I lay in bed last night listening to the rain on the windows of the house. The wind blew so fiercely it felt as though it was something swiping through the air, grabbing, lifting whatever it could – then it was gone. I listened to it for a few moments. It happened two, three, times. It felt like I was having a déjà vu moment. I closed my eyes tightly trying to recenter my thoughts, away from the weather outside, then the rain hit again. When I opened my eyes, it hit me. I hit the home button on my phone and Toby’s smiling face appeared; I scanned to the date – the 23rd.
17 months ago Toby was asleep in his crib. 17 months ago this morning I could have looked at him on the monitor and he would have been right there. 17 months ago I could have walked down the hall ten steps and been standing over him. Today, if I walk 10 steps, everything’s still there – except Toby.
For the past 17 months I have honed my “selective hearing” powers. Although well intended, more often than not, a cliche phrase hurts me, more than someone saying nothing at all.
He’s in a better place.
God needed another angel.
Everything happens for a reason.
God never gives you more than you can handle.
…Yes. Yes, actually he can. He did. I was given more than I could ever possibly handle. Our son was given to us – healthy, beautiful, thriving, sweet, handsome, funny, loving – absolutely perfect. Exactly what we prayed for. Then, after 12 weeks and 5 days on this Earth, in one strong swoop, like the rain/wind last night, he was taken from our arms and given his wings.
It rained the night of August 24. I remember sitting on our living room couch, staring at the wall, listing to the rain. It was pouring. I literally could not wrap my head around what was even happening. I thought “Why would Heaven be crying? They gained the most beautiful angel this evening. They have Toby – why would they cry?”
I’ve had many different discussions with people over the last 17 months having to do with our control in life. My realization thought 17 months of grieving the death of my son – we have no control.
We can do everything possible. Reroute our days; change our schedules; plan for everything; stress over the ‘What if’s?’ It is not in our control.
Matthew 24:36 says:
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
We think that we have time. Time to get healthy. Time to take a trip. Time to move across country. Time to take a job you’d never considered.
We think that we have more time. I’ll call my parents tomorrow. I’ll apologize in a few days. I won’t say something like that next time. I will stick up for them (or myself) next time.
What if there isn’t a next time?
We are on God’s watch. Here on Earth.
During the first few weeks after Toby died I walked around in a fog. I’d replay moments in my mind and guilt would set in – What if I didn’t do enough for him? I’d literally drive myself into a paranoia. Until one day, I was so deep in grief and angry with everything and everyone. I stood in our empty house, at Toby’s crib, with my hands gripped on his bed rail – yelling anything and everything to the Heavens. “Are you listening? We are good parents and we love our boys with every breath we have.”
I sank to the floor, crying, repeating “Why did you take him! I don’t know how to do this without him! I can’t do this without my son!”
This dark day forever changed my relationship with God. No, I did not receive an answer from Him. I will not have an answer until the day I stand before his thrown, Toby in my arms. I have accepted that. I have not yet accepted His timing. I have not fully placed my trust in His Plan.
This is what I am working on.
There have been numerous times over the past few months where I’ve veered off course. My light has gone out and I’ve had to stop and re-center my thoughts. Sometimes this takes days. I deal with anger, despair, loneliness, emptiness. It is very heavy and dark. But I fight for the light.
We were having a really hard time a few weeks ago. I cried every day. I withdrew from anything that wasn’t necessary. I felt like I was sucker punched with another round of grief. I was fighting for light. I stood at our kitchen sink looking out the window. The ground was blanketed with snow. The sky was grey and I thought “This looks like my life. I never thought this would be my life – no color.” I blinked and to my amazement, right down on our fence post sat a cardinal. There it was – my light. I’ve held onto that moment for the past few weeks – it’s been my center. I am waiting patiently for the Lord. I am working to be brave and courageous.
To our sweet Toby – I hope your days in Heaven have been beautiful. For every day that passes, I am one day closer to seeing you again. You are our light and Luke is our rock. I will never have a prouder moment than being your and Luke’s mom. I love you to the moon and back, baby boy.
“Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out.”