I was speaking with my friend the other day. Often she will ask me questions about our children that have passed. I love these types of conversations as I find them quite therapeutic. I think it is a parent’s greatest fear that their child will be forgotten, not only by others but even by ourselves.
Each time I reminisce, it’s as if I’m able to watch a movie in my mind’s eye and step back in time.
And I’m there again.
Somehow we got on the discussion about would I want them to come back.
Years ago, I would have had a very different answer as it would have been more about what I wanted. Now, I feel differently.
As I closed my eyes and stepped back into those last moments that our son Elijah was here, my heart sank. Seeing his tiny little body on such a large bed, while doctors and nurses frantically rushed around trying to save him. Watching the numbers on the machines rapidly decline while we helplessly stood there not knowing what to do.
I found myself wondering what he experienced in those moments. While we were listening to the machines beeping incessantly as we sobbed, he was listening to the songs of angels.
I often think of Jesus calling his name so peacefully, “Elijah. Elijah Praise. It’s time to come home.”
I imagine the pain leaving his body and the feeling of wholeness overwhelming his soul. I can only imagine Jesus picking him up with a jovial laugh and bringing him into a world he has never seen! To be surrounded by light so bright and color so vibrant that his eyes are wide with wonder!
Our family and friends who had gone on before him surround him with laughter as they pass him around for hugs and kisses. Then a hush falls over the crowd and everyone steps back. In comes our daughter Aurora with our other two that we never got to meet.
She steps forward in her white eyelet dress, bare feet, and cascading waves of blond hair down her cherub cheeks. “My brother!! We have been waiting for you!” Falling into a deep embrace and laughter, they snuggle together so tightly.
I was so deep in thought that my friend patiently called me back into reality, “Kelly. Kelly…”
“Oh yes, I’m so sorry. My answer would be no. I wouldn’t want him to have to come back into all that pain. It would be for my own desires that I would want him here.”
We sat in silence.
I never thought I would answer that question that way. My heart’s desire has always been to have more time here. Yet the more I learn about G-d and heaven, the more my heart has shifted to wait patiently till I get to go to them.
I often think of the scene in the movie, “The Shack” where the father gets to see his daughter in heaven. As he’s watching his daughter laugh and play around in the green meadow, he stands there lovingly gazing at his daughter. This is the turning point where he can finally be at peace to know she is more than okay.
How could I ever wish my children away from our final destination?
We have had the honor since then to walk beside so many wonderful people who have had to walk the hard road of child loss. Our society wants to convince us that since we didn’t have tangible time with them that it somehow should make it less painful.
Yet, we serve a loving Father who calls us His children.
He too understands the pain of losing His children on a daily basis. He created us to grieve as He grieves. He instilled the bond of a child being woven in the mother’s womb. That connection is not only endless, but it is also sacred.
If you speak to most parents who have lost a child, you will find that it isn’t only the heartache of the loss. It’s also the fear of losing that connection and that somehow they will be forgotten.
The way I feel about my children that I can hold on a daily basis is the way I still feel about the ones in Heaven. Like a mother who has left her kids with the babysitter and checks on them throughout the night, is like a mother who has lost her child. You never stop thinking about them. You never stop wondering what they are doing. You never stop wanting to hold them close.
We are called to be people of remembrance. We are also called to protect and cherish those that cannot speak. These little seeds whether they take root here on earth or in heaven have been divinely created for such a time as this.
Let us choose to look at remembrance as a blessing and not a curse. It is only in the deepest of pain that we realize how deeply we have loved.