I’m a big believer in the idea that you’ll always find what you’re looking for, positive or negative. I remember so much about Jonah’s birth that it’s easy to gravitate to the harder things that happened, and more-so since he didn’t come home with us. Waking up that next morning in the foldout bed – chair? does anyone in the world know what those things are actually called or are they just picking on us?? – realizing that all of that really happened. Our sweet boy had been called Home and we had to come home to an empty nursery. Again.
What’s interesting, though, is that if I just flow through those days without trying to grab onto something I have a different perspective. The day after was one of the hardest of my life, but we had a clear path to the sunrise in a huge medical complex. We knew they couldn’t find Jonah’s heart beat during labor but the love they showed while encouraging Cassy taught me things I never would have learned otherwise. Our nurses – surely working through the worst type of thing they could in their positions – were absolutely where they were supposed to have been. And even though we only had six hours to hold him before we had to say goodbye, all of our family who chose to meet him were able to. We didn’t miss anything. We didn’t take it for granted. If I sift through all of the things I’m learning in my almost fatherhood, that is the lesson I would be most heart-felt to teach our children; be present and value everything.
The last couple of days one image has stood out to me above the others. My father in-law holding Jonah in the rocking chair taking a second chance to spend time with his grandbaby. Everyone’s first time through was touchy – they wanted to see and hold Jonah but didn’t know if we were ok with it or for how long, while trying to navigate a hello/goodbye unlike any other. This second was every bit as emotional, though, but was so much more comfortable. We were there together, in that moment, spending time with Jonah as a family. It was in this visit that we told him Jonah’s middle name – which was also this grandpa’s middle name – and the room was a little more emotional. In my typical fashion I did my best to lighten the mood and proclaim what his initials spelled – JAM (I was pretty proud of that LOL). That moment, frozen in time, is one of my favorites.
Amidst the emotional high of having and loving our son and then the low of saying goodbye is a second that we all laughed and smiled together, with Jonah in our arms. I spent so much time crying and mourning that day that the smiles were hard to come by, and few things are more special to me than that moment. Laughter despite the pain, and love in the face of darkness.
Friends, it’s so easy to go looking for things when they are right in front of us. Hoping to feel like we used to or trying to find something that will prop us up when we don’t feel like we can stand on our own only leaves us wanting. So many people around me are losing their little ones or their parents, or are fighting cancer or depression, that it takes a real effort to not look for something specific. Let yourself glide through and live with grace. Remember the good times while you’re hurting, and acknowledge that the best times have far more strength than the worst of them. Know that you aren’t falling down, you’re learning to fly. Trust in yourself.
The trees left standing after a storm are the ones with the deepest roots
It’s been a hard year, Jonah. We’re doing the best we can, learning to live for you instead of without you, but it’s a struggle. I pray that your love keeps me on my worst days and your sweet face appears on the best. Poppa loves you