It was my sister-in-law's mom's funeral.
I still find myself thinking...was that really real? Is she really no longer here on this earth?
It happened so fast. Her illness was short, but drastic and ultimately led her home to heaven.
And that's the thing with life.
In the blink of an eye...and it changes.
Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the glory of eternity.
But never the less...in the blink of an eye.
It was touching to hear the tributes of Sheila's life. To learn a side of her I really did not know.
To hear the love of those around her.
To learn of her deep faith and desire to know God more.
A few things hit me as we sat through the service.
The most obvious...mortality and what type of legacy I would leave behind came to mind. I sat there wondering, "who would come to my funeral? What would they say about me? What memory would I have left behind? Would people REALLY have known ME? Would they have the memories of me that I would hope they would? Would they know how much I love? How much I care? How desperately I just wanted to friend those around me? That people in my life meant something very special? That I prayed for each of them? "
I also found myself DESPERATE to be conscious of what type of mother I want to be. The legacy I want to leave behind for Evan. To have Evan know without a doubt how cherished, loved, adored, desired, prayed for, longed for he was and always will be. To have him know that every night as I lay beside him while he falls asleep I lay my hand over him and pray the very best of all God has in store for him. The hopes, desires and dreams that I have for him. For his health, his happiness, his strength, his integrity, his wisdom, his love, his future wife and children (so should God have planned out for him). For every cell, organ, bone, muscle, tendon...every inch of him is covered in prayers of protection and health and wellness.
For him to know that he is more than enough. That no matter what...he is enough. And my heart is overflowing with love and adoration for this much desired, dreamed of, fought for little boy.
That ever second of pain and disappointment and sadness on the journey to have our babies enter our lives...has been worth it.
I never want Evan for a SECOND to ever wonder if I truly loved him enough. I want to cover our little boy in hugs and kisses until he pushes me off and tells me I am embarassing him (though secrectly I hope that he glows inside).
I want his memories of me to ones of pure love. That his memories of me will be ones of strong parenting and friendship delicately balanced. That there is never a question of how much every single second of our life together has been my greatest blessing and honor.
Of course, the other thing that raged through my mind during the funeral service was, Zac's service.
The memories of the days of Zac's life. Knowing what it is like to witness your loved one's last breath. The memory of knowing the moment Zac no longer took a breath while in my arms. Knowing in that moment that he was home. And that he would no longer hurt.
But also the feelings of sheer confusion. WHY did his sac rupture? He was a perfectly healthy precious little boy up to that moment. It had nothing to do with HIM. It was the sac around him, there to protect him, that ultimately failed him. ZAC was perfect. So WHY? What purpose was there to such a thing. And in this age of medical technology and breakthrough...how is it that there is nothing that can be done to repair a sac? And for 5 weeks as each movement I made created a new rush of loss of fluid and knowing there was that much less to help Zac breathe...WHY would God choose not to allow a miracle of repairing that tiny tear in the sac? WHY?
Then the agony of facing Zac's funeral. All the eyes on us as we walked in. I still feel the eyes on us.
But the beautiful service. Oh my, the day may be a blur, but I remember the feeling of the beauty of the service. And the words spoken. And the love in that room. The love for a little boy no one got to meet and know. The love for US in support of the loss of Zac.
How such a little life touched so many.
There are no answers sufficient for the "why". I don't think I'll ever have the answer to the "why". And at this stage...the answers wouldn't help anyhow. It wouldn't change anything, and it wouldn't make it okay. So I have to hold to just knowing that Zac is home. And we will be together in again.
In the mean time...Sheila gets to hold my boy. ALL my babies! I won't lie...I'm a bit jealous. But glad that she is able to get to know them all and tell them about me until I can get there too!
I also found myself thinking about who I am as a wife. Wanting to just have my husband know without a DOUBT my love and devotion for him. How PROUD I am to be his wife. How BLESSED I am to have him as my best friend in life. How DESTROYED I would be without him.
I found myself thinking about all the little nit-picky things that can get in the way of joy and love. I see the struggle and pain and sorrow we have walked through together, and have come through hand in hand. Yet, how easily those same pains and sorrows could destroy a couple.
I thought of my role as a stay at home mom, and wife. How easy it is for me to get annoyed at socks dropped randomly through the house all balled up. How much I wish I had central vac just to suck them all up, and for no other reason but for those socks :)
I thought about how frustrated I can get over piddly little tasks that really, in the big scheme of things, just don't matter and honestly...if I really wanted I could just do it myself.
The times where I found myself asking why I am the only one doing such and such.
Well, seriously...it IS my job right now! I may not get paid, or get a raise or get flowers on Professional Administration Day. I may not hear "thank you" after each task. I may not get a physical pat on the back. But this is the role I have longed for. The role I asked for. And so it is with a renewed sense of my role that I change my stubborn attitude and face each task (as mundane and repetitive as it may be) and say "thank you God for the opportunity to have a husband to pick up socks after, a child to race around after, a dog to clean up after, a meal to prepare, a house to tidy".
THANK YOU for the blessings of my life.
THANK YOU for the scars. Though I wouldn't have chosen some (or all) of the scars...they make up parts of who I am today. And without those scars, I wouldn't be the same. I don't know if I would have the same fight within.
I choose to fight for the joys of life. And be thankful of each of God's gracious blessings.
The other part of this weekend is that is was so close to our last visit. Our last visit where Lil' Pretty came in to our lives for a short while. I found myself thinking back to each of those days over our visit and the trip out to pick up Lil' Pretty and coming home knowing we were coming home as 4 instead of the 3 we went out as.
So being back in the same city where our clinic is, was tough for me. Confusing. Sad. And grieving this child I will never know on this earth.
Again, how quickly life changes. In the blink of an eye.
One of the songs sung at Sheila's funeral was "It Is Well With My Soul".
The story behind the man who wrote this song is utterly amazing. Horatio Spafford, I believe.
A story of loss and tragedy...and then to read these words...wow.
"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come. Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed his own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole.
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul
It took everything within me not to break down as I held Evan in my arms with his head resting on my shoulder. To feel the blessing of his little life in my arms, and the sorrow of the pain of loss in my heart...it was a tough moment. And though there are many times where things don't feel well in my soul...I know they are. I know it must be well with my soul, because my loving God loves me that much more than I could ever comprehend. That my sorrows are His sorrows, and my tears are shed along with His.
Life is precious. Cherish each moment. It is so easy to get distracted and caught up with all the silly little things and nit-picky frustrations. But cherish it...because it ends all too soon.
I want to leave a legacy of someone who loved fully. Who cared deeply. Who trusted God even in the most confusing moments of life. Who lived my life well.
I want to be a mother who leaves her child never second-guessing and feeling my love carry on even though I may no longer be present.
I want to be a wife who can see the pride, love and respect on her husbands face. That when I come in to a room I see a light in his eyes and a smile on his face. That I know I have walked this journey with him well. And supported him and have had him know how loved he is.
And I want those around me to know my faith. That yes, I may have reason to some to turn my back on what seems to be a silent God at times...but that they would see that is not the case. That in those seemingly silent times it is then that God gives me the most strength to move forward and continue the walk of faith and trust and relationship with Him. That He never fails. And that my relationship with Him is worth every battle as well. That I am a loved child of God.
And through the ups and downs of this earthly life I will say "It Is Well With My Soul".
Blessings to each and every one of you through the good and dark times of this life.