It’s almost been one month since we lost our sweet baby boy.
In the past month:
I have learned that clueless three-year-olds are a gift from God. Boston has made us laugh and continued on with his happy little life in spite of everything going on around him.
I have decided if there were an award for grieving, Brooklyn would win it. She talks about Beckett at least once every day. She draws pictures of him and writes letters to him. She somehow lives her life in a way that remembers him and honors him, without any heaviness. She is sad, but she is strong. She is one amazing girl.
I have been thankful for my marriage. I ache for Brian’s pain. He wants to take mine away. We both have moments of strength and hard moments, but we have them together.
I have felt God’s strength and comfort in a way I have never experienced before. I have never needed to experience it to this extent before. I can’t explain it, and I don’t think I need to be able to explain it. I just know that I would not be handling this the way I am without Him.
God’s love for me does not surprise me. God is love. It’s what He does because it’s who He is. What amazes me is the love being shown to us by other people. I know myself. I am a sinner. I make mistakes. I know Brian. I think he’s the greatest husband in the world (obviously), but I know he is very human as well. We are not amazing or exceptional people. But we have made an intentional choice to share our lives with other people, and it is a choice we would make again 100 times.
We brought Beckett home from the hospital on September 15th. That morning Brian’s parents flew back to the US. We were bringing our third child home from the hospital with our closest relative 4,000 miles away. We were faced with a choice at that time. We could pretend to be self-sufficient and try to make it through this newly complicated life on our own. “Our little family of five is great and we don’t need any help!” Or we could share our lives with those around us. We could ask for and accept help. In the first scenario, I think we would have survived. It would have been hard, but we could have made it through each day. But we didn’t choose that option.
When Beckett was born we chose to share our lives, and we chose to share our little boy with those God had placed around us. And we loved it. Beckett quickly captured the hearts of our friends, our church, and pretty much anyone we passed in the village. He had big bright eyes and around two-months-old he started showing off a big smile to go with it.
We shared our little boy through the beauty of technology as well. Our family that couldn’t hold Beckett with their arms got to smile and talk to him online. Even my 90-year-old grandmother got to hold the iPad right up to her face and admire her eighth great-grandchild. Our friends could meet Beckett through social media. And our financial and prayer supporters in ministry were able to rejoice with us from a distance.
Life was hard with three kids. But the friends and the community that surrounded us made it enjoyable. I knew this thing we were experiencing was special. Brian and I often asked ourselves what we did to deserve such blessings from God. Why did we get to be the lucky ones that loved life and thrived in our current circumstances?
On January 4th our circumstances changed. We lost our little boy. At that point we had another choice to make. We could huddle our little family of four close and retreat in our hurt. Or we could continue to share this life with others.
Those people we let into our lives, they were hurting too. Our community that rejoiced with us and loved our little boy, this affected them too. The people near and far, the people that held Beckett in their arms, and the ones that held him in their hearts, it touched all of us. Brian, Rebekah, Brooklyn, and Boston didn’t experience this hurt alone. So we chose to share the pain just like we shared the joy.
This month I have learned many lessons. Some were not new lessons, but reinforced truths. One thing I know is that this life is meant to be shared. We might have been able to survive Beckett’s life on our own, but I question whether we could have survived his death without our friends.
Choosing to share our lives is a choice we will make over and over again. And it’s a choice I would boldly tell you to make today. I’m not suggesting you begin to post photos of all your meals and family outings on Facebook (though I won’t complain if you do). I’m suggesting you invite someone over for dinner tonight. Offer to babysit for a couple that could use some alone time. Take a new mom and her baby out for coffee. Stop to have a conversation with the neighbor you wave at in passing each day. I’m suggesting you take the first step to make a real connection.
This choice to share our lives—it is a choice that can leave us vulnerable to hurt and can end up quite messy. But it is also a choice that can bring us unbelievable hope and joy. It’s a choice that comes with a risk. But it’s a risk that I’m willing to take.
I look forward to continuing to share our life with you—the joy and the pain.