Four Months. Seventeen and a half weeks. One hundred twenty three days.

Milestones are hard. So. Freaking. Hard.

The 5th of the month, as I relive the moments of finding out our baby boy no longer had a heartbeat.

The 9th of the month, as I try so hard to remember each and every precious moment we spent with our sweet Alexander on the day he was born into Jesus’ arms.

Holidays that should have been spent with Alexander.

Today, it has been exactly four months since the last time I held my only son in my arms. Since I whispered to him over and over and over again: I love you. I love you. I love you. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Exactly four months since we saw Alexander’s perfect face and hands and feet. Four months since that July day that time stood still and we had to say “hello” and “goodbye” to our only son, our sweet boy Alexander.

We have been asked a lot lately how we are doing. Sometimes it seems like people are hoping that by now we are better. That we have somehow moved on or been fixed or become happy again or have healed from the loss of our son.

Here’s the long and the short of it: It’s been four months. To people whose lives are mostly back to normal, it seems like a long time–maybe even an adequate amount of time to be “getting better.” Four months is not a long time, though. As we learned last week, this grief is still very very fresh some days. Sure, we have good days. There are days when I don’t cry and where I’m not totally consumed by grief. There are days when I laugh and make jokes and cause shenanigans like I always have. And, yet, there are still days where I do cry. A lot. There are still days where this grief feels so heavy and it just takes every ounce of my energy just to get out of bed and to go to work and to do the next right thing. There are days where all I want to do is sit at home on my couch, snuggled up with Scott and with our Alexander bear. There are days that are still very very hard.

It seems impossible to me as I look ahead and look backward that another month has passed. Or that another month will pass. And that the next month and the month after that have the potential to bring some of the most difficult days we have seen, as we enter into the holiday season.

Yesterday, as I was heading home from work and listening to K-Love on the radio, these words came across the speakers and stopped me in my tracks:

“Here’s the truth. It hurts to hope. It takes courage to want something better than you have right now. Hope always comes with the risk of disappointment. And the bigger the hope the bigger that risk. So you can be tempted to downgrade your expectations or to settle for a life that is smaller than God wants. You can even grow bitter and disillusioned, but humans were made to run on hope. So when hope runs out, joy runs dry. But here’s the great news about our God. Our ultimate hopes are always safe with him. Romans 5 declares ‘And this hope will not lead to disappointment, for we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.’ Whatever hurts the most in your life is where you need hope the most, and that is where Jesus wants to meet you. And while he may not give you everything you desire, he will always give you everything you need. His hope will not disappoint.”

Even in the midst of this heavy grief. Even in the midst of the hardest thing we have ever faced and the heaviest thing we have ever carried. Even in the midst of missing our Alexander with every moment of every day, there are things for which I am thankful and for which I am hopeful. I’m trying so hard to cling to the good things in the midst of the hardest days, and I am incredibly thankful for those who are walking so closely with us through these days, weeks, and months and who remind us daily and sometimes even hourly that there is hope. And that even when that hope hurts and takes courage and energy and risk, it is worth it.

So, on this milestone day, I hope you will join me in remembering Alexander with hope and with love and with light. Join me today in taking some time to think about Alexander. We will certainly be thinking about him. Say his name. Light a candle or watch the sunset. Do something kind for a friend. Or a stranger. Enjoy the precious moments you have with your heart beating and your lungs filling with air.

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