Yesterday was a really rough day for me and there truly was no rhyme or reason to it. I was fine when I got up in the morning and went to church. During church I sat in the pew and the sun beams just streamed in the window warming where we were. Usually that is really when I feel the closest to God and my little boy. Going to a grave or looking at his urn don't do anything for me but on a Sunday when I am sitting there in church, or really anywhere for that matter, and the beams of the sun come like that out of no where I just feel this warmness and feeling of closeness that I do not usually feel.
After the service we went to the hall downstairs where they showed pictures from their recent trip to Ecuador where George's baby clothes went. As I sat there in this room full of people, they showed a picture of our deacon with all the luggage that they took with them. You could not see any of his things in it but somehow I was struck by the picture just knowing his things where there. Some part of me was very proud and another was very sad. We saw pictures of the landscape and the housing and things that they all live in down there. I knew then that we did the right thing no matter how hard it really was for us. They are so poor down there living in shacks and I know that he was blessing these people in his passing even if they had no idea where any of it came from or how much meaning those items had to a family miles away.
The presentation was long and many of the kids had gone outside to play and wait for their parent. I was sitting in a chair facing the windows that looked outside and all of a sudden I saw Richard walking with a man who had just lost his wife. I sang at the funeral for his wife so I knew who he was, he has a lot of problems and our family had actually taken food over to his house the day of George's funeral to help them out. When I saw them together and their location, I knew they had been sitting in the memorial garden(I could not see the garden from where I was sitting. The gentleman went on his was as Richard stood by him walking down the sidewalk until they got to the point where Richard was no longer allowed to venture passed. I again turned my attention back to the presentation.
A short while later, I saw a bunch of the kids from the church running around picking flowers that had not yet been harmed by the cold weather. They were all Richard's age so I know they are in his Sunday school group. One by one they returned with their find to the location of the memorial garden. Right then I knew what was happening...they were putting flowers on our little monkey's grave sight and that of many who have gone before him and after him. For a moment it took my breath away even though I could not see what they were doing, I knew exactly what was happening. The show was over and we gathered ourselves to leave. As we left I found Richard on the ground where his brother's grave is and that of the woman who had recently died.
We called for Richard to come with us and had to do it several times. As we walked passed we could see the floral memorial that the kids had created and I watched as Richard picked himself up from the ground where he had just been lying next to his brother. For me returning to his grave there really has not brought me much peace. It doesn't feel to me as if he is there and nor to I get some sense of peace like I thought I would. Part of me feels like it is because his name has not yet been added to the memorial plaque so it is as if it isn't real. They are suppose to be putting it on but have not done that thus far, I check every time that we walk by it hoping to see his name but knowing it is likely not there yet. I know now how may parents who opt for burial feel as they wait for their child's headstone to come in. Somehow it validates it all and makes it real...for now it just seems as if he isn't there and that this whole thing is just a bad dream.
We left church and got the younger boys from my mom's house but I could not shake the images that I had witnessed at church. I turned on my christian cd and listened to the song "homesick" and that is exactly how I felt. It all brought me to the readings from the morning and one particular passage where Jesus was saying to non believers that death does not happen in his eyes for those who die always live to him even when their bodies are gone. What a profoundly strong passage and it just rang through my head and maybe it isn't my son's name on the plaque that will give me peace, I think I just know that he isn't there or here for that matter, I know he is in heaven and has eternal life. I have always said I feel a peace about his leaving even though for me the pain remains and always will until the day I join him again.
There have been many instances where others have said they saw something profound and they knew that George was there. Never have I in my life felt that way about anyone who has died. I know often times it is a way that others cope of find some sort of peace but for me I have never had that. My son is gone and in heaven, not here, not an angel(God chose his angels way before the world was made, that isn't to say there isn't one with him watching him but he himself is not one), not leaving messages, or any other sort of thing that often people use to cope. I knew he was gone the moment I saw him in the funeral home...gone until I am with him in heaven again someday. The last time I know I felt his presence was in a dream just a few days after he died where I know God gave me my chance to say goodbye to him and I just held him knowing he was gone and this was my gift from God letting me say goodbye since I had not been able to while he was alive. The times I see something like a butterfly or dragonfly and think of him, I feel is more God's way of letting me know he is with me and thinking of me walking me through this journey he has placed in front of me.
