At the beginning of 2016, Brian printed out a paper that said “Answered Prayers of 2016” and was full of blank lines. The 3rd thing written on that list was “We’re having a baby!” We learned the exciting news that we were pregnant with our 3rd child on the 11th of January 2016.
On the 4th of January 2017, we laid our sweet, healthy, 3 ½ month old baby boy, Beckett, down for a nap and he passed away in his sleep.
We went through a lifetime in one year. But it wasn’t just a birth and death that happened in that year, it was a deeper change in our family.
Around March I began a bible study with a friend that was centered on motherhood. Through the Bible study, and through her influence, I began to fall more in love with my ministry of motherhood. I began to love and interact with my kids in a different way. Some ways were very subtle, but some ways were more extreme. I knew going into Beckett’s birth that I wanted to take a long period of time off from all other responsibilities and just focus on being his mom. And for the first 6 weeks of his life I did that. I focused on Brooklyn, Boston, and Beckett and I loved it. It was hard. Babies are hard work. I was continuously tired, was still learning what each of his cries meant, and seemed to be unable to put him down for more than 15 minutes during the day without him wanting held. But I knew what I was doing was important. And I cherished it.
It wasn’t just me that was making changes to prioritize our family this year. Brian bonded with Beckett quicker than our other two babies. Whether it was a change in Brian, Beckett’s personality, or quite simply just the grace of God- they were a great team from the start. As Beckett entered the smiling stage, it was his daddy that made his eyes light up and his smile shine. When he was fussy and we couldn’t figure out quite how to make him happy, it was his daddy’s arm and a little koala hold that would instantly calm him down.
Brooklyn loved her brother. She read to him from the time I was 20 weeks pregnant and told her the baby could hear sounds on the outside. Brooklyn’s heart and attitude have changed this past year and she has become sweeter, gentler, and more mature. She’s still a wild 6 year-old, I don’t want to paint any untrue perfect pictures here! But she loved her baby brother with a gentle, genuine love.
And then there is Boston! He had no idea the baby in mommy’s tummy was going to be real until he saw him at the hospital and immediately fell in love. His exact question was, “Where’d this Bucket come from?” And from that point on his brother was called “Bucket” and he thought he was so cute.
To say all of these things in the past tense seems unnatural. It seems unreal. It seems like it can’t be us. I feel numb. I feel intense emotion and hurt. No one knows what to say to us. We don’t know what to say to them. I want him back. I know the road ahead of us is long. I know we will have many different emotions and reactions along the way. I don’t know how I will handle every step of the journey, but right now I am choosing to be thankful.
We had close to 4 wonderful months with our little guy. We got to hold him and love him and create memories that will always be there. We are choosing to be thankful for those 4 months. We are choosing to believe that Beckett was a gift to our family. We loved that gift. We cherished him for the time we had him. I want my little boy back. I want him back so much. But I don’t want him back to do things differently. I want him back because I miss him.
I’m not saying I didn’t complain about the late nights or the lack of showers. I fell behind on housework, on recipe planning, on record keeping, on countless things and I felt like I was failing at times. I’m not saying we did everything right with Beckett at all. But I am saying we enjoyed him. I am saying we loved him well. And when I look back at his short time here, I am thankful for the priorities we chose.
I know our situation has brought out a lot of fear in other new moms and families. I understand and I think it’s natural. But if I could choose for you, I would say don’t let this bring you to fear. Let it bring you to LOVE. Love the moments you have, don’t fear the ones that are unknown.
That “Answered Prayer” list that Brian printed out at the beginning of the year, we went on to write 138 items on it. 2016 was a good year. It was a good year because we looked for the good. We looked for God at work and we saw Him. And 2017 is going to be a good year as well. I know this because I know my God. In the midst of my darkness, in the midst of my pain, He is there.
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. (Psalm 46:1-3,7)
23 thoughts on “Love the Moments You Have”
The grace you are displaying is beyond my earthly comprehension. I know it could only be God who strengthens you. Thank you for sharing something so deep from your heart. I don’t have infants anymore, but I do have 2 children. You have challenged me to focus on my motherhood with them. It could be easy to say that they are older and don’t need me as much, but I feel like I need to be their mother more. I could not imagine what your precious family is going through. My heart and prayers are with you all. I pray that God will use this tragedy for good. My sister, Sara North has spoken of you and your family with such fondness. Praying for you as you walk a road that no parent should ever have to travel.
