Writing this post right now is a dangerous thing. In about 30 minutes I am going to be sitting on a stage beside a bunch of other teachers because one of my precious girls is a genius and she is going to be honored tonight and she chose me as her "honor" teacher. I am so blessed and proud and thrilled to have been honored by her in this way-- she is one of those children who earned my respect in class with her insight and dedication and integrity. To be respected in return...well, that is an awe-inspiring thing.
So I can't cry when I write this, but I want to write because I'll be too tired later.
Today is Tuesday. It's not the date of his death, but it's the day. Tuesdays were ugly, ugly for so long. And today was Tuesday all day long and all I could think of was that tomorrow was the 28th.
But this exact day, this Tuesday, one year ago, I was completely out of it right at this moment. I was in hell and I was on drugs and I was in shock. It had been three hours or so since I held him for the first and last time. My husband was doing whatever he could to make things keep going, but neither of us had ever walked that path. Our parents and our friends and my doctor and midwife and the nurses walked us through it all. Oh, and our Beloved Jesus.
But if I think of this date as the day before he died, a Monday, I remember that right about now I was getting my stuff together to go to the hospital. I had spent another hot afternoon lying across the bed with the fan blasting across me, singing to Ben and crying a little because I couldn't wait to hold him. I was so deeply full of peace. I remember that I was irritated with Don because he was taking forever doing something... I can't remember what... and mainly because I was just irritable.
We felt so unprepared.
Sometimes... sometimes I wonder if we knew that it wasn't going to happen. If somewhere deep inside each of us, we knew. We didn't even have the car seat installed yet. Don was going to get my brother to show him how to do it the next afternoon in the parking lot. His room wasn't decorated-- one of my sweet friends on Facebook told me that it didn't matter, that the baby wouldn't care :)-- but his bedclothes were all clean and the bottle stuff was where it was supposed to be in the kitchen. I hadn't yet gotten the breast pumps from some friends of ours and I hadn't interviewed a pediatrician or even given it much thought. I mean, I had a name, a short list, but still.
It was like... I knew.
Of course, I'm also the kind of girl who sort of throws things together after I've been stewing on them for months and it just sort of works out perfectly. I don't know how that works, but it does. It's how I will think and think about a painting or a little picture and then take 30 minutes to execute it and it's almost exactly what I wanted. So the whole "not being prepared" thing might have just been a "Don and Samantha being themselves" thing, too.
But our hearts were 100% ready. Oh man. I never had one doubt, not one. I mean, we had HOPES that we would be good parents, but no doubts that we wanted him or that we were simply called to be his parents. My confidence lay in the fact that I knew that we were going to love him and raise him to be a godly man and that he would be a worshipper and that we would always do our best to make him know that he was deeply, truly loved and admired and... just fantastic.
The 27th of April can be compared to the day before my wedding, or even the morning of the wedding-- thrilling, full of hope and nerves, but so much like standing on the bow of a great ship as it took off for adventure. The adventure of a lifetime. If the 28th of April was the darkest day I have ever known, the 27th was one of the brightest.
So there. I did it.
I have no idea what tomorrow will look like. I don't know what I'll do. What Don and I will do. I have a few plans.
Oh God, this year has been so long, and so incredibly short. It is amazing what a person can walk through. I'm both happy and sad to see tomorrow-- happy because it is a significant date, something I can share with my little boy, even though he's not here to share it with me (is that weird?? I don't know). Sad because it puts me farther away from him-- he will no longer have died just a few months ago... he is outside the parenthesis of one year-- on Thursday, he will have been gone a year and a day, and it begins again... year two without him. Somehow, that seems sadder.
But it's hard to put into words, these feelings. It's like trying to describe color sometimes. How do you describe orange? I mean, it's bright and fiery and sweet and tangy... but that could be yellow, too.
Ah, Lord. We wait for you.