At one point I stood in the kitchen crying as Hugh just hugged me and I sobbed missing my little boy. His mom came in and I had to pull it together again and randomly found it almost impossible to do so and not just fall apart. We had taken her out shopping with us since we had no plans to stay home because we needed to get the boys a coat since they outgrew the ones from last year or the zipper was broken. I really did not feel like going out or having company for that matter with the way I was feeling but had no choice in the matter since the boys needed a coat in this cold weather and are already coming down with colds that they are on breathing treatments for. The more I tried to put on that happy face the sadder I got and the more my heart hurt and I was so grateful to return home and went downstairs to be by myself as she stayed and visited with Hugh and the boys. I think she may have been a little upset that I was not there to talk to or entertain her but I just couldn't do it anymore and had to just get away before I lost it completely.
While I was sitting there in my room I picked up the bible and turned to Job where I often find inspiration. I have never really read it word for word, but knew the general idea or had only read certain passages not the entire book. Everyone always talks about how Job kept his faith through all the tragedy in his life. One thing that they never mention is that even though he does not turn from God he cursed the day he himself was born. He asks why would he not be spared from the pain and how he awaited death and actually wished it rather than feel the pain he was in. He asks why he is alive and feeling this even though he never turns from God and how with all his being he wants nothing more than to be put out of his misery. Wow, all I can say is I know his feelings of knowing you have to go on but not understanding why and wishing the pain would just end even if it means death here on Earth. This of course does not mean you are suicidal it is just that you want to find an end to the horrible pain you are feeling and obstacles you are asked to bear even if they are God's will...you respect God and love him but don't always understand or want to carry the cross he has given to each of us. You know in your heart that you have no choice and you will do whatever it is He asks of you but that does not mean you have to like it.
The other obstacle that I have had lately is nothing new to me or any other parent who has lost their child in this manner. So much of that what if stuff has moment's of its own even though you know logically that you cannot change a thing and that you did all you could. Another mom, in Texas that I am friends with on Facebook, and I have been going through a lot of this lately. Some part of us feels as if we let our child down or could have done more to save them. I remember just apologizing to my little boy as I held his cold little body telling him I was so sorry I did not save him...I even had said that to Hugh on occasion. Somehow as his mom I felt like it was my responsibility, I was the one who should have been able to do it. It is like you failed them in some way. Had I only gone in his room that morning when I got up would he still be alive? Had I done pediatric CPR initially rather than adult, would he be alive? Had I not just said he was already dead and had more faith would he be here? Had I just picked up the phone myself and called 911 myself would he be alive? These are not mistakes you can fix after the person is dead so you are left with these feelings and having to find a way to live with these things. Logically you know better and you tell yourself that you did all you could but trying to tell your heart what your head knows is sometimes an impossible feat.
I wish that I could change it but know I can't. I wish that I did not have to watch my son lay on the cold ground where his little brother's remains are. I wish I did not have to talk myself into finding a way to live every day without my baby. I wish I didn't have to have the terrible memories and feelings every day of my life. In the end though, all I can do is wish and keep pushing forward every day just asking God to be with me and help me to live this life I am given even if I don't like it or it is not what I expected for myself or is harder than I ever thought it would be. It doesn't mean that I question him or what his plans are but it does mean that I can be lost and not understand or wish for this to not be the way it is. My pain is real and I am allowed to feel it even if there are others in worse situations or who have had bigger trails in their lives. We are the apple of God's eye but also allowed to rest in the shelter of his wings when the world around us feels as if it is spinning out of control...they say he brings rest to the weary but they don't say it happens right away!
George's Guardian's of Grace Projects
Stocking project is now in full force collecting donations. We have a list of the items we can use. You can also choose to sponsor a stocking in memory or honor of someone else. We will include a paragraph or two in the cards we place in the stockings to let the recipient know about the person that means so much to you. Our paypal account is posted on this page and ready to take donations. Email us for a list of items needed or with any questions or information you would like included on a sponsored stocking/donation.
Video Tributes/Celebration of Life Footage
Here is a link to a video tribute that was made by Richard's dad in memory of George. Get out your tissues!
We Finally have footage from the service up and running:
It is in 4 sections running about 17 mins each. If you were unable to attend, you can now see what you missed. We were so blessed to have everyone there with us in person and in spirit!