Today is Thursday, May 26, 2016, and I’m having an off day. Technically I’m not sure you can really classify it as an off day when it resembles what every day has been like for a while now, but it sure isn’t an on day. I never really know what to expect when I wake up – sometimes I just need to stay there for a bit because I feel heavy. Occasionally I get right up and go feed the fur babies, get a work out in with my fantastic wife, and get ready for work without blinking. Almost every day I pop into the nursery and think about what that morning would have been like with Jonah, and sometimes it’s just a simple “Good morning, son – Daddy loves you”. It isn’t always smooth and it almost always ends in tears, but it’s time that I devote to him regardless of how much time I take.
Every single day is a crap shoot. Listening to comedy sketches online is good for a laugh until a commercial comes on talking about how safe it is for that family on screen to bring their new baby home in a new car. I can’t pick a freaking space movie to watch (hellooooo Gravity and Interstellar) that doesn’t involve whichever main character it is that has to leave their family behind, let alone one that used to make me feel good because they found a way to power on after the loss of someone (We Bought a Zoo). Pick a song that isn’t about ridiculous pop culture nonsense and you’re listening to love stories, songs for their children (Humble and Kind, anyone?), or songs about losing someone. I was listening to one of my current favorite rock bands two Christmases ago when a song the lead singer wrote after losing his mother came on and I lost it – we had just lost Dee to cancer. I still can’t listen to that song. Any given minute is different than the last. I keep copies of two ultrasound photos at my desk because I’m proud to be Jonah’s father, but some days they rip my heart out. I go back and forth from wildly productive to sitting and looking out the window… and then I write. Sometimes it’s early morning or late night, sometimes I take a short break at work and pump some emotions into words. Every single time it hurts, but when I’m done I feel a little closer to my boy.
This life wasn’t the one we were hoping for – no one wants to lose two children. No one wants to fight off feelings of jealousy or anger when they pass a pregnant woman or a family with a baby. Every single time I pass baseball practice I think about whether or not Jonah would have been athletic, just like every time I go swimming I envision taking him to swimming lessons. I know he’d have been a stinking fish in that water. Nope, this sucks and there’s no two ways about it. The thing that keeps me sharing these thoughts and fighting for some positivity out of losing my son is that since I made them public they have been seen over 1500 times. I don’t care of that’s the same person visiting every single time – that’s 1500 chances that Jonah’s spirit has been carried on in some meaningful way outside of what’s happening in my heart. Seriously, think about this for a second – Jonah made it one day short of 39 weeks before we met him. He never took a breath, never looked into my eyes, and never smiled in open air. We spent six hours with him after his birth, and that has turned into 1500 chances to make a difference. Six. Hours. Sometimes it feels like I spend that much time making my freaking food for the day, and that was essentially an entire lifetime.
My son spent those six hours in the arms of family and changed our lives forever. I’ve never felt the way I did when I got to hold him in my arms, and many people don’t get that far to begin with. Six hours was all it took to reach deep into my heart, and fifteen minutes is usually how long I need to write out what’s on my heart. I go back and read my own posts some days – especially about giving grace. But that’s the impact that we have the power to wield every day, and many don’t look beyond the car in front of them taking too long to turn (AmIRight?!).
Six hours was all it took, and a million little moments each day take me back. They inspire me to spend fifteen minutes every few days building ways to reach someone who needs to hear just the right thing in that moment, through my own random volition or through the Spirit (which is really the case, let’s be honest here). As much as my heart hurts from feeling this struggle each of these last 79 days, those six hours were a life time of love. So here’s where this takes me today:
What things have you overlooked in your daily struggles that were a blessing in the end? How many times did you take something for granted only to realize how powerful it was when it was gone? I know I do this every single day. Every. Damn. One. Live each day and take everything you can from it, because you never know when it ends. Six hours comes and goes in the blink of an eye, but for us it lasts forever because we were present right then and there. Take advantage of the people you have in your life, folks. They won’t be in your arms forever