Working on a Dream




Thursday, January 12, 2012

Baby Anthony: 1 Year later, "The Rest of the Story" part 2.

In those 9 months, your mom and I talked a lot, and not surprising, you were the center of most of our conversations…

--We would dream together about you.
------------What were you going to look like?
---Who’s personality would you take?
-Would you come out of the womb singing Bruce Springsteen?

It is very hard to not have the answers to those questions.
They linger in my heart at all times, serving as a sweet and pungent fragrance reminding me that I will never know…

Not many people know this, but one of the hardest things that I ever had to do in my life was the day that I baptized you. As I took the water and the oil in my hands, I prayed over you, anointed you, and before I could end … I lost it. 
-I totally broke down.
I can remember speaking through my tears saying that, “I wanted to have done this in front of the church, Not here in a hospital.” A person never dreams of a situation like the one Christen and I went through.

Now I lay me down to sleep:
Another unbearable situation was the day the charity, “Now I Lay me Down to Sleep” came to the hospital to take pictures of you. It is hard to wrap your mind around discussing family pictures with your soon to be deceased son. I can remember filling out forms with questions like: “Do you have any favorite Bible verses you would like to add?”, and other types of questions like these before I flung the stack of papers across the table and rivers of tears gushed down my cheeks.

--Like I said a year ago, if you are trying to imagine what Christen and I went through.     

Advice: Now before I end, let me give you a bit of advice. Thankfully, this does not apply to most people, just a small select that are basically the most ignorant and selfish humans grazing the earth.

*If you ever run across a person that has lost a child, please never say the following:

“You’re young, you will be OK”
“The good news is that you will have more in the future”
“Start focusing on the positive”
“The loss of a child is the same as any other loss in a family”

*Yes, the above is real, and for the sake of decency I will leave off the other comments that I just could not muster up the strength to write, because they might cause you to punch through your computer screen. Truly.

The responses I give to people that say such things may strike you as harsh, but I like to tell them one of two things:

1) I have seen how you live your life. You are the most fragile human I know. A crumbled up piece of paper has more stability in a windstorm than you do on a good day. Your whole world is ruined when you break your nail. If what happened to Christen and I happened to you…you would have a permanent residency on the 5th floor.
-Now go home and continue watching your soap operas.

2) Go to your house. Now go to your tool shed. Find a saw. Cut off your limbs. Now get over losing those.
-Have a nice day.

-I digress.

Honestly, there are things in life that are meant getting over and then there are things that are not. Getting over your favorite football team losing in the playoffs and not getting what you wanted for Christmas are things you get over. Losing a living, breathing person isn’t. It is something you carry with you. Inside of you, till the day you die.

I am not sure what to say about my faith.
I can say with certainty that it is a lot more difficult to pray. Not that I am mad at God or holding some type of holy grudge. I am not. It is just something inside of me seems to have died with Anthony. I think it is the childlike element that has passed away for me. The thrill of it all has faded. On the other hand, I know without a doubt that without the Lord’s help, my wife and I would have been totally leveled to a pile of ashes.
At the end of it all, God is still good. And like David, I await a reunion with my son…it will just not be here in this life.

A year ago I wrote a poem about how little Anthony will always be a mystery to me .
-I can’t believe how right I was.
One year has passed and I just cannot help but be filled with wonder.
I constantly think about how our lives would be entirely different now and how it seems that Christen and I were robbed of the most precious gift any person could ever imagine.
I don’t know if this is strange or not, but every once in a while I find myself envying parents with their kids … especially dads with their sons.

----------------Anthony, I am sorry I will never know you like they know their kids.

Usually it is pretty easy for me to end something when I write. But tonight it is not.

I feel like when I close out this letter, I am shutting some kind of imaginary door of memories…like somehow as time passes the memories of those 9 days will somehow get a little foggier, a little harder to recall.

Please God, I beg You that does not happen.


Greta said...

Anthony and Christen, my heart goes out to you still today. I prayed and cried last year with you. Still doing the same yesterday and today as I read your blog. The pain never ends,the missing your child never ceases. But,God does help us through. Their are so many ignorant people in this world when it comes to losing a child. You are right,they would end up on the 5th floor. We were lucky enough to be given a blessing of having something someone else didn't have. Even though the pain is so unbearable at times,we know we will see them again. You & your family are in my prayers

Michele said...

I've been on this journey years... My oldests, Nick and Sophie, would be 4 in February... 4 years since they were born, 4 years since they were born into eternal life.

It doesnt dim. Life moves forward. We are swept along with it. But the life that was- the life we lived in those few moments with our children- that life remains forever embedded in our hearts and minds.

Ann Mullen said...

That mystery that is Anthony is your child-like awe of the mystery of God. You may be heavy-hearted, but all of His children go through that often. And yet, Jesus says that unless we have the faith of a little children we cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven. As you go through this anniversary, see if you can reconnect with that again. It takes time. It took me many years after the suicide of my 25 year old son, but I found it again and you will, too.--Annie

Christi Johnson said...

I read this and was reduced to ABSOLUTE TEARS.

Before I really respond, let me just say that I want to punch insensitive people in the teeth FOR you, brother. I got so unbelievably angry, but...I guess that's not really Christian, so I will also say that I will pray for them to recognize that they do no good to anyone, to the Body of Christ, or to themselves by heaping up all sorts of thoughtless things that they will surely reap one day in time. that I got that out...

This post was a heart-wrenching, soul-tearing kind of way. I am saved and I love the Lord with all that I am, but I take great pains to NOT think about the possibility of life that my own husband and I were not permitted to experience. We married going on 6 years ago, and we are recently unable to conceive ever again because I ended up in the emergency room last April 10th and by April 14th I was under the knife with an emergency hysterectomy. The costs to pay someone to be a gestational carrier are insane, so it seems like our hope of being parents again (Dexter has no children biologically, though I do have one) are effectively shattered.

I continually wrestle with how to go to God in prayer about this because it won't change. People don't spontaneously grow wombs, right? As a woman, the loss is a death.

Thank you for your raw honesty. I am quite terrified right now to even go to the Lord about how I really feel about this. I think I have been in shock, but reading this reminded me that the Lord actually is mindful. He has held me together when I feel utterly lost and like a complete failure. I won't end with a campy statement, but I will say that I can't wait to read what you write next. Thank you...your writing itself is a blessing....