Thursday, February 28, 2013

Our Valentines for G

I vowed from the day Gibson died we would find a way to celebrate him & include him in special days.  I've always loved Valentines.  Call it commercial or whatever you want, but a day to celebrate the ones you love?  I'm all about it! :)  So a couple days before we were writing Ryder's valentines for school and he so sweetly asked if he could make one for Baby Gibson.  I smiled, said that was sweet and made sure he understood we couldn't really send it to him.  Then I told the kids I'd think of some way to celebrate Valentines Day with him...

We decided to take them to a park and let them them release red & white balloons for Gibson.  They loved the idea.  They had all kinds of questions about heaven, travel time of balloons and the possibilities of attaching a cookie to the balloons for him as well.  ;) They asked if Gibson could see them, touch them, etc.  All to which we answer, "Well, we're not sure, but he knows you LOVE him!" 

That afternoon each of the kids colored a sweet little heart to attach.  
Paisley's was all purple of course, with a happy little sun in the middle.
When I handed Ryder his heart he said, "Can I make it a broken heart?"  A little caught off guard I said, "Well, yes I guess."  He drew the line down the middle and said, "Because I'm heartbroken about Gibson."  I don't know where he heard that, but of course it melted MY heart.
He wrote out "I LOVE YOU GIBSON" on the other side.
After Daniel came home from work we headed to a nearby park where we've taken family pictures before.  It was a beautiful crisp sunset.  I was worried it would be too emotional for my heart to handle, but like many things with kids the chaos overtakes some of the emotions!  :)  It was a very sweet time though.  

One day back in the fall while I was driving back and forth to the NICU the song 1000 Years came on the radio.  The words pierced my heart.  I pictured hearing it as I took Gibson home one day.  As the months went by I heard it periodically and it still got to me.  Then I heard it the day before Valentines and it had a whole new meaning for me.  A new meaning of how I loved him.  A new meaning of how I love Ryder & Paisley.  A new meaning of how I love Daniel.  A new meaning of how we love in general.  

Heartbeats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow
One step closer

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

Time stands still
Beauty in all it is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this
One step closer

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more
And all along I believed I would find you 
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more
One step closer

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bouncing through grief with a 4 yr old & a trampoline.

Grief is a tricky thing.

It hits at weird, strange, unexpected times.  And it leaves at times when you've completely braced yourself for impact.  When we first lost Gibson I thought it would be easier to walk through this having two little ones at home who would keep us distracted, and won't let us crawl in the covers and never come out.  They keep us moving forward, they keep us entertained and they keep us thankful.  But the more I walk it out I also realize that as a mom that means you just have more peoples' emotions you are responsible for.  More people grieving in their own weird ways and looking to you all along.

When we told the kids Gibson died we made a point to tell them we will continue to talk about him (as much as they want), we will include him in special occasions and in daily thoughts and we will remember him that way.  As HARD as that is day to day I want to choose that.  I don't want them to forget him.  But by choosing this I open myself up to a lot.  Three and four year olds don't see the beauty in a private moment.  As awkward as it is for everyone Ryder abruptly tells that his brother died or is in heaven now, it's exactly what he's supposed to be doing.  We told our family, our friends, and his teachers to expect it and respond like that's perfectly fine, because it is.  We told them to use the word died.  And to talk about heaven.  Ryder's teacher said in the weeks after Gibson's death Ryder made a point to tell all the adults at his school... That Gibson had died & his mommy was very sad.  But that made me happy in a way because he knew.  He could say it (more than many grown-ups could).  He asked me lots of questions in those first few days that I couldn't, or didn't want to answer... about death, about life, about heaven... about why.  I faced them all as best I could, glad that I had a sweet, smart 4 year old capable of asking deep questions.  And in between there were comical questions like, "Isn't it going to hurt to sleep on gold?"  We all looked quizzical for a minute and then realized someone had told him heaven was made of gold... you get the picture.
Many days now Ryder & Paisley bring up Gibson casually- very matter of fact.  And then there are days like the other day in the grocery store when Ryder, upon seeing babies all around, throws himself down in the cart and says, "I wish WE had a baby!"  At that point I wanted to crumble, abandon my full grocery cart and hit the road.  But instead I had the strength {God's grace} to keep pushing, smile and say, "We do have a baby.  He's just in heaven now.  We can still talk about him..."

The kids got this little trampoline for Christmas.  It's a small one person (or two tiny people) capacity thing, complete with poles & netting all around.  At only about 1 foot off the ground its a brilliant way to let a three & four year old get out all their energy.  In there alone they can pretty much get as crazy & rowdy as possible, jump it out and crash.  And they magically bounce back up.  Though we did wait outside for over an hour on Thanksgiving night to get it we should have done that a couple years ago!
This past week we celebrated Daniel's 30th Birthday.  And in the midst of what should be tragic grief we were able to celebrate.  {God's grace}  Sunday at church we sang a new song proclaiming, "Yes, the Lord is good and His love endures.  Yes, the Lord is good forever...."  And I just got this image of God's grace like that trampoline below us.  No matter how hard we fall somedays we somehow bounce back up.  It's ok if I WANT to let myself feel it one day and crash.  Somehow God sends someone along that day to be my trampoline of grace.  To push me back up.  Somehow, beyond expectations we're bouncing along.  Hitting highs & lows and getting right back up, uninjured, moving forward.  {God's grace}

A couple Friday afternoons ago while getting out of the car at Chickifila (of course if you've been to a CFA on a Friday for lunch you'll see the inopportune moment here!) Ryder said, "I just really wish Jesus could heal baby Gibson and then send him BACK to us, because there's so much I didn't get to teach him."  He went on to mumble something about teaching him to walk on a white line.  I think he was looking around the parking lot to think of things he'd have taught G.  I hugged him close, said I understood and felt the same.  Then he said something I hope I don't soon forget.  He said, "I'm just sad."  To which I said, "That's ok."  And then he said, "But I'm not sad all the time, just sometimes now.  Is that ok?"  I smiled (bigger inside than I could manage out) and said, "Me too buddy.  Mommy was sad all the time, but now I'm just sad sometimes.  And that's ok." {God's grace}