After Ben went to heaven, I thought that this blog was finished. But then I felt God tugging at my heart, saying that He was still working out Ben's story. And so I agreed that I would continue to write about our journey, as I had both inspiration and opportunity.
Well, being more than 37 weeks with Baby Girl in utero, caring for my family, and enjoying the fullness of the summer with our family and friends, it has proven to be very difficult for those two elements to meet.
On any given day, I have had the same four thoughts:
- I miss my son.
- I wish this never happened to our family.
- But God is sovereign.
- And God is good.
But as we begin the month of September, I can feel another big season of change blowing through our family. Our oldest begins kindergarten and we prepare to meet the newest little Sauer. Two huge changes whose effects send big ripples through every aspect of our lives. Andy and I talk about how surreal our lives feel recently. Are these things really happening? Is Ben really gone? Are we really parents of a school-aged child? Are we really going to have another baby? We're very aware of the reality of these changes. And yet, it just feels so surreal.
Jack starts kindergarten tomorrow. Our oldest. And though it is very different than how we had always planned, he will be going alone. Except Ben will be with him.
Meg and Jack before his supply drop-off night last week. This kid is sooo excited for kindergarten! (And he has never worn more blue in his life!)
You see, Jack's new favorite color is blue. He chooses it for everything. A balloon, a toy, a cup, anything. "Because I love Ben!" he'll tell us. The other day while driving, we drove by a red convertible. He told me that he would buy a blue convertible when he is a dad. Then he asked what color Megan would get. "I want PINK!" she answered. "But don't you love Ben?" he asked his sister. "Because if you loved Ben, you would get blue." After a few minutes of crying, she finally relented to her persistent brother that she would get blue. Because she also loved Ben.
His sneakers are blue. Any outfit he picked out is blue. His lunchbag is blue. I bought his backpack and jacket when he wasn't with me, though. They're green. And black. I knew I couldn't handle the emotion of seeing a big blue blob coming up the driveway. Maybe someday. But not yet. He will still wear Ben's old blue Crocs when he can't find his own. And it still makes me think twice to see them laying on the family room floor. Ben always wore blue - ever since he was born.
Yeah, I think it's just going to take some time.
There are two other sets of twins in his class this year. I've introduced him to one set at the playground. "They're twins, just like you," I told him. "My twin's name is Ben," he told them. "And he's in heaven." Even Jack knows that he is still a twin. He will always be a twin. It says so on his birth certificate. It's just that his twin is watching out for him from above. He doesn't always get really sad when he talks about his brother, though he does talk about how much he misses his favorite playmate. It's just that every memory includes his twin.
Megan has been sleeping in Ben's old bed, next to Jack. It's been good for both of them, I think. This means that Megan's old bedroom is now conveniently the baby's nursery. Little has to be done in order to change it over. But as convenient as that is, it also makes me incredibly sad. Andy and I were actually looking forward to the inconvenience of seeing how we would accommodate four kids in two small bedrooms.
People have told me that the journey of grief comes and goes in waves. And I'm finding that to be true. There are days when I am so grateful that Ben is already Home. With his Jesus. And then there are days - or even moments - when I just want to crumble to the floor in sadness, missing my kind-hearted mediator and goofball, faced with the depth of our loss - Jack's twin - and the reality that I won't be able to have all four of my kids all together at the same time.
And I just hate it.
The distance between my brain and my heart feels very distant at times. The things I know in my head to be true are the words of faith that I rehearse daily. But then I have real emotions, feelings, that remind me of how much we lost. And both speak loudly.
I am so grateful that Ben is not in pain anymore... but I hate the fact that I have to be grateful that my completely healthy son is not in pain!
I'm so glad that God was able to use one little boy for so much good, to draw people to Him... but why couldn't He have chosen someone else?
God has always been so good to me and we have always tried to be faithful to His word... then why would He allow MY son to be taken and others given a physical healing?
And the battle continues.
Thankfully, I have a long history with my God who has never failed me. Even when I tried to abandon my faith along this journey, He wouldn't let me. His hold on my life is too strong. And so I continue speaking words of faith into my life. Giving myself opportunities to cry. To grieve. To mourn. And then reminding myself that I serve a God that cries right along with me. He knows exactly how I feel. After all, His Son died too.
But while there is great grief, there is also great joy.
I got a glimpse at our baby girl today, 37+ weeks in utero. And she's just perfect. Somehow, in the midst of caring for our family, healing our hearts, God has been working another miracle inside of me. It won't be long before we will be able to meet the newest addition to our family. She will - in no way - replace Benjamin. No one could ever do that. But we are filled with joy at the prospect of new life!
Baby Girl at 37 weeks and 4 days, in utero. So very grateful for God's protection over this little one.
After we found out it was going to be a girl, Ben would say, "Mom! You're going to have two boys and two girls!" Even the memory of him holding two fingers in each hand brings me to tears. He was so excited about having another little sister! He was always the one to be more gentle with Megan. Patient. The teacher. What a hole he has left in our family. I absolutely hate that I won't get to see him hold her, stroke her hair, and wrap his arms in protection around her just as he did as a three-year-old with his other sister.
But it has been beautiful to see how excited both Jack and Megan are about the baby, even before she makes her earthly debut. Megan comes up to my belly and says, "Hi baby sister! Hi! How doing? Good? Good!" I really have to try and get it on video. It's pretty much the cutest thing you'd ever hear. Jack taps my belly (to get her attention of course) and says, "Can you hear me? It's Jack! I'm your big brother! Kick my hand if you can hear me!" I don't remember him being this interested with Meg. He was younger, of course. But it's just beautiful hearing their sweet innocent words in support of our newest addition.
Grateful I didn't go into labor on Labor Day!
She's not even here yet, but I can tell you this: this baby girl is soooo loved.
So many changes in such a short time.
With Jack beginning his school adventure tomorrow morning, it brings me a lot of comfort to know that he is in good hands. That he is excited. Ready. It's the same school I attended as a child, the same exact (blue) kindergarten classroom. And you can even see the room from my front door! Some friends have asked if I'll be one of those moms peeking through his classroom window, making sure he's doing alright throughout the day. C'mon, that is just not my style. I'm a lot more classy than that.
I'll be using binoculars from my front window.