What I Know Today

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Message To Heaven

This past Sunday the family took a drive through the cemetery to visit our little man. Last year the snow in the cemetery was such that if you were creative, you could walk between the drifts and pretty much get from the road to the grave site on grass. This year we weren't quite so lucky. A nice, thick, evenly distributed, blanket of snow is covering the grounds and we weren't dressed for trudging through it. As we rounded the bend before coming up to his area, I noticed something in the snow. About ten feet long, there was a message written from someone to "Bruce", saying several sweet things including, "Thank you for loving me." Once we got to our area, I took my lead from that writer and left a message myself, on behalf of all who were in the van (Jack, Papa, Grandma, Great-Grandma): "We {heart} you, Bug".

I've often thought about you, my blog readers, and thought of things I can post here. Unfortunately my follow through hasn't been so great. We are now 15 months past Henry's death and it still seems like it was yesterday at times. I'm not sure that feeling will ever go away. The pain is still very fresh and very real and very constant. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel something - pain, remorse, guilt. I can't pinpoint any one thing that gets to me more than anything else, it just happens at random. I've been struggling with bitterness, and a general lack of empathy. These are both characteristics that are new to me and so different from the person I was before November 2, 2009. I'm not sure what to do with those feelings, so I pray about them. I pray that simple prayer that I have prayed nearly every day for 15 months - first about the saddness and desperation I was feeling. Then about the guilt. Now about the bitterness: Lord, please lift these feelings from my heart and help me find peace. Such a short little prayer, but a powerful one, and thankfully one that is responded to quickly. Those feelings are frequent but brief and I am grateful for that brevity.

I wonder about heaven a lot. What it is like, who we'll see there. I find myself seeking out literature about it - scriptures, stories, "eye-witness" accounts from folks who claim to have been there and returned to earth. All of it fascinates me. I'm a bit of a skeptic with the folks who say they've been there and back, but I don't discount their stories... I just don't pin my dreams on them, if that makes sense. Awhile back I was looking for some words of wisdom to share with a girlfriend who is also going through a grief process of her own after the sudden unexpected death of her mother, and I found this quote by Dwight L. Moody:

"Very often people come to me and say: "Mr. Moody, do you think we shall know each other in Heaven?" There is a verse in Scripture in answer to this, and that is: "We shall be satisfied." (Psalm 17:15). It is all I wanted to know. My brother who went up there the other day I shall see, because I shall be satisfied. We will see all those we loved on Earth up there, and if we loved them here, we will love them ten thousand times more when we meet them there."

I found comfort in this, and have carried it with me ever since that day. As I get older, and continue to grow in my faith (because let's face it, faith, like love, is a verb - an action word - continuously moving and growing, enveloping and developing), I realize more and more that this earth is not the end of my journey just as it was not the end of his. He is in heaven, and he is waiting for all of us who love him, and one day we will all be satisfied just as he is today. He doesn't know the pain of missing his mama, papa, "bee", and grandmas, just the anticipation and excitement as he awaits our arrival. What will be decades of life for us on earth will be only seconds to him in heaven before we are reunited again.

Until that day, I am here, and I am waking up every morning, and living the life God intended for me to live. I am taking care of my family and watching my baby boy (who is much more boy than baby these days) grow at an unprecedented rate of speed. We are nearing the end of our therapy with the wonderful "Birth to 3" therapists who have helped us over the last 16 months, and we couldn't be happier with the progress Jack has made. His vocabulary has exploded, and he is picking up new words and activities every single day. He knows his alphabet forward, backward, and sideways (which makes Aunt Julie the kindergarten teacher very proud because she will tell you that just because you can sing the song doesn't mean you know your alphabet.). He can identify the letters in any order right side up or upside down (which surprised us all!). He is counting from 1 - 13 unassisted, 13-29 with a little help. He loves to sing(!) and his favorite songs are the alphabet song, Old MacDonald, and Jingle Bells.

That last one makes my heart smile, because Jingle Bells was the only song Henry ever attempted (despite Old MacDonald being his all time favorite for me to sing while he chimed in with the animal noises). Henry would run up to a cat toy we have hanging on the door and shake it (there are bells on it) and sing, "Jingle bells, jingle bells, oh we have funnnnnn!!!!!!"


Jack is obsessed with dinosaurs and can identify about 50 different types of dinosaur by name (and alternate name where applicable, as is the case with the Gravitholus who is also called Prenocephale, and Stenonychosaurus who is also known as Troodon... things I never thought I'd learn, much less teach my two year old). He loves puzzles and play time, and, and, and..... I could go on forever. He's quite the character, and we love him more than he'll probably ever know. We are so blessed to have him in our lives, and so grateful that in losing Henry we were able to save Jack. It is the bright and shiny silver lining to that very dark cloud.

Looking forward, I have purchased paint for Henry's bedroom to bring it from it's current bright yellow little boy nursery to a much more muted beige guest room. It is the bigger of our two bedrooms for the boys, but I'm not ready to move Jack into it yet. Not ready to open that door every morning expecting a face that is no longer looking back at me to be on the other side. Maybe some day, but not today. I will post pictures once that project is complete. Although I am sad to paint the room and convert it back, I know that keeping it untouched does not bring my boy back. And, truthfully, I regretted that bright yellow color choice from day one, so in that respect the change will be welcomed.

We also have a birthday party to plan in the not-too-distant future as Jack will turn three at the end of March. It looks like a dino party is in order, and we are already scheming to switch out his Raggedy Ann & Andy decor for some dinorific decorations as our gift to him.

I am also very proud of my husband who has been working diligently for months now on getting Henry's bedtime stories illustrated and published. The first book will be available soon in hardcover, and we are so excited about it - there aren't even words to express what this means to us, and especially to Papa whom Henry shared those stories with every night. Not only are we getting the stories out, but we are doing so in a way that will benefit other children with rare diseases. Click over to the Adventures of Henry website if you'd like to learn more or help great causes by ordering a copy or three. *wink*

Thank you, as always, for your continued thoughts and prayers. We are so grateful for the strong network of family and friends (both in person and online) that God has blessed us with.

God bless,



Liz said...

Sarah, I continue to be impressed with your faith & love for your family. Your ability to see the good in life despite the horror you have been through is inspiration to us all. I know you are still in pain, yet you refuse to let that pain take over your life. I was just telling a friend about you this afternoon, saying how I wish we could all be like you!

Kirstin said...

A leader in our church said, speaking about heaven, "The thing we will know as we go through the veil is how much the same it is, not how different it is." Family is what it's all about, both here and in heaven. I love it!

Diana Gibbs said...

Hi Sarah,

You don't know me, but I just wanted to send you a great big hug, you are an amazing woman.

God Bless You,
Diana Gibbs

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