Sometimes I hold her hand a bit tighter, because I can’t hold his. When she lays her head on my shoulder, I kiss the top of it and I inhale her sweet fragrance because I can no longer smell him. I know it sounds weird when I put it into words, but admit you love the smell of your child (most of the time).
I go out of my way to give her a happy birthday, because he can’t celebrate it with her. Her bubbly giggles mean so much, knowing we can no longer hear his. On Mother’s Day, the hole in my heart feels like there is a massive boulder in it, weighing me down. Oh and this time of year, I busy myself as much as possible, especially as we near Thanksgiving, December 1st, December 17th, December 21st, and Christmas. If I’m busy, my heart doesn’t have time to feel the pain and I’m at less risk of having an emotional break down- especially in front of someone!
He wasn’t himself that last Thanksgiving. December 1st, he was admitted to the hospital with a collapsed lung, December 17th he went home to Jesus. December 21st we celebrated his life, and Christmas 2011 hurt...but it also hurt a little less because HE no longer hurt.
Every year, I write a bit of something to channel the grief and perhaps as a tribute to our little guy. This year, I didn’t think I was going to do so, because I haven’t slowed down long enough for thoughts to flow. The positive side to that is it means I’ve paid less attention to that sense of loss. It never really goes away, though does it?
The evening Chance’s precious soul left his body for the arms of Jesus, his nurse brought us this soft, fuzzy teddy bear. The back of the bear has a Velcro opening. She ink-printed each of his sweet hands onto two pieces of paper and stuffed one into each side of that Velcro opening. She handed me the bear and said, “This is so that his twin sister can still hug him anytime she wants.”
If you visit our home, you’ll find Chance’s bear in a chair or on the mantle and he’s included in our family photos. This is our way of keeping him with us.
1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Chance is our gift and we use him and his story to serve others, for the glory of God and His love for us. The beauty in this is not only the joy that others receive, but in witnessing the goodness in humanity as others pull together to join our mission.
On Tuesday, 12/17, Tay gets to miss school. Ty, Sean, and I get to miss work. Several friends are going to show up to help us load the box truck generously driven by Rusty with Louisville Mechanical. Then we get to hand over all of these toys and gifts to our friends in the Child Life Department of Norton Children’s Hospital, where Chance spent a large portion of his life. We will have a couple of smaller deliveries in the days that follow.
We praise the Lord for all of you who help this come together each year. Thank you for loving Chance, for loving us, for loving one another.