But feeling him reminds me of feeling Gabe. All those little nudges, kicks, and movements bring back memories of feeling the same with him. It's crazy, but sometimes I have to remind myself that it's not him in there. It's as if I grieve for him all over again. We went to our first Wake game of the season last week, and when we sat down, I just started crying. The last time we were there, so was Gabe. Everything was okay. I was just sure that this season, I'd be watching with him in my arms. It's so overwhelming how life can change in mere moments.
It was a windy day here today... but I didn't realize how windy. Matt and I were sitting in the living room when we heard a crash and the sound of glass breaking - Gabe's wind chimes. I couldn't believe it. I ran to the back door and looked out. There were the chimes Kim had given us, "angelic sounds to remind us of our little angel" in a broken heap on the deck. I burst into tears. Sometimes the grief is just as real and strong and unbearable as it was the day we found out he was gone.
As silly as it may sound to grieve over a set of chimes, it's something we have to hear and see and touch that helps connect us to him. I get sad when I see that the bear they gave him at the hospital is getting a hole in its arm and that the right side of his face is going flat where I snuggle (suffocate) him in my sleep. I get sad that the dogwood tree my siblings gave us after he died has now lost its leaves and looks kind of pitiful in my yard. I get sad that his little outfit we put on him the day he was born doesn't smell like him - it smells like the cardboard box we keep it in. And sometimes I get sad out of the blue for no obvious reason. Whoever said that you go through the stages of grief in a particular order and that they get resolved along the way was full of crap. It's a roller coaster, back and forth, up and down... acceptance, denial, anger, denial, denial, anger, acceptance, bargaining... Maybe that's how it will always be. And maybe I'm okay with it. The grief is just something else that connects me to him, helping me hold on to the memories.
God continues to hold us in these times and reminds us over and over again that we are not alone. He continues to shower us with blessings and takes care of us in spite of our moments of doubt. Don't get me wrong. We have faith. But I've always thought Thomas got kind of a bad rap. I definitely understand, "I believe, but help me in my unbelief." I don't guess we'll really get it until we are in His presence. The funny thing is that people always say they have a list of questions they will ask God when they get to Heaven. Believe me, the "why" behind all this suffering with the loss of a baby (and not just on our part, but suffering of so many) would be first on my list. But here's the thing my friend Gina, a breast cancer survivor, told me... when we get there, we won't have to ask. We'll just know and all those questions we had won't matter anymore. It will all finally make sense, and we'll realize that although we've lost so many battles and there has been so much pain, Jesus won the war for us a long time ago. And we won't care about getting him to explain all the messed up stuff and "unfairness" we endured. Because, honestly, in the presence of Jesus, who's really going to give a flying flip? I think I'll have too many other wonderful things to think about and praise Him for. And I'm pretty sure I'll be too busy hanging out with a certain little someone to really care about asking about the time I didn't get with him. I think I'd rather spend my eternity loving on him and on HIM than to waste my time looking back on all the crappy stuff of this world. Then, there will be no more sad days, and the wind chimes will never break.