I have been anticipating Sawyer's birthday for a few weeks. I knew it was drawing near when the expiration date on my piña colada yogurt boldly announced 5/10/10 in black type. As I stood in the Super 1 Foods dairy isle staring at my son's birthday, I tried to figure out how the yogurt company could be permitted to use Sawyer's birthday in such a flippant way. Approaching this date on the calender fills me with a mix of sadness and dread. I wonder who will remember and who will forget and try to keep my expectations low. When asked how I am feeling, I find myself fumbling to express the complicated details of my emotions. I live most days treading lightly on the surface of our loss. I don't often dig my heals in deep and stir up the dust. It seems easier, neater and logical to keep my focus directed toward the things in my life that benefit from my attention. I have coined Quinten my "glorious distraction." I could easily dedicate an entire post (or book) to the way that he has been a soothing balm over our pain. There is something extra special about our "rainbow baby" that helps to usher the sunshine back into the darkened parts of our hearts. However, despite the distractions and light treading there can only be a certain amount of "delaying the inevitable" this time of year. At times I feel as though I am being suffocated by the void.
Two years ago when I sat down at my computer and shared that our son had died, a mom named Nichole Hayden read my words and rubbed her swollen belly. Through her tears, she found herself thankful for the child kicking within her womb. 11 days later she discovered that her son, Arthur James would be born into heaven. She wrote me in her pain and we began to email back and forth sharing the journey of grief.
Sixteen weeks ago Nichole gave birth to her rainbow baby, Wyatt Lee. Just as Quinten has for us, Wyatt was able to touch a place within her that nothing else could and bring a unique healing to her heart. However, last Tuesday Nichole laid Wyatt down for a rest and when she checked on him 30 minutes later she discovered to her horror that he was not breathing. The scene that ensued was nothing short of a nightmare as a rescue team tried in vain to revive him. The autopsy report has given no concrete answers to quiet the nagging questions of why he died. Her pain is quite honestly, unimaginable. I was re-reading some of our emails from the last two years and came across this one that she wrote on 5/12/09 as we discussed what it was like one year after our loss:
Yesterday, as I was catching up on house stuff and thinking of you- and me, and our sons- I was thinking how grateful I am that I will never have to relive those first few hours and days again. I was thinking about how my body felt after the surgery, and how confused I was. I was thinking about all that milk that came to feed and there was no one there to suckle. I'm grateful that when I am in pain for my son, that I don't have to have all that other stuff going on too. Sure if I loose another child- I will be reliving it all- but not for James. I am thankful that my mind only lets me deal and remember chunks, and that even though it's hard- really really hard-in that moment- it's nothing compared to what the end of last May and June brought on to me.
To begin the journey of loss all over again, and so soon, well I simply
can't fathom it. I am reminded of Solomon's wise words:
People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net
or birds in a snare, people are often caught by sudden tragedy.
I am also reminded how deeply I hate Satan who seeks to "steal, kill and destroy!" (John 10:10)
On this day that we celebrate mothers I want to ask you to remember sweet Arthur James and Wyatt Lee and their grieving mother Nichole. I want to ask that you lift her family up in prayer. Her two daughters (ages 6 and 4) are confused and hurting and Nichole longs to have the wisdom on how to lead them through this dark valley.
Nichole specifically told me that she would really love to talk with someone who lost a sibling as a child. She would be grateful for any insight how how she can best help her girls deal with this new loss and feels that talking with someone who has gone through it might help equip her. If any of you would be able to reach out to her to help in this area, please email her directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you feel so led, I would also welcome you to bless her family by donating toward their meal fund (by clicking on the link here or in the upper left hand corner of the blog). I have found a meal preparation place called Dinner by Design which is local to Nichole and spoken with one of Nichole's friends who is willing to help organize the meals and delivery. When we lost Sawyer we were overwhelmed by the way that people came along side to support us. I want to pass on that blessing. All donations will go directly to the family for meals. You can donate any amount starting at just $2.00. Thank you in advance for being the hands and feet of God as you reach
out to the Hayden family!
And speaking of passing on blessings, in remembrance of Sawyer, I would like to ask you to consider finding an act of kindness to do in his memory this week.
Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. Ecclesiastes 7:3
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15
In loving memory of Wyatt Lee Hayden and his hurting mommy on this Mother's Day.