So much went wrong, but so much went right, and these things are on the forefront of my mind. I want to remember. I need to write this down so that when I get to points in this valley when I can’t see the sun, I can remember.
The day he died, we were aware. He didn’t pass in some unknown moment. He passed as his daddy and I spoke words of love over him. He passed as we read Bible stories to him. He passed without struggle or trauma. It was the gentlest removal of life support, a falling asleep and waking up whole. All he ever knew was love. It was everything I wanted for Sam’s passing.
My labor and delivery nurse was the sweetest and most patient nurse I could have asked for. She took a picture of me splaying out my baby’s perfect fingers because she knew this was an important detail.
With all the travel and activity necessary for Sam’s burial, I could have been in a great deal more pain. My body was miraculously preserved during labor in several ways, despite delivering breech, despite the induction, despite the heartache that surrounded labor. I could have lost a significantly greater amount of blood than a normal delivery because of my abruption. Instead, I lost significantly less than anticipated. The doctor was ready to transport me to the OR in record time, but it was never necessary.
Living so far away from family, we could have braved this journey alone, but we didn’t. Saints gathered around us in prayer, blessing and affirming Sam’s life with their presence. They offered to accompany us to ultrasound appointments. They brought meals. They asked us how we were. They hugged us. They came to Sam’s memorial service, an entire month after his passing. We weren’t their son or daughter. We weren’t their brother or sister. We weren’t their obligation, but they walked with us as though we were.
Through a wild intersection of circumstances that seemed unfortunate but were actually rather fortunate, the sum of the medical bills we were responsible to pay came to $55. Through the generosity of those who had no obligation to us and others we have never met, burial costs came to $0. Plane tickets to and from Texas for my parents, Steven, and I were provided by precious friends. The events of February were so unexpected and violent, Steven and I were shaken to our cores. He worked less than 2 days during that month, and in his line of work, if you don’t work you don’t get paid. There is no paid leave. Yet every single bill was paid. No debt was incurred, and we were never in want for food, clothing, warmth, shelter. We never had to do without. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but it happened. We were financially preserved.
Steven worked less than 2 days during the month of February. The days he missed were unexpected leave. Yet he retained his job.
I was blessed with a husband who has grieved differently than I, but so openly. So many marriages are damaged by the loss of a child. So many husbands and wives are driven apart, but we were driven together, and our love for one another has grown through our sorrow. Steven is a better man than I could have ever imagined being married to. There are days that I feel like everything has gone wrong. There are days I feel like Jesus is absent, but I look at my husband’s calloused hands and my faith is renewed. Steven has been Jesus-with-skin-on for me so many times.
Maybe if none of this had ever happened, our lives would be less sorrowful. Our hearts would be less broken. We would not have this grief to bear for our lifetimes. But then we would never have had Sammy, and he is truly the miracle in this. Our little boy beat the odds in his conception, beat the odds in the length of his life, in how he thrived in his short life, in how much he was loved by so many. We didn’t see the miracle of his healing this side of heaven, and I grieve my loss, but maybe there is a miracle yet to be rendered. If God can heal me, if God can bring joy to the bereaved heart of a mother, this will be a miracle. Watch and see; it is happening. This is an out-of-control life, this life wrought with tears, this life that’s taken a permanent turn away from the life I thought I wanted… this life is worth it. To be the mother of such a precious little soul… I will take the tears. They don’t compare to the triumph I will know in heaven, when I hold my little boy again.