Rebekah you all have been in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your heart in this so difficult time. Thank you for trusting our Lord when it hurts so bad. Thank you for being an example for Him. May God continue to heal your family. Love and prayers. Linda Byrd
Rebekah, your family has shown so much grace and strength through all of this. I don’t know what to say except that I am sorry, I will continue to lift you up in prayer, my family loves you all and God is faithful.
Rebekah. I don’t know if you remember me but I want to tell you how sad I feel for you and your family. Please know I am praying for you all at this very sad and difficult time in your life. I cannot even pretend to imagine. May God give you a peace as only He can give and I pray you feel the love of friends and family through our prayers. Meg Dyson
Oh Rebekah, my heart mourns so deeply for you and your family! What a beautiful post you have written! I was in tears from the beginning. And you are right, I don’t know what to say but that I know this post is going to change lives for Gods kingdom! It has already changed mine! I am praying for Gods undeniable Peace to engulf your spirits and His love to surround your family!
I never can wait to read the latest insights you share from your walk with our Father. Whatever I’m doing, I lay it aside to drink in the full meaning. I am leaving for the airport in 15 minutes; my suitcases full of items for the work in Mexico are waiting to be zipped shut, weighed and loaded in the transport, and my last “see you later” to my parents is on hold as I contemplate this, another unexpected, but answered prayer in the lives of my friends, Brian and Rebekah. You and our Father have again, not disappointed. Love you so much Rebekah, and I’m grateful for a long-distance friend who shares so transparently, and so gratefully, her multifaceted gifts.
Thank you for sharing ❤ A heart warming, heart breaking and inspiring read. Much love to you all xx
My daughter, Hannah Stevens, shared your story with us this week and our family has been keeping you in our hearts, thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing a bit of your grief and your hope here. Your words are beautifully apt. I have a friend who is watching her unexpectedly preterm baby struggle for survival. She is also penning her thoughts and hopes and presence of mind. I have another friend who just lost her brother after living a lifetime destructively. This road called Life is not a smooth one. The somewhat surprising thing is that God is way more aware of this than us. I absolutely hate what has happened to your family and I don’t even know you. I miss Beckett for you as well and want him back. But you have something very right here – this rope of hope and faith that you hold. Beauty from ashes is a real thing. Thank you sharing your story – the words are traveling far to other bruised souls. Thought you should know. Praying for much comfort and strength for your family.
Grace and Peace.
I am so sorry for what you are going through. I pray that God will comfort you in the days and months ahead, and until that day when you are reunited with your son. I understand missing him. Our son, Alex, died of SIDS almost 23 years ago. I still miss him, but know that one day I will see him again. It’s the hope we hold onto and our faith in Christ that gets us through each day. Praying for you and your family.
I cried all the way through this, Becky. I’m grieving so much with you all though I never got to meet darling little Beckett. So glad to see you holding tight to God. He is the only comfort we have at times like this. Love you all so much!
I am praying for your family. Such sadness abounds in the loss of this little one. Praise God you had a little time with him. The sense of sadness and longing for him will always be there. He is safely in the arms of Jesus. May God wrap His arms around you and give you peace, comfort, and His precious love.
Rebekah, my thoughts are with you all at this so very sad time. I remember how excited Brooklyn was to choose books to read to the baby while you were expecting Beckett. Love and prayers to you all xxxxx
Thank you for opening your heart to us. So glad you loved and cherished Beckett during his life. What a testimony to choose ‘thankfulness’ during all your emotions. Continually praying for you and your family in the days ahead. Much love from Australia, Natalie Perry
I am so sorry for your loss! Your story brings tears to my eyes, so beautifully written. My heart hurts for you and my thoughts and prayers have been with all of you. I am Tina’s cousin, her dad John was my great uncle. I just wanted to send my sincerest condolences. Heartfelt prayers for healing and comfort continue for all of you!! Big hugs too. God bless♡
My heartfelt sympathy for your loss. I too have lost a child to death. He was 17. If there is a grief support group in your area called “Grief Share” it will help you through your journey of grief. Go to griefshare.org to locate a group in your area. My prayers for your family will be heard. I’m a member of Cherry Street Baptist Church, Springfield, MO.