There are a lot of things we prepare ourselves for because we know they’re coming. Small things and big things, navigating life as we go. I was ready to spend my life watching Luke grow up – until I couldn’t. I was ready to do the things with Jonah that I wasn’t able to do with Luke until we learned about his markers. From that point on our life getting ready for him was a two headed snake – trying to keep our heads on straight, and educating ourselves about his conditions and the care he would need when he was born. I was ready to fight for his care when we were told he couldn’t have it. I was (more) ready for a daily life of hard decisions and accommodations after we had a stronger understanding of what life would be like with a son who had Trisomy 13. I was ready to meet him and see his little face, knowing it was more likely that we wouldn’t bring him home than it was.
I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.
Sitting here writing this, I know you’re never ready to say goodbye. You run through the good times and fun stories doing your best to grasp just how much of an impact they had on your life, but you can never fully prepare for someone to pass on, let alone your child. All I wanted at the time was for them to stay with us, to live and breathe and run and play and do all of the things little ornery boys do. I wanted to teach them and watch them learn things. To watch them crawl and walk… To hear their voices when they start to form words.
Now I only want to feel them.
This space has been very therapeutic for me and grasping what life is like now with two boys in Heaven. For those parents who have had to say goodbye too soon, I feel you. Heavy, like wet concrete on my heart – shifting with the motion of the day but unrelenting. I cry tears of love and heartache for those children just as I do for mine. The only advice I can give that is worth giving is to find something that you can hold on to, just for you. If you feel closest when you’re in nature, go on walks/runs/rides/hikes. If that’s time to yourself turning wrenches or building something, take it. If that’s writing (*clears throat*), put pen to paper and find your special place. But whatever that is and wherever you need to go, give yourself that time because you’ll never feel further away than when you’re searching for them and can’t make that connection.
In my mind, every time I sit down to write I’m still holding Jonah in that rocking chair, kissing his head and telling him how much he means to us before we had to put him in that cradle – the last time we saw him in person. I’m still not ready, but I’m trying. I give every single day my full effort, no matter how strong it is because that’s the lesson I would have taught them. Keep your head up – the night is darkest before the sun rises.