Accepting the gift

I keep reminding myself of a sacred moment that happened right before doctors confirmed Brody was dead.

Someone was hugging me – someone who worked at the hospital. We were on the other side of the door to the room where doctors and nurses were working to resuscitate my son. Jensen was parking the car. He didn’t know how bad it was yet.

In that moment, God filled me with this consuming love; it was like being engulfed in beautiful light. And in my heart I heard Her tell me: Brody is going to die, and it’s going to be okay.

I wanted to hold on to that love forever. I still wonder now how I ever could have doubted that gift. But I did not want to accept that message. Everything inside of my forced out that light and rebuked it. Get away from me! Brody will not die!

But he did, and as I walk out that reality, I often wish God would give me another chance at that experience. I will say yes this time, I tell Her. Please, make that happen again. This time, I won’t let go.

I think the ball is in my court though. I think God is waiting for me. But I am still angry, just like I was in that moment. I am still rebuking God for what happened. I do not want to let Her back in. I still just want a different gift.

God, why would you come to me when you should have been there for Brody? How dare you tell me that it’s going to be okay? Why did you not just make it okay? What more did you need?

I don’t know. I have to accept that. I just don’t know.

And so often I get very stuck at that place. I know God offers us peace that passes understanding, but I desperately want to understand first.

I trusted and relied on God for a healthy son, for a good gift; I was convinced that was God’s will and God would make that happen for our family. All the other gifts that God is still offering me seem counterfeit now, or at least inadequate compared to what I lost.

That’s a lie though.

I have everything I need to get through this – not in myself, but in God and in the community God gave me. I have everything I need to get through.

So, I go back to that moment, and I work at making peace with what God said. I’m not there yet. I still rebuke it, again and again. But slowly, I explore it and confront it and let it do its work in my heart.

Brody is going to die, God tells me, and I will still love you.

Brody’s going to die, and I will still be a good God.

Brody’s going to die, and you will still have purpose, Myrrhanda.

Brody’s going to die, and you will still know joy.

Brody’s going to die, and you will not forget him.

Brody’s going to die, and I will still be here to give you peace.

Brody’s going to die, and he will go to a beautiful place.

Brody’s going to die, and you will see him again.

As I acknowledge the truth of each of these statements, I get closer to believing that it’s going to be okay. I have to trust that God’s gifts are still worth accepting. And as I choose to do that, the love and light can come back in.

Climbing in the dark

One of the many principles I learned from years of church attendance is the idea of being a climber and not a camper. I remember hearing our pastor preach a message on moving forward in life and taking on new challenges many years ago. I reflect back on it often, especially when the road ahead looks uphill.

When Jensen and I found out we were both carriers of the same rare genetic disease, the thought of having more children – well, it almost felt reckless. After Brody died, we knew we could not risk going through that again; we could not raise another child with that disease. Camping at one kid was looking like it might be the responsible choice.

But, for us, not trying again felt like its own kind of death. If we tried, at least there was a 75 per cent chance of adding a new member to our family. Yes, there was a 25 per cent chance the baby might be affected, and for us, that meant losing another child. But if we didn’t try at all, then the chance of another baby was zero per cent.

And this is not to say that there is something wrong with having one child, because there certainly is not. We just had to confront the truth that it wasn’t what we wanted, even if it was a perfectly reasonable option.

So, we tried. Well, we decided we would try and then we found out we were already pregnant.

I have moments when I don’t know if we made the right decision. Not because we don’t both enthusiastically want another child, but because we risked so much. And even now that testing has confirmed the baby is normal, it still feels like we are risking a lot.

I am 15 weeks today. I have a long way to go before my June 25th due date, and there is no guarantee that things will go well. I don’t know what I am moving towards. Will we get to enjoy new life or have to endure another loss? Maybe I have taken the climbing versus camping metaphor too far and I am just running up the rocks in the dark.

Pregnancy always comes with immense vulnerability, but for moms who have lived nightmares and faced life’s worst surprises, the fear becomes something much more than false evidence appearing real. Still, I’m glad we were brave and I know we will never regret that.

This New Year’s Day, I look behind me and I look ahead, and I wouldn’t change a single decision. I certainly wish I could change a number of things outside of my control, but I still can’t. I never imagined the road would get this grey or this rocky, but we got here by choosing hope and walking in love. And I have to believe that eventually – hopefully soon – love will lead us where we want to go, even if we’re climbing in the dark.