It has been eight years missing my son born still and all too quiet on his due date.
Almost fourteen years have proved that I would not have been a perfect mother to him, but really are there any?
I love my Joshua fiercely though.
Grieving him I lost my way, but maybe knowing that he is living beyond what we can see is what has also guarded my way, kept my faith.
The other day in the pool office, a clerk asked my son if he liked the Halloween decorations hanging from their ceiling. I had seen his eyes fall as he glimpsed phantoms draped with deathly faces. He shook his head, and turned away. I spoke the words he couldn’t,
“I’m sorry, but none of us like them.”
Maybe death can’t be a funny joke when you have lived it the night before Halloween. I don’t like to rehearse horror, but how many times have I replayed that night in my mind? I had to – those were the few moments I had with his little body swaddled in my arms. They were not just bleak, they were also beautiful.
I have seen the darkness and it can never be a game to me, but I tread on its edges in my own way, playing with anger, coveting a life I have not lived, forgetting blessings and beauty, stepping into self-deception.
But I have heard that where my treasure is, there also is my heart. So when my little one is living only in glory, when he is living beyond the worries, fear, achievements, striving, darkness and fun of this world, then how can I not also? When my son is grown strong and entered eternity, how can I not as well? I live with feet in two worlds.
For awhile I thought I could write my way to healing. Thought I could find a path that would throw out answers and tie everything up neatly with a bow.
That’s not a real thing.
I have no message, no answers. Just a God who came down and walked these hard steps, and lay dead and cold just like my son. Just a Jesus who lived the most surprising story and shocked his friends by meeting them in the garden, walking and eating breakfast around a campfire – alive when he shouldn’t have been. Just like my son is now.
So here I peck out my “not answers,” here I record a bit of the beauty that points to something more. Here I kneel in the garden and grill fish for breakfast, here I walk for hours and my eyes are opened. Here I wait and try to be a mother worthy of the two sons and a daughter I could not keep, and the four children I hold near.
I try to make these days mean something for my Joshua, because I’m not sure why I am living them and not he. Because I am grateful for what is and what will be.