awful day. so much so that it's taking me over a month to process and feel okay about sharing it publicly. it's hard to embrace a day to honor mothers when i feel like half my flock is missing. (lie: my two babies in heaven are far more cared for and loved on than the two living under our roof)
i woke up and all i wanted to do was hold malachi in my arms, not just hold on to the memory of his last earthly breath taken while he was still, so coldly still cradled in my arms. Quick sidenote: malachi's death so often brings me to remembrance of the daughter who "died in mommy's belly" as Emma likes to tell people. I am thankful for that. In an odd way, Malachi's death seemingly gives more worth to Jordan's existence as my child. I am thankful that Emma refers to both our house family (those living under one roof) and our whole family, extended to include Malachi and Jordan.
we arrived at church. at this point, i was still at least outwardly mostly holding it together. mostly. After Sunday School, we grabbed Jackson out of the nursery as we were going to be a part of the Parent Dedication during the service. This part of the service is a way for John and I to publicly come before the church before God and our church family to admit we need help in this crazy world of parenting and that we ask for accountability to bring our children up in a God-honoring way. This does not resemble infant baptism in any way--which is what I was familiar with growing up. According to the Bible, salvation always precedes baptism, baptism does not save a person or "regenerate them from their sin" as taught in Luther's catechism.
Anyway... They played a video set to music of a montage type thing showing babies from fertilization to early childhood. The song playing was all about "holding" our babies. Awesome. It felt like a perfect reminder of exactly what I am not currently able to do with TWO of my babies. My inward self was crumbling, but I knew we would be standing in front of everyone soon, so I prayed for strength or something to not be an embarrassing mess.
After the video, our pastor got up and from what he told John, he realized that it may have been better for our situation had they done the video AFTER the dedication. He did a quick overview of the congregation, spotted me, and saw that all was seemingly well, so no last minute changes to the order of events would need to be made. He had us come forward.
So we're up there with another family and Jackson would not for the life of me be quiet or still. Looking back, I can see this was a blessing. As annoyed as I was at the time, it most definitely took my focus off of self and allowed me to make it through. I noticed as I was holding Jackson close that he felt slightly warm. Warm enough to keep him out of the nursery during the service. I decided to just sit with him in the unused portion of the nursery and listen to the sermon through the speaker system. It was really only a matter of minutes before I began sobbing. Complete body shaking sobs. A good friend of mine was working in the nursery that morning, so she had sympathy on me and knew right away that I needed my husband.
John gently led me and Jackson to the car, headed back to get Emma from her class, and drove us to the cemetery. When we got there. I just sat. Internally, I praised God for healing my son, but I was also brutally honest with how hard it is to not have him here. I don't recall being mad or bitter, just hurting. An ache that burrows in so deeply, that it's truly a miracle when the pain subsides.
By the time we got home, I was so exhausted--physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I was spent. John put Jackson and I both down for a nap, and we slept for almost three hours. I was a weepy, emotional wreck the rest of the day. I felt heart-broken and was so focused on what I've "lost" (temporarily), that I was unable to see the blessings that I have been so abundantly given. I lost a day with my daughter, but God once again showed me that He is big enough to renew my hope, restore my soul, and keep my heart alive. He's just that good. He's just that faithful. He's just that true.