The life that was and the life that almost wasn’t

It takes incredible courage to share your story with others. Especially when that journey is hard. When people might judge you… For a long time, my sister and her husband didn’t tell people about the trouble they were having with their baby. During all the tests and appointments and un-known, no one really knew what was going on. It was difficult for them to even tell members of our family. It was so hard to have hope, or even know what it is we COULD hope for. Eventually though, after the difficult decisions were made, and the path lay before us, it was time to invite others along. The support and fellowship of friends and family (and friends of friends and family) has been priceless. It takes strength to reach out to those around you for help, and I’m so glad that my sister did that when she needed it.

So many people were touched by Michelle and Steve’s journey to bring their son into the world. Although he was with us just a short time, he managed to touch the lives of a huge number of people. He LIVED. I got more than a few messages from people saying that they hugged their kids a little tighter, or called their mom to tell her they loved her. Randy’s life was immediately meaningful not only to us, but to the people we shared him with. That in itself is a blessing.

Little did we know at the time… but another woman was facing a journey of her own. Yesterday, a woman my sister knows had the courage to share HER story. She had discovered she was pregnant and was unsure about keeping the baby. It was un-planned… and for whatever reasons, she was considering abortion. When she learned of the struggle Michelle and Steve were going through, she realized that if they could make it through something like THAT, then why couldn’t she take on the challenge of raising her baby? She was inspired by their strength and love and decided to keep her baby.

My sister texted me this story yesterday, and I know we both sat in our cubicles, miles apart, with tears rolling down our faces. She said, my baby has already saved 1 life! There really are no words to express how this makes me feel. How HUGE this is. I know that the life of my nephew has inspired and encouraged others… but THIS!? I mean…WOW! A tangible person who will be living and breathing who might not have been… God bless the life of that little boy or girl.

I told my sister that that baby isn’t alive today just because of Randy, but also because of HER. Because SHE had the courage to share her story. I am thankful for the power in which God moves, and connects us to each other. I am also thankful that that woman had the courage to share her story with my sister. To show her once again how great of an impact her precious son has made in the world.

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grace

One of the things I have been struggling the most with over the past several months, is my faith. My faith in God has not wavered per se… but I am not going to lie and say that I have not been angry with Him. I wish that this has been an opportunity to grow deeper in my faith, and lean into the comfort of God’s love… but sadly this has not been the case. There is nothing I can do about it, so I have accepted it, and I know that ultimately my relationship with God will be stronger for having been through this. But I’m not there yet. I did make a big step this weekend, by going to church for the first time since we found out we were going to lose Randy.

One thing the pastor touched on during the sermon was Grace. It is like the delightful surprise when you are treated with un-expected kindness. This definitely hit home for me, because one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, is that we are not entitled to Grace. That’s what makes it GRACE. It is un-expected. No one deserves to be blessed with children. If that were the case, then why are so many “deserving” parents still without children? So many people have told my sister, “when you have another baby…” or, “I KNOW you’ll get pregnant again”… etc. It makes me angry, because HOW DO THEY KNOW?!

In a way though, I don’t know if I will feel better or OK about what happened with Randy until they are blessed with another baby. They call them “rainbow babies” for a reason. It is the sign of hope after the storm that has devastated your lives. I cannot wait for the possibility of that hope being fulfilled.

I don’t think that it is a coincidence that some of the most beautiful things in our lives are also the most fleeting. Yesterday I was driving home during one of the Arizona desert’s beautiful sunsets. As the sun sank lower and lower, the colors grew more and more vibrant. I practically held my breath, knowing that such incredible beauty would soon be gone, and I didn’t want to miss a second. And it was just a sunset. There will be another one tomorrow. Probably not as beautiful… but maybe more so. Who knows?

But…If every day ended with such beauty, we would take it for granted after a while. We wouldn’t stop. Breathless. We wouldn’t appreciate the beauty in that experience. We wouldn’t give it a second glance.

It wouldn’t feel like Grace.

Michelle, Steve and Randy

Welcome to the jungle

I didn’t feel like posting at my old blog anymore. Sometimes it is better to close doors and never open them again. So here I am! A new space to write… like a fresh canvas begging for the stroke of a brush. I’ve been trying to come up with a name, or theme for a new blog for a while. I have long been a fan of the idiom: “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” Meaning that you get so caught up in the details, that you fail to see the big picture. I have been guilty of this, like everyone else… so I’m working toward letting go of the little things (the trees!) and embracing my life as a body of work. (the forest!). Duh. Also, I LOVE the forest. I am happiest and most at peace when I’m laying in my hammock watching the wind blow through the trees and listening to the birds, a nearby creek or a thunderstorm in the distance.

It has been a difficult year. I have endured the most pain, grief, sadness and loneliness I’ve ever experienced in my life. I know what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that God doesn’t give you things he doesn’t think you can handle… but I’m still pissed off about it most days. Yes, it could always be worse and I know so many people have been through difficulties that I cannot even fathom, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is the lowest valley I have ever walked through.

There are bad things that happen that make sense. While baffling…I am 100% thankful that my three-year relationship ended so horribly and that I have no lingering feelings or wistfulness of what life would have been like. It was hard, and sad and it still makes me angry that I can’t look back on those three years and be glad they were spent with him, but It wasn’t supposed to work out. It makes sense. I am enjoying this time being single, sleeping diagonally and being in control of the remote.

Then there are bad things that happen that make no sense at all. I can’t even list all of the Whys I have in regards to my little nephew Randy. I know there was a reason he came into our lives. There is a reason he was born and spent three days with us. There is also a reason he wasn’t supposed to survive. However these reasons will probably never be answered in my lifetime here on earth. Not a day has gone by in the past 8 weeks that I have not thought of those days in the hospital. The emotions are as fresh and raw as they were when I was living through it. There are memories that will never ever leave my mind, replaying over and over in my head. Some are good but some are not. I can’t even bring myself to type them. Babies shouldn’t die, end of story.

But some babies do…

I sometimes think that it is just a dream, and we’ll wake up and none of it really happened. But it did happen. And you have to somehow find the strength to get out of bed every day. I don’t know how my sister or her husband are doing it… but they are an incredible inspiration to me. The past year has taught me so much about the things that matter and the things that just don’t.

I’m ready for things to get better.
And I’m ready to do what it takes to make that happen.