Thursday, August 18, 2011

Approaching a Year

It seems like so many of my thoughts are consumed with Aaron lately, especially as his one year earthly and heavenly birthdays are fast approaching. I find myself longing to remember every detail of those days...every detail of him, and still wanting answers to calm the lingering questions in my heart about his last moments here. 

I sat down this evening and flipped through last years calendar, looking at year ago, wanting to remember the specific details of this time last year.  We started the day with a non-stress test and OB appointment at University Hospital, a regimen that had become the all-too-familiar twice weekly routine. I wasn't admitted to labor and delivery for observation that day, so Aaron must have tumbled around enough to make the nurses happy and allow me to go about my normal day of work. Flipping to the next week, my calendar is filled with typical doctors appointments and work patients, all scheduled along with a NICU tour, Labor and Delivery Tour, and meeting with neonatologists. Each Friday counting down to Aaron's due date is neatly circled and numbered in happy, yet anxious anticipation. 

This time last year, I remember thinking that in just a month or so, our son would make his arrival into this world.  We planned what little we could, but memories of the stillness of that ultrasound room filled with our tears only two months earlier always lingered in the forefront of my mind as a reminder that our best laid plans are often futile...we are not in control.

Those appointments that filled our calendars and days would never actually happen. During the time that we planned to spend anxiously awaiting Aaron's arrival, we would actually welcome him into the world, place him in the arms of surgeons, watch him slip from this life into eternity and plan his memorial service. In a small, private room of the CICU, I held him for the first time after the doctors let him go and in a quiet room of the funeral home, I held him for he last time. My heart knew that it was merely the shell of our sweet little guy, but how do you hand over your child when you know that it is the last time you will see him, most likely, in a very long time?  The next several weeks in the calendar are blank as is my memory of much of that time.  It still feels surreal.

Here I sit, almost a year later and on some days I am still in disbelief that our son was here...that he cried in the OR, that I got to peer into his eyes just once, and that we had him here with us for three whole days. On other days I struggle against the traumatic memories of the night we said goodbye.  Images I can't get rid of...nurses performing chest compressions, Aaron's blood covering the floor around his isolet, 'those words' spoken by our surgeon and the heartbreak and disbelief that this was our reality.  Mostly though, are the days that God lifts the burden of grief from my still broken heart. Over the past year, I have run the spectrum of clinging to Him with every fiber of my being to pushing away in anger, frustration and emotions too confusing for words. Yet He still extends His grace and love, compassion and guidance to, who comes before Him with a heart that is understanding yet questioning, loving yet angry, soft yet calloused and bruised, healing but still broken. 

He reminds me that through suffering grows an enduring hope, a steadfast heart and a reliance on Him that I had never before known. I revel in the moments when His love and presence wash over me and quiet my aching heart, and once again, for awhile anyway, I am comforted that Aaron is healed and Aaron is home. 

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