Sunday, January 3, 2010

Healing vs. Forgetting

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.- Helen Keller
On Christmas, after all of our stops were done, and we were back at home, Brandon and I released balloons for Caleb. We released four balloons. One red, one green, one gold, and one white. I wrote a message on the red one and I drew Caleb a couple of pictures. Brandon wrote on the green one and I transcribed a message from our pup Lacy on the gold one. The white one was sent up to all of the other little angel babies in Heaven. We let the balloons go, said Merry Christmas, and came back inside. This is what I like to call "remembering".

I didn't cry on Christmas because I didn't have my baby boy with me. We made six stops to visit family and friends and no one really mentioned Caleb. I wasn't bothered by this. I wore my necklace to remind me of him. I held him in my heart all day. And I knew that Caleb was having the best Christmas because he was celebrating with none other than the birthday boy himself, Jesus. It was hard watching my sister open gifts for her baby that she's expecting in March. It was hard playing with our niece, who is now thought of (and maybe rightfully so) as the only grandchild on Brandon's side. But I had a sense of peace in my heart through it all. This is what I like to call "healing".

Some people, mostly those who have never been through a loss, confuse healing and forgetting. They think because I do things like release balloons, wear a necklace to remind me of Caleb, hang a stocking for him, or celebrate his birthday that I must not be healed. And since I do all of these things and appear, in their eyes, not be healed, well then I must be dragging this out for far too long. It's time to let go, they may say.

Six and a half months. That's how long Caleb was with me. Fifteen months. That's how long Caleb has been gone.

By God's grace, my heart has slowly healed. It's not completely healed, but it's better than it was. That's amazing when you think about it. When I found out Caleb's heart stopped, I wanted mine to stop too. I wanted to go with him. Now here I am, 15 months later, and I have hope again. I can remember my son and rejoice that, even though it was only for six and a half months, I got to be his mommy. I can do things like release balloons and be a little sad that he isn't here with me, but understand that it's ok that he's not.

In doing things to remind me of Caleb, I am healing. These things do not weigh me down or make me sad. They help me to become more at peace with what is. If I tried to pretend that what was had never been, if I tried to forget that for six and a half glorious months I carried with me someone who changed my life for the better, my heart would still be broken. I would have learned nothing from the experience God blessed me with. And at this point, that's exactly how I see it. Caleb wasn't meant to live in this life. He had a different purpose. In my own way, I think Caleb was sent to help me. And he did. What a crime it would be to forget that.


Bev Johnston said...

I have goose bumps reading your post. I am so happy that God has given you healing! I'm so happy He has given you hope. I'm really proud of you!!! You are very strong. It's amazing what we can get through with God's guidance.

Ali said...

Oh, Summer. I am in tears. This is the first time that I have visited your site. Wow. Wow. Wow. I have no words. None at all.

Summer, I am so terribly sorry.

My dear friend, Amy, lost her baby last year. Her name is Abigail. She went to be with Jesus at 35 weeks gestation. Here is a precious video about their story.

I only share this with you because I imagine that you can relate. Amy has told me so many times that she has experienced so much loneliness because she often feels that no one else understands how she feels. Not even her husband. What a difficult place to be. But also it makes me so thankful that God promises to always be there with us and for us. Always.

Summer, I assure you that I will be praying for you. Praying for you as you heal and mourn. Praying for you as you begin another journey, a journey to be a mommy again.

And in the meantime, I have to wonder what Caleb and Abigail are up to in Heaven - parties with Jesus and the angels. No pain. No sorrow. Simply pure bliss. Just another reminder that THIS is not our home.

Colleen F said...

What a beautiful post. I feel the same as you do and we are almost 4 months out since Grace was born still. Thanks for helping me on the iVillage board. It's amazing the support women in similar circumstances can provide one another.