will end in stillbirth.
I still remember the day I heard the most devastating words of my life, "I'm sorry I don't see any cardiac activity". Everything got really blurry, fuzzy and this piercing scream came from my soul but yet, couldn't come out my lips. All I could do was sob!
Now all these years later the pain from those words/memories doesn't bring me to a place of devastation, just a little twinge of sadness of what was suppose to be.
This year Ethan would have been a 1st grader, and gaining so much wisdom in his own 6.5 year old way. I still all these years later yearn to know what he would look like, how his voice would sound. His personality, traits, hobbies. I wish I could see a small glimpse on this side of heaven to hold me off until I got to be with him again.
Right where I am 6 years, 7 months and 7 days later is contentment knowing my son is in the most beautiful place. A place I cannot even begin to phantom what it would be like. How it would feel to be held in our creators arms. Not knowing anything but love. On my hard days, that's what I remind myself. Ethan only knew love. As much as my flesh wants him here, selfishly I know I have to let that go.... This isn't my permanent home, and it was never meant to be his. God knew that very day he allowed him to grow in my belly that his life would be used for something far greater than I could ever dream for Ethan.
However, 6 year 7 months and 7 days later, I still have moments of grief and sadness. A few days ago I came across the video made for Ethan by a friend. And didn't think for more than a few seconds about it. I pulled it up in anticipation of just remembering Ethan. And out of no where... that sneaky jerk called grief knocked me down so hard I felt tightness in my chest, and I couldn't breathe. All I could do was cry...actually sob. And even when I tried to push the tears away. I didn't succeed. I felt a pain in longing to hold my sweet boy again, to kiss between his nose like I did as I held his cold lifeless body. I longed to caress his fingers and toes. Not even noticing at the moment the purple color under his nails and the dark shade of red his lips soaked in, because all I could see when I looked at him was beauty. I cried because I know so many families are walking in this new grief at those very moments, feeling utter despair and shock. Probably even wanting to die. I remember feeling like I just wanted to crawl into bed with my son and die right along with him.
It's still amazing to me that grief can be so cruel, especially when you least expect it.
However, 6 years 7 months and 7 days later... I know deep down without a doubt the sun comes back out. It doesn't always feel so crushing. But rather just painful. I know sooner or later the tears will stop they always do. In the beginning I thought my tears would kill me. Each tear that fell back then was life another piece of my heart drifting away. And a lot of times I would think of Ethan just so I felt that grief because when I felt it is when I felt the closest to Ethan. And all I wanted was to breathe him in, and it was painful to think of life without him. I just wanted to feel the pain and I knew if I was feeling I wouldn't forget him. Now I know I will without a doubt never ever forget my son, he lives in the fabric of my kids, my family, my heart and he is woven into the thread of who we are. And what we fight for. I know now I don't have to get to that place to be closest to him. Although if I am honest, I do feel closer to him when I am in that pit. I just don't stay there so long anymore.
One of my biggest fears after I held him one last time is that I would forget what it was like to hold him, touch him, how he looked. And I am so thankful for the pictures I have of Ethan from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep because that makes it impossible to forget. And I think even if I didn't little parts of him would be ingrained in my heart. But surely as time passes it has become apparent that little things do fade, and I have forgotten how it felt to touch and hold him. But and a big but..... He will never be forgotten, it's impossible to go through the worst tragedy and forget.
Ethan's birthday this year was not like any other before. It was a little bittersweet, I didn't have people over. Not a single person, my kids and I got a few balloons and a cake and went to Ethan's resting place for his earthly body and we remembered him alone in silence. I will admit it was a little sad, but I chose it this year. Life was such a messy place and I felt the need for a more intimate remembrance. But I also know that doesn't mean he was forgotten by everyone. And as his mom it was most important I remembered than anyone else.
Sometimes even 6 years, 7 months and 7 days later my arms ache, my heart hurts and I want him back...... I want to sit and soak in the grief...... I want to feel his loss and his impact.... I want to celebrate..... I want to cherish in my mommy way the awful reality of baby loss.... And then I want to celebrate in the HOPE of Jesus Christ and all that he has promised..... I want to dance along side Jesus that my son only knew love.... And that this days, months, years are just a short comparison of time in heaven. And my job here isn't done.
There was this little boy Ethan Charles Donaldson that God used in mighty ways, and that little boy changed my life and I get to call him my son. I am 6 years, 7 months and now 8 days closer to being with my son.