There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I wonder...

Mark's birthday is coming up and I have been more than a little preoccupied thinking about it. Less than a month away...our little man would have been 3.

I wonder what kind of birthday party we would have had for him...I wonder what kind of toys we would have bought him. I keep seeing the cutest shoes and clothes that would have looked so handsome on him. He was so young while we had him here, but there were so many things that we had already "planned" on him doing as he grew. So many things that we noticed on other boys or in the store that we mentally pictured Mark doing those things or looking that way. I think about what he would be learning about Jesus in Sunday School and at home and all of the little projects of his that I don't have on my refrigerator. I keep reminding myself that he knows more about God that we do now and I find that comforting.

I wonder how much he would be talking these days...I loved the way he said "Momma", especially when we wanted him to say "Daddy". It was a big game to him and it was so funny. He was trying so hard to say his sisters' names and we knew what he was saying...even though it didn't sound much like their actual names. One of his favorite words was "cheese" because he absolutely LOVED the sliced, American cheese. He would eat three in a row if we let him. And, sometimes we did because he enjoyed it so much! But, for the most part, he didn't talk much because he had three older sisters that spoke for him...he just had to point and he got what he wanted. Oh, how we spoiled him.

He would probably be in a big boy bed his tractor room. His Daddy chose the tractor border for his room before he was born and it is so cute. We also painted the room blue...there was no doubt that we wanted that color after so many "girly" rooms.

I wonder how much fun he would be having this week at VBS at church. I see all of his little friends playing and laughing and I picture him there with them...running in the grass, eating snacks, playing on the playground.

How have I changed for the better? How has anyone who knows us changed? I want to know that God is working through our us, in our family and friends...even in people who may not know us well.

Most days, I don't feel like any good has come from this awful accident. The world didn't change, we don't have our son with us anymore and it just stinks! I suppose that more time needs to pass to discover some of God's plan for all of this.

I am trying hard to focus on the girls and how much joy they bring to our lives. Every day is a blessing with them and they are a constant reminder of how good life can be. It has never been a struggle to feel thankful to God for all of the goodness that He brings to my life until now. Now, I know that the blessings and goodness are no less real or "good" than they were before...they just have to compete for a place in my heart amidst the pain these days.

I long for Heaven and it seems so far away...but, then again, we just never know.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You are My Sunshine

Here is my "sunshine" standing in the sunshine.

This picture was taken on Easter of last year. I will let you all know that I have so many more recent pictures of Mark...especially from last summer, but they are so hard to look at that I can't bring myself to post them quite yet.

"You are My Sunshine", is a song that I have been singing to my children from the time that they were born...most especially when they were very small and I rocked them. Macy still likes for me to sing it to her almost every night, although, I have a difficult time getting through it without crying.

As Mark grew to be a toddler, he didn't want to be rocked to sleep much, even though I tried almost every night. I just loved the cuddle time and I knew how fast they grow up. I was still singing this song to him last year, on the rare occasion that he would let me rock him.

Almost every song has a different meaning after someone you love has died. I used to love this song because it told my children how important they are to me. Now, while that is still true, the words mean more than they ever did.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,
You make me happy when skies are gray.
You'll never know dear, how much I love you,
Please don't take my sunshine away.

The other night, dear, while I lay sleeping,
I dreamed I held you in my arms.
When I awoke, dear, I was mistaken,
And I hung my head and cried.

Every night, when I dream about Mark and about holding him in my arms...I miss him.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The wonderful outdoors

I absolutely love this picture of Mark. Not only is he wearing the cutest plaid shorts, (which I could write a whole post about), but it captures his adorable, spunky personality in one shot. He isn't crying...he is yelling in his "Tarzan-like" roar.

It just doesn't seem at all possible that he isn't outside playing right now. He loved to be outside.

One activity that he particularly enjoyed was watering the garden...and my flowers...well, and his sisters! No really, he did love the water hose. He could sense that the water hose was on from a mile away and he would run and grab it out of my hands so that he could be mommy's big helper.

I have missed him most especially these past couple of weeks as I have been watering the garden and thinking how he should be here helping me. I am lonely as I think about him standing there so patiently watering every single plant. There was something so special about having a son.

My daughters are each unique and perfect in their own way and nothing will ever change that. I love everything about them. But, there was something different about having a little boy. He was a mommy's boy and I loved every second of it.

When he was a baby, people would ask us all of the time if it was "different" having a son after all of those daughters. It really wasn't. He was quite the same as our other children were as babies. But, when he became a toddler, everything changed. You know, he started "driving" every toy car and tractor in the house, he would knock his sisters block towers down just to irritate them, and he even found a ball point pen once and wrote all over the couch! (I now regret being able to wash most of that out. I wish I had left it just the way it was so that I could look at it now.)

He was boyish. And like I said before...he was mommy's boy. Don't tell my husband though...he thinks that Mark was a daddy's boy. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Mark was almost permanently attached to my husband's hip. Well, I guess he was just that loving of a son. We miss him so much.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

such a blessing

I want to thank everyone who has left such loving comments on the blog, my email and on facebook. I didn't really know what to expect from this new experience, but I am thankful to have such wonderful friends and family and I am happy to meet new people who are so caring. You are all such a blessing to me .

I was so unaware of this entire "blogging" world. I knew that it existed, but I just hadn't looked into it much. And then Mark died...and well, I started to search. Search for anything and anyone that could identify with what I was going through. I have found so many people sharing all of the pain and heartache that they are experiencing in their lives and it saddens me at the same time that it comforts me to know that I am not the only one feeling this way. As far as starting my own blog...I never thought that I would, but now that I have, I do hope that it helps in some of the healing.

