I went in to get our daughter up for the morning. My life changed forever. SIDS is a silent killer.
I had to will myself to breathe. And get dressed. And sign papers. And walk out of an emergency room with empty arms.
I went to bed that night with the realization that I was not going to be happy for a very long time.
My world came crashing into a thousand pieces beside a crib. Perhaps yours did too. Or maybe yours shattered when you found out about the cancer, or the affair, or the bank account, or the suicide, or the accident, or the crime.
Worlds shatter when life doesn’t turn out the way we thought it would.
Shattered worlds bring a pause to happiness.
While I can go into my faith and my God and all the ways He has brought me to where I am today – that is not the purpose of this post.
Since that day, I’ve given birth to another baby, and heard the sound of a judge’s gavel finalize two adoptions. I have homeschooled, watched soccer games, taught piano lessons, and taken vacations. I have documented firsts - teeth, steps and school. I’ve held babies during immunizations, and Christmas plays, and kissed them goodnight. I’ve taken pictures of school recitations, violin recitals, and impromptu Saturday morning coffee dates. I’ve looked through college catalogs, and kissed teenagers goodbye as they boarded planes and went on adventures. I’ve played card games, and hide and seek, and texted questions like: “What time do you think you’ll be home? Or “Can you grab a gallon of milk while you’re there?”
Oh, and I’ve laughed. From the very depths of my heart – I have laughed until I cried.
This post is for those of you who are surrounded by the shattered pieces of life wondering how – or even “if” - your life will go on. While you may doubt it now, I can assure you that happiness will come again.
Pain is part of the journey - so is happiness. The two don’t usually coexist in the same situation - but they do in the same lifetime.
Happiness and Pain. It means we are living – and loving.
In just a couple days, our son will say his vows and begin his own family. God is adding to our family another daughter on the same weekend we said goodbye to our baby. I’ll watch the bride and groom declare their love for each other and, most likely, will shed a tear (or two) during the ceremony. I’ll celebrate with cupcakes and punch and wave goodbye as they drive away into the sunset.
If it were possible to go back in time, I’d go back to this weekend twenty-one years ago. To that first long night without her. I would sit quietly beside my bed and gently rub my back as the gut wrenching sobs shook my body. Then, I would lean in close and tell my younger self: “Life is going to go on. You’re going to make it through this. You’re going to make wonderful memories with your children. You’re going to be madly in love, and have a marriage some can only dream of.” Then, I would whisper into my ear the answer to the question nagging my heart the most that night: “Yes, you will be happy again. Extremely happy.”