It's 1:30am and I can't sleep.
My son's bed is empty and it's all I can think about tonight. I'm tired-- could easily crawl into bed beside my husband and be asleep in seconds, but my mind just wants to think.
I didn't cry about Ben one time today and I hope that's alright. It felt at times that I was sort of waving thoughts of him away like you swipe at a mosquito-- you know you won't totally get rid of it, but you can delay the bite for a few minutes. It'll show up again and again, near your ear or your wrist or suddenly sucking at your ankle. Thoughts of Ben are always so close. I know it's alright that I didn't cry-- the ache didn't disappear-- and that I surely will tomorrow, but it's the realization of a "new normal" that everyone who goes through disaster seems to talk about.
Everything seems different to me. My house looks different. Maybe because I've hardly left it in these weeks of recuperation. My bedroom looks different. Everything has shifted. The light is funny. But it seems that the baby's room is the one thing that hasn't changed and I don't understand exactly why. I have this memory of sitting in his room a few weeks ago, sorting onesies and toys in preparation for his arrival. Mom and I were oooh-ing and aaaahh-ing over each little outfit and gadget, my feet propped up and swollen, and I remember looking around thinking, Wow. There's going to be a baby in here. This is so weird. So cool, but so weird. Maybe Ben's room doesn't look different to me because it was already weird before. The fact of his coming, the idea of his little person in our home, had been changing me for about 9 months... the fact of his departure was just one more facet in the overall change. I'm different. I'm different from who I was 9 months ago and I'm different than I was three weeks ago today. All because of him. He hasn't changed-- he's as much a mystery to me today as he was before he was born. My memories of him outside my body are almost as shrouded as the images we saw in ultrasound. He was real both places and I touched him-- this is something I keep having to remind myself. I'm different from having grown him and birthed him and buried him.
But oh, to have heard his voice.
That's the thing about it being the middle of the night. I should be holding him. Feeding him. Listening to him breathe or cry or coo. Singing to him or laughing at him. I should be griping over dirty diapers and sleep loss. Instead, I'm trying to adjust to a world that he was never in but was supposed to be in. A world that we made room for him to live in. Have I mentioned how empty my arms feel?
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
I know the One I believe in. I know that He is going to make all of this okay somehow, but tonight my heart is broken and I fall at His feet, depending upon the promise that He is near to me now. Nearer than I have ever known. He knows about Ben's room-- He knows about the little clothes that my son will never wear, and the lotions and shampoos that will never touch his strawberry blonde hair. He knows about the blankets that were made just for him and the books that were waiting for his tiny hands to hold. He knows why He chose to knit him together in my womb, only to whisk him away before I could look into his eyes or make him know my kiss.
But I know that he knew my voice. And we shared blood. And he went everywhere with me his entire life. Everywhere.
So there I've done it-- I've cried for him tonight, and written clumsily for him. Now I will go sleep beside his father and pray that he only has good dreams tonight.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18