I'll apologize now if my thoughts ever seem scattered in any of my posts...sometimes there is just so much in my mind, I may not make it all flow together smoothly.

As I get better at all of this and figure out how to put more things on my page, I will post links to some of the wonderful blogs that have been so helpful to me in the past couple of months. Women who have such strong faith in God and His goodness and families who have suffered much and come through it all with joy after such sorrow. I am encouraged by all of these inspiring stories because, even though I cannot see the end of this grief...apparently, it is there, somewhere. Surely, it will take a long time to get through this, not over it...that will never happen. Still, to think that there might be a day when I don't hurt every moment is something to look forward to.

But, enough about on to other things.

I will share with you that this morning started out like all other mornings, except that my husband took off today, which makes us all very happy! Anyway, the girls woke up very pleasant and happy and we all ate breakfast and got ready for the day. I needed to run a couple of errands in town and so I left my husband and the girls at home and started off. The first thing that usually saddens me on an "outing" are all of the songs that are on our K-Love Christian radio station. I mean, every other song makes me cry...really. Most of the time, I just try to keep it together because the girls don't like seeing me upset, but when I am by myself, well, I can't help it. Fortunately, today they didn't play any of the songs that really get to me, but no matter what song it means something completely different than it did nine months ago. I can picture my own situation in each one.

Since I had to drive to a different town, I passed the cemetery where Mark's body is buried. Today, I blew him a kiss and tried to remember that he is in Heaven and not there. But, I loved every part of his sweet little self. That is what I cuddled, that is what I kissed and hugged, that is what I rocked to sleep at night and dressed in the most adorable clothes. It is hard to separate his little soul and his little body in my mind. They are supposed to go together. So, I haven't yet resolved that issue in my mind. I do usually stop, but I decided not to today. I don't find that it helps in any way. Our girls like to go, but for me and my husband, it is just too hard. It is so unnatural and wrong to see his precious name on the grave marker. It brings back all of the visions of him in the casket and the memorial service. Images that are hard enough to get out of my head on a normal day, but even harder when we are there.

So, I went on through my first errand, and then I needed to stop at the wonderful Hobby Lobby. What a great store. I try not to go in too often since I am always tempted to buy something, but I needed a couple of things for a graduation gift. Anyway, as it so happened, there was a precious toddler boy crying and crying as his mother carried him through the store. I literally froze. It happens almost every time I see a toddler boy or hear one. My mind flooded with memories of Mark and how he sounded when he cried and talked...and it hurt. I mean, it HURT. My body physically hurt and ached to have Mark back with me.

It is also quite amazing that I can "see" Mark in almost any little boy that I look at. For each child being so unique and special, they all look so much the same too...precious. Most of the time, I have to just look away so that I can finish whatever task it is that I am out to do in the first place. Otherwise, my grief is overwhelming.

I made it home without any further incident. As I pulled up to the house and saw my husband and daughters playing in the backyard, I reminded myself to be thankful for all that God has given me. It has taken some time to even consider being thankful for anything and most of the time, I really don't feel thankful about anything...I don't take for granted what wonderful blessings I still have on this earth, but they are grossly overshadowed right now by sorrow. Grief can make all of the usually special things in life seem so insignificant and it really takes work to see the value in life. I know that if you have experienced this kind of pain, you know what I am talking about. For those of you who haven't...well...I'm glad.

Speaking of that, I wonder how many of us really HAVE experienced such pain. I know that I hadn't until now. My life has certainly had some ups and downs that are of great significance, but nothing like this. I didn't know what it was like to hurt this much. Even if I tried as hard as I could, nothing that I could ever imagine even came close to what it is really like. But, now I know. I have an entirely new perspective on life and an entirely new way at looking at people. People that are hateful...people that commit awful crimes...people that just do things that cause other people pain. I can see how easily someone can become that kind of person. Believe me, I am not in any way excusing people who do awful things and I am definately not saying that I would ever commit a crime or ever try and cause anyone harm. What I am saying is that those people have probably lived through some awful pain. That is when life becomes blurred and you have to choose to take the path of healing or take the path of destruction. Something has to be done with all of the emotions inside and it is not hard to decide to transfer that hurt on someone else. Sometimes, you just can't help it. There were days right after Mark died that my mind drifted to places that scared me. Just thinking thoughts that weren't rational. I guess that it still happens sometimes, but not to the degree that some people take it. My prayer is that I am not hurting others in my despair. My prayer is for complete healing. I just wish it was instant.

Wow, I hope that came across like I meant for it to.

The picture below was taken about two months before Mark's accident. It was always so difficult to get all four of the kids looking at the camera at the same time...much less smiling at the same time. So, this picture is special to me...and the look on Mark's face is just too sweet for words. Which makes it even harder for me to look reminds me that I don't have him anymore. In fact, I am far from being comforted by all of the hundreds of pictures that we have of him, unfortunately. I can't stand it that I can't kiss that sweet face of his anymore. I hope that one day I will be able too look at all of the pictures and smile as I remember all of the memories that we made with him. For now, I can't.

I haven't mentioned yet how terribly Mark's big sisters miss him. Their world has been shattered too and I don't know how to pick up the pieces. They are so heartbroken and they just don't understand why something so terrible would happen to their baby brother. I am trying to be "well" so that they will know that we will all be okay. There are times that I'm not so sure. Truly, in my heart, I know that God will never leave us and that all things work for the good of those who love Him. We do love HIM. So, even when I don't feel like we are going to make it through, I hope that I can remember that I KNOW that we will.

Every waking moment of the day...I miss Mark.