Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sending Birthday Wishes to Heaven

I believe in the power of words.

Words put to “paper,” that once read can so deeply touch you that you look at things differently. You are altered. Changed. Changed in that moment. Changed… perhaps forever.

I have read something that undeniably gripping, and I am now compelled to share it with you.

May I introduce you to my beautiful friend Cindi, her equally beautiful words and her heartrending yet uplifting story.   

"My first born briefly graced this world 22 years ago... TODAY. 

My beautiful Nathan Lawrence. 

All 8 lbs 9 oz of him. 

With a head full of golden hair and such soft kissable cheeks. I remember the moment he was placed in my arms... my world stood still, and I was in total awe of him. 

I fell hard, so hopelessly in love. 

The love was greater than the pain of facing this unfathomable loss. 

I studied his face and breathed him in. I remember every little unique feature. It is burned into my vision and imprinted on my heart for the rest of my days. 

It was my dream come true and my worst nightmare running parallel in the same moment. 

Hello and goodbye became one in the same on March 4, 1994. 

What was supposed to be the most magical and amazing moment of a young mother's life, took a shocking turn and somehow morphed itself into planning a funeral. 

Such a tiny white casket, cradling the most precious person in my world. 

My head is still reeling in it all. Life, as I knew it, would never be the same. 

The only thing he changed was EVERYthing. 

Each one of the past 8,035 days... I have loved him, imagined him here, gazed upon the empty spot at the kitchen table with an unspoken ache in my heart. 

But, out of sight is never out of mind to me. 

It's just not easy to have all this love for my child, and no place to 'put it'. And nothing to 'talk about' regarding the events of his life. 

So on his birthday I have a burning desire to speak his name to the world. Well, at least to my friends... 

(So thank you for listening, it is important to me) 

This year he would (probably) be a senior in college, and stepping out into the world as the unique individual he was called to be. Perhaps a businessman, teacher, artist, musician, health care professional, NBA star :) 

I know he would have had a lot to contribute to this world.... 

Yet, for reasons unknown, he wasn't destined for it. 

22 years later, all the questions still linger so heavily in the air. 

Like, why was he created so perfectly, so beautifully... and placed in my waiting arms, only for him to be ripped away from me, to be taken onward to another realm of life where I don't get the privilege of seeing his face, hearing his voice, watching him grow, celebrating his milestones, as any mother should? 

Why would our creator so graciously give such a miraculous gift of life, just to take it right back... before it had a chance to really begin? 

Why would the universe hand pick our family to do this to? 

An innocent baby facing his own mortality seems so unnatural, so cruel... especially since, as his Mom, I should have been able to protect him from anything that tried to hurt him. Really leaves me feeling like I failed him. I hope he knows I would have taken a bullet for him, or walked through fire for him. I would have laid my life down for the chance for him to live one day. 

No mother should have to surrender her child back to God, it just all seems so wrong. 

I believe a big part of me will wander around aimlessly for the rest of my life, searching for a truth I know I will never find. 

But one thing IS certain - my boy is LOVED - from the moment I squealed in delight at the plus sign on my pregnancy test, until this very moment today. I love him unconditionally, as any mother loves her child. No different than if he was here. 

His life, although short but sweet, mattered.. and it changed mine forever. 

Because of him, I care more deeply - probably even to a fault. 

I take nothing for granted, not even a single breath. 

I don't assume that I will see a loved one again, and I don't talk about 'someday'.... as life offers zero guarantees, and our time walking this planet is quite limited, and should be held sacred. We are all on borrowed time, and all we have is the moment we're in. 

I have become ultra sensitive, my heart literally bleeds for people who are hurting. And at the same time, I celebrate the 'good stuff' of life on a much higher level since he came into my life. If I love someone, I love deeply and without abandon - and I show them - I never keep them guessing or allow them to doubt how much they mean to me, knowing they could be gone in the blink of an eye without a minute's warning. 

Sometimes my vulnerability gets me hurt, but it won't stop me. I choose not to live in regret, which allows my heart a certain freedom. 

But I do have to admit, some days I am stone cold bitter when I contemplate all I lost, ughhh.... but most days I consciously choose to embrace life's blessings with everything I've got. 

Life is in vain if is not celebrated. 

I want to make my boy proud of the fact that I don't take a single day (that he was denied, yet I was given) for granted. 

I enjoy the simple things... just a walk in the park, or taking in a sunset, or a family dinner... and I am on top of the world. 

Material things mean nothing to me - life experiences with people I love mean everything. 

Part of me died along with Nathan that day, yet part of me awakened to a new light once the fog lifted.

He taught me that life is a precious gift - yet, it is imperfect, painful, chaotic, unfair, mysterious, incredibly fragile, fleeting... but above all, it is beautiful. 

The only thing we can control is our attitude, so it's best to just make the best hand of the cards we are dealt. Best laid plans go haywire sometimes, gotta just roll with the punches. 

He taught me an inner strength I never knew I had, and makes me realize that I am equipped with whatever tools I need to face life's challenges. Some days I feel like a ninja, and I smile and I thank him for that! 

He taught me a love like I've never known. Who knew that love could be that powerful and profound, even when the separation of death attempted to alter our mother/son bond. Not a chance - time has NO power over love. Actually, nothing has power over love. 

All these valuable life lessons taught to me by one special little boy, MY boy, in such a brief little window of time. 

To deny his existence to avoid feeling the pain, would be living a lie, because he is such a big part of who I am. 

Although losing him is an unexplainable ache I silently live with every day of my life, and yes, the tears still frequently fall... I would never change a single thing about mothering him, because it was an honor to grow him under my heart and love him with a depth I had never known before him. 

And yes, there is even beauty to be found in surrendering him back to God (not that I wanted to). 

I think he is pretty amazing and special, and no doubt he has a definitive purpose in this universe. 

I don't know, maybe he makes the stars shine, or the rain showers fall, or the waves tumble over the shoreline, or the flowers bloom... or, maybe he is an artist who paints rainbows. :) But I never doubt that my son has special purpose and lives on. He was created with purpose beyond my understanding. 

I feel him. 

We get signs from him. Whenever his sister, Brittany, tells me about a moment when she knew her brother was there by her side, it makes my heart swell. 

He is alive and well in our hearts. 

I envision every little detail of his face through the years, and I know I will find out someday that I was spot on. A Mom just 'knows.' He surely is a handsome guy with his Dad's dimpled chin, Paul Newman blue eyes, and with a smile that could light up the world, much like his sister Brittany. 

And I believe that him and I would share the same heart because the connection I feel to him is quite profound. 

22 is a special number to me for so many reasons, and maybe that is why I am so introspective this year on his birthday. 

22 years.... just, wow. 

Taking the day off today with my family to go get lost somewhere, and just be together in honor and remembrance of our special guy. He will always be an integral part of our family who we acknowledge, celebrate, and love very deeply. 

Time will never change that, even another 22 years from now... and 22 years beyond that. 

He is my ever after, my little piece of heaven. 

Nothing can take that away from me."



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