On Sunday I spoke at Walk to Remember in Lewisville, a walk for families who have lost babies to miscarriage, stillbirth or in the neonatal period.
I was so honored to be asked to speak, and even more honored to be able to tell our story. I hope that I was somehow an encouragement to someone who has been in a similar place.
I was really nervous, but overall I felt really good about it. My main goal was to NOT completely sob through the whole thing, so by that standard, it was definitely a success. My voice broke several times and I got very teary, but I think I could still be understood. Shwoo.
Basically I just told about what happened with Gabe - my pregnancy, our last couple days with him, and about our discovery that he had gone to be with Jesus. I also told about our Mother's Day message from him, and closed with a few things I've learned/God's taught me in the last year and a half. It was very hard having to say it all out loud to a group full of strangers, but in a way it was easy, because I knew if anybody could understand, it was them.
I don't think I anticipated being quite as emotional as I was. I mean I knew I would get emotional during my talk, but I was crying about five minutes after we got there. I met a woman there who had just lost her twins at about twenty weeks only three months earlier. Seeing her struggle with the raw grief that we experienced right after Gabe died... it was hard. I felt so sad for her and it brought so many of those emotions back for me. I missed Gabe in that moment more than I've missed him in a long time. We also wrote messages on tags to send up on balloons, and writing directly to Gabe always makes me very emotional.
It was a great experience, though, and I'm so excited whenever I can tell people about Gabe and Jonah.
One thing I said that I think is an important thing I've learned:
I don't like it when people say things like, "Everything happens for a reason." Maybe that's true, but I just think it kind of makes it sound like God took Gabe to teach us some kind of a lesson. And I just don't think that is the nature of God. Ok, you need to learn something, so I'm going to take your baby away. Maybe that's not what people mean when they say it, but that's how a grieving mother may perceive it. God did not TAKE Gabe. Gabe died because evil and sickness and death exist. And they exist because the Devil exists.
Gabe died because life sucks sometimes, and shitty (sorry, but there's no better word) things happen.
But it was NOT God's plan for Gabe to die.
Did I learn some things? Yes.
Did God teach me through my situation? Absolutely.
Did he take Gabe away so I would learn all those things? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
God, in his nature, is LOVE. Death and disease are not his plan and are never what He desires for us or puts on us.
He hurts WITH ME over Gabe and Jonah. He hurts even more than I do.
He knows every tear I've shed and has felt every emotion I've suffered.
I closed with this:
People ask, "How are you not angry with God after losing Gabe and now this with Jonah?"
My answer: I would be lying if I said there haven't been MANY moments that I've been angry at God. I would be untruthful if I said there weren't even "I hate you"s whispered in my deepest moments of sadness. But I'm so thankful that God knows the difference between words spoken out of the depths of despair versus truth.
And it all boils down to this - How can I hate or push away the One who ultimately makes all of this okay? - The One who holds Gabe and cares for him in Heaven and the One who, one day, will heal Jonah and make him totally complete.
Both of my boys are PERFECT because of God. And one day we'll all be hanging out in Heaven in perfect bodies with ETERNITY to spend together. And that's pretty wonderful when you really take the time to think about what that will be like. So no, I don't hate God. He is the One who has healed us, and the One who gives me the promise that I definitely, certainly, 100%, without a doubt WILL see Gabe again. And we'll ONLY have every day forever and ever to make up for the time we missed out on here. That's ALL we get.
I'll take it.