Yesterday morning one of my friends asked me if I’d read Ann Voskamp’s blog that day. I hadn’t yet, and she told me about it and suggested I read it. Angie Smith was guest posting, and I love Angie Smith. I had actually never heard of her before this year. But a couple of weeks after we found out about Gabriel’s diagnosis, a sweet family from our church in Maryland sent us her book. I read it in a couple of days. She’s a beautiful writer, her blog is great, so are her books, and what really draws me to her is that she, too, has lost a baby. Her story is different yet very similar to mine. Our babies had different diagnoses, she has girls, I have boys, we live in different cities, she’s very well-known, I am so not, but the biggest commonality we have is that we’ve both experienced what it’s like to carry a child you know you will never get to raise here.
She lost her baby several years ago, and one of the things I love about her writing is that her baby is always in her life. Yesterday she wrote a beautiful post about a very scary situation she had with her oldest daughter. In that she mentioned that it brought back memories she tries to run from every day. I knew exactly what she meant. I live this constant balance between embracing our story, embracing what’s happened in our lives – in Gabriel’s life – and trying to run from it. Every day I run from the memories of burying my child. I run from the memories of walking into the funeral home to see my baby’s body. I run from the memories of handing our baby over to a nurse, knowing I’d never kiss him or hold him again. I will always remember these things and so many others. Always. And I think I will also always run from them. But the thing about running from memories is that you can never outrun them. And maybe that’s ok, because those are things that I always want to remember, even when I don’t feel like I want to.
Another thing Angie said in her post was: “I want to love having her more than I fear losing her.” And this hit me so very deeply. You see, I find myself living in fear a lot. I’ve always struggled with fear; it’s not a new thing to me. But it is intensified now, especially when it comes to my husband and my oldest son. But I want to love having them more than I fear losing them. It couldn’t be said in any better way. There are so many moments, so many days, where all of us get caught up in the fear around us. I could operate in that mode, trying to protect them and keep them mine forever, but that’s a terrible way to live. I want to be able to reflect on our days together and be able to think about how much I loved them, not how much I was afraid of what might happen to them. It’s a concept that is very freeing and encouraging, but one that is also so challenging to surrender to every day.