Everyone keeps asking how we’re doing. I almost laugh for second when someone asks us that. I mean how do you really think we are doing? Do you want the easy answer or the real one?
The truth is we are coping. We are hanging on by a thread some days, but we are still breathing. I still can’t seem to sleep with out a Xanax each night, but the nightmares are slowing and the panic attacks are less frequent. It has been 47 days since we lost Josh. We are now 23 days away from our due date. This kills me. We are less than a month away from what should be one of the happiest days of our lives, and yet we have already spent more than a month mourning, grieving, crying, and trying to understanding the death of our sweet little baby boy.
We still both lunge for the remote control when a baby commercial pops up on the television screen. I cringe whenever they mention the pregnancies of Princess Kate or Kim Kardashian on the news. Most of our favorite shows go unwatched because everywhere we look even the fictional characters are expecting or have brand new babies in their arms. I cry scrolling through Facebook as I see the, what seems like, daily pregnancy announcements or the photos of our friend’s sweet newborn babies. I am so thankful for their blessings, and I want to say congratulations to each of you, but it is so hard to type the words with tears in your eyes. I wouldn’t for a second begrudge any one of them – I love you all and really truly am happy for you, but the pain I feel of our loss seems to overwhelm all other emotions. I am selfish right now, and I’m told that that is okay. Some days are good, and I can look at those sweet new baby smiles and they actually bring me a bit of joy, but other days I have to scroll quickly past as I realize that I will never have photos of Joshua’s first bath, his first steps, his first day of school, his first dance, his first date, his graduation, his wedding (though I’m sure I would never think any girl was good enough for my baby boy). I will never get to hear his first words or hear him call me mama or tell me that he loves me. Some days the realizations of that are too much.
Last night as Patrick and I sat on the sofa and watched the Royals game, I cried. I realized that we would never get to take him to a Royals game. He would never get to wear the little blue and white Royals onesies that I bought for him. We would never teach him how to take the shells of the peanuts and how to cheer loudly when we hit a home run. Then as the storms began and the thunder roared loudly outside our window I cried. I will never get to wake up in the middle of a stormy night, because Josh had crawled into our bed to seek shelter and comfort. I will never get to comfort my child. I will never get to hold him and whisper in his ear that everything will be okay, because mommy’s got him. The pain of that is HUGE. When you are pregnant you worry over how much sleep you are going to lose when you bring your baby home. When you lose your baby you would gladly never sleep again if that meant that you could just hear your baby cry one more time.
Sometimes when people ask me how we’re doing I just shrug. Truth is I’m really not sure how to answer it, because every moment it changes.
I try to stay hopeful. I try to stay strong, knowing that God is still in control. I keep thinking that if I say that enough then I will believe it wholly and will be able to stop questioning Him. I’m not sure I will ever stop questioning His ways. I know that is probably an awful thing to say, but unless you have walked this path you can’t understand its pain. It’s different to grieve the loss of a parent or a grandparent. There are memories to cling to, special moments shared that help to sustain you in the dark hours. For us, losing Josh so soon and so unexpectedly, there is very little memories to hold onto. The first and only time we held him in our arms was when he was taking his final breath. These are not special memories to cling to. They are horrid and painful and full of anger that he was being taken from us. There is still so much I don’t understand about what happened. He was healthy and strong one day and the next morning he was just gone. No explanations. The pain of not having the answers is too big for words.
Don’t worry when you ask me how we’re doing, I most likely won’t spill this all out on you. I will most likely tell you that we are just taking it day by day and that we are hanging in there. It sucks, but we have faith enough to know that someday we will see him again and that gives us enough hope to carry on. I may even smile when I talk to you, sometimes I will even laugh from time to time. But most nights, when I get home, the mask comes off and the pain resurfaces and I realize that I am still very broken. Please keep praying for us. As we edge ever closer to May 3rd the days seems to just get darker and scarier. I know that the fear I have of that day is not from God. I pray that God will make May 3rd be a beautiful day full of light and peace and maybe even a few signs that our Joshua Patrick is safe and happy in the presence of our Jesus and our family in Heaven.
In the end our hope endures.
“Emmanuel, God is with us
El Shaddai, all sufficient
We never walk alone
And this is our hope”
“Our Hope Endures” – Natalie Grant