Friday, January 6, 2012

730 days

I had never really thought about how many days are in 2 years. I suppose I haven't had a reason to ever keep track of days to that length. 730 days...that's how many days are in 2 years. 730 is the number of days it's been since I held my precious baby boy alive. As I see that number staring at me, I can hardly believe it. I can remember in those initial days and weeks wondering if I'd make it to the next hour or day. It's amazing how much pain the human body can endure. And here we are 730 days later and we're still here-living this life. Aching for our son and longing for heaven, but here with 3 beautiful children and enjoying each moment we have here together. To that I can say, we are living proof of God's grace,faithfulness and love.
Great is thy faithfulness...
It's been 726 days since I held Graham for the final time. We buried him on January 10th. I will never forget when they brought Luke and I up to an area in our church where they had him. I still try not to make eye contact with that room when I'm at church. It hurts too much. The place where we had to say our final goodbyes. How do you do that?! How do you tell your child goodbye? I remember wanting to just take him and run and never look back. I wanted to keep him with me, where he belonged. The finality was so hard. I remember our Pastor telling us it was time-time to let go of his physical body. Time to put him back in the casket. It wasn't long enough and then again, there is no amount of time that would have been long enough! And that was it....we placed him back in the casket and they closed the lid and that was the last time I saw the face of my precious child. So many of those moments and days are a blur. I was given so much medicine just to function and yet I remember certain things with such great detail. So much of the time it still feels surreal. I think, "Did this really happen to us?" There is nothing more horrible than burying your child. I still have to pray to not slip into a life of resentment and judgement wondering, " Why us, God?"
When I look in the mirror on our dresser in the bedroom, I can still see Graham propped up on my chest. I used to hold him like that until he'd go to sleep many times and I'd peek in the mirror at him to see if his eyes were still open. He was beautiful with his big, brown eyes and he always looked so content to just lay right there on me. I'm so grateful that many times I just held him. I can still feel him there. I'm not sure I will ever look in our mirror and not see his sweet face.
As I sit here tonight and into the wee hours of the morning I feel so much pain and anguish. We ache so much for our son. We have 2 children that miss and talk of their brother daily and a precious baby girl who will never know her brother...just of him. We have learned the importance of living out each day and moment fully never knowing that they may be the last. James and Lauren talk often about what Graham is doing in heaven. It often times makes me teary eyed, but usually makes me smile and even laugh. They have such an amazing picture of what heaven will be like. It's so refreshing for me and such a beautiful reminder.
The loss of Graham was and still is so horrible. I will never understand it. I have discovered though that although I had no power to determine the course my life would take, I do have the power to choose how I respond to it even though it is hard and it hurts. I continue to pray that that although the loss of Graham is a horrible chapter of our story and always will be, the book itself will be good. I've just had to change my definition of what a "good life" means and looks like.
Here are the ways I have seen God's faithfulness: James and Lauren are amazing! They laugh and love each other and others greatly. They talk daily of their sweet brother in heaven. We were blessed with our sweet Landry and what a precious blessing she is. Luke and I are still together and thriving in our marriage. We've had amazing friends who have cried and laughed with us and family who has met us each step of the way during these difficult 2 years. Although it feels we have lost so much, we are clinging to His faithfulness in our lives.
When I feel as though my heart cannot bear any more hurt I am reminded of this amazing quote from Randy Alcorn's book Heaven:
"The most ordinary moment on the New Earth will be
greater than the most perfect moments in this life...those experiences
you wanted to bottle up or hang onto but couldn't. It can
get better, far better than this...and it will...."
This is the hope I cling to each day, especially in the dark, dark moments.
It reminds
me of the great hope we have. So in these times when I feel as though the wind has been knocked out of me, that I cannot possible cry any more tears or ache for my beautiful son any more,
I must remember that there will be a day when the Lord will make everything perfect and right and we will run to meet Graham. For all of you who are walking with us, I can't wait until you get to see him again either. The kids, Luke and I always "fight" over who's going to be the first one to Graham. James seems to think he is going to beat Luke because according to him, "I'm a fast runner!" Bless his sweet heart. I dream of what that reunion will be like.
So as I stare at my son's grave with sobs that cannot be suppressed, I remind myself of God's promises...morning by morning new mercies I see...
I must walk in faith because I don't want it any other way.


Shannon said...

I love your heart, Shelly. Thank you for your realness, and rawness. I will always be praying for you and the family. I love you friend.

Carrie said...

What a brave woman you are! Trusting God in the worst moments! While your ache will never be filled, it is amazing to you see you being filled with hope that only come from God!! Love you Shelly!! Prayers Nightly!

Sarah said...

I can not read a blog from you and not end up in tears. Thank you so much for your honesty and bearing your heart. I pray for you and your family often and I love seeing what God is doing in your lives!

Hayley said...

Oh, my friend, I am so sorry for your pain.

My heart latched on to your line "it is amazing how much pain the human body can endure."

So, so true.

Hold on. . . Heaven is coming!

Jewel said...

Oh, Shelly, how my heart aches w/you reading your words. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. May God bless you, Luke, & your family richly this coming year!

Jen said...

Shelly--I just wanted to write and say it was so nice to see you over Christmas at Jo-Jo's. I got to do what I have wanted to do for months....give you a big hug! I meant what I said....I think of you so often and you continue to be such an inspiration to me and how I love my kids. You are the epitomy of living out one's faith and hope in Christ. I hope to run into again some time. Many thoughts and prayers--
--Jen Prough

doddyj said...

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

That is incredibly obvious by your story, Shelly. I cannot wait to spend time with you in heaven and meet your precious Graham, who I'm sure will be tightly wrapped in your arms.