As it approaches the first anniversary of Theodore’s death and birth (in that order), a kind of protective numbness seems to be sweeping over me again. A surreal feeling of “did this really happen?” and “is it really me that this happened to?”
The reality is there, however. I see it in so many ways.
- The knowledge that my son would be coming up on eight months if only he had lived and been born in December, not August.
- The keen awareness that his birthday is not in the right month.
- A frustration with those who appear to take their healthy and alive children for granted.
- A knowledge that death really can happen at any time, and no one is immune.
- The realisation that my husband and I are “bereaved parents” – a label that is at once a comfort (parents) and a heartache (bereaved).
Recently, friends have had the shock of having their little boy diagnosed with leukaemia. They have begun a blog (edwardisham.com) as a way of responding to this huge and hard life event. Within their writings, I see reflected some of my own journey since Theodore’s death.
- The time in the hospital and the specialist appointments (though they have far more than I did).
- The realisation that life seems more fragile now.
- Taking time to adjust to a new label: cancer parents.
- The knowledge that as hard as it is, that does not mean it is unfair.
- And, above all, the belief that God will hold and sustain them through this, that he is faithful.
Seeing the response toward the Isham family is such a blessing. It is beautiful to watch and be a part of, and it reminds me of how much support Julian and I have been given over the past eleven months. To see and hear the prayers for them, and the words of hope and encouragement, makes me wonder, ‘is this what people also did for me and my husband?’ It thrills me to see it happening, to see people caring and loving and praying and practically supporting.
I have been reminded of how much each word and each hug or hand squeeze meant to me. I know how needed those things are, and I am so glad to see them happening.
They are not the same situations. Tiny Theodore was stillborn. Little Ned has leukaemia, but there is a great deal of hope and expectation that with the treatment and care he is now receiving, he will go on to live a full life.
Whatever happens, we make it through and we lean on God, and we have hope that he will bring beauty from the ashes of these hard times.
He is faithful, and he is trustworthy.