Questions

“How is your baby?” they ask; caring people who once saw me with you, and now see me without you, drawing the logical conclusion that you are bundled at home, cooing and napping and growing in love.  Sweet Flicker, I desire so deeply to be able to answer them (without having to share your absence, of course, which upon revealing ignites a wave of so sorries and are you okays and if you need anything let me knows).  I would give almost anything to know how you are doing in your life eternal.  Actually, let me revise that last statement. I know that you are experiencing a happiness and peace beyond anything I can comprehend. Thanks be to God for that faith-filled comfort.  But what are you doing?  How do you spend your days?  Who is rocking you to sleep? Is anyone singing to you? Oh sweet Flicker, while I know at a high level that you are so loved in Heaven, I crave these details more deeply than I have craved anything before.  Probably more deeply than I will crave anything again.

The certainty with which I know you are living in a beautiful eternity is matched with an equal and opposite force of anxiety over what the future looks like for your dad and me in this world.  Will I become pregnant again? When? With what intervention? Will limb body wall complex happen again?  Lightning cannot strike twice, right?  But will something else go wrong? Will we have a biological family? Should we pursue adoption? What does that look like?  What impact has your loss had on my level of fear? Will I continue to have nightmares two/three/four months/years/decades from now? Am I even mentally ready to ponder all of these questions?

No.

I should not be pondering all of these questions.  But this untethered mind of mine wanders far and wide, searching in vein for answers that no one by my Maker knows. It is exhausting, at times enveloping all thought and eclipsing all creativity; evidenced by the blank pages appearing in this journal of late. Sweet Flicker, thank God I do not have to question you.  Your life here remains only in my past, and your future There is fully known.  Painful. Beautiful. All at once.

I recently entered a new year in my life, a birthday spent managing the gap between my expectation (just a few weeks until you are here!) and my reality (just a few weeks after you have come and gone).  As with countless other times in this journey with you, I experienced this general melancholy alongside a tinge of hope. A hope that this new year of my life may bring with it great things.  Of course there is the other scenario of more darkness, but I cannot go to that place.  I am grateful to be blessed with an optimists’ disposition.  My dear friend, your dear friend, shared a wish that this be my year of the phoenix – new life and utter beauty rising from the ashes.  All to be revealed in due time, sweet Flicker, but for now I challenge myself not to question. Trust. Live. Welcome the new with hands wide open, one moment at a time.

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Moving Forward

More than a month with your absence has come and gone, and I am still standing.  Human resilience is an amazing thing, sweet Flicker.  Though I am standing, I will admit that my stance is not always perfectly upright.  At times I find myself leaning backwards, reflecting on past moments that I so deeply wish I could change. Other times I lean forward, brooding with anxiety about a future that I in no way control.  It is difficult to stand upright – to live in the present – when I spend so much time woeful about the past and worry-filled about the future.  This back and forth can be paralyzing.

I returned back to work this past week; a big leap of faith in re-integrating into a part of my life that never stopped moving forward.  The last time I parked in this garage and walked up this hill you were with me.  I paced this beige-toned hallway as I listened to the nurse congratulate me as she read back the results of our positive blood pregnancy test.  During my last conference call I was able to rest my arm on my belly, connecting to your world.  Then all at once quarter end and deadlines and strategic roadmap and [insert corporate buzzword here] flooded a brain that is clearly still filled to the brim with your life, sweet Flicker.  Under the fluorescent lighting of my workspace I found living in the present nearly impossible; straining to assign meaning to concepts that I so quickly filed away when you entered and exited this world.  No vacancy.  This brain is full with things that are real, thankyouverymuch.

At the same time there is a new pressure (self-imposed, of course) to live in the present while honoring your past.  I had the pleasure of spending an evening after work this week with dear girl friends who mourn your loss alongside me.  As I left their company feeling grateful for continued goodness in my life, I came to the unfortunate realization that car had been towed, the result of mis-reading a cryptic sign in an unfamiliar neighborhood.  I was frustrated and angry and could not believe that the sign was so unclear.  Almost immediately I was even more frustrated and angry that I had frustration and anger over something that ultimately does not matter.  I, of all people, should have some perspective.  I have real things to be angry about, thankyouverymuch.

But you know what, sweet Flicker?  Being towed stinks. Workday tasks are important.  I need to give myself the grace to take things at face value.  You are forever part of my past, present and future.  But I cannot live all three at once – to be present while honoring past and dictating future.  Rather, I need to focus on putting one step in front of the other and feel what I am going to feel.  That is what moving forward looks like as I navigate this new life without you physically here, but always present.

What I have come to realize, sweet Flicker, is that moving forward is entirely different from moving on.  I can move on from a bad presentation, a negative exchange, a hefty towing fine.  These things are simply archived from working memory – forgotten – so as to not be forever jaded.  But I will never be able to file away your life and loss.  I will never be able to forgive limb body wall complex for stealing our future together.  I will never be fully at peace without you here with me.  But that does not mean that I cannot move forward by continuing to step – step – step – with grace and submission and trust.

Forward motion inspires a hope in me that the future will be brighter, sweet Flicker.  I do not know what that brightness will look like, but alongside the sadness I can promise that your life will be part of it.