Monday, March 14, 2011
It's interesting how the Lord tenderly prepares you for tragedy in your life. Of course, this you only see in hindsight.
After publishing a few articles on the Power of Moms website last fall, I heard about their Learning Circles. After doing a bit of research, I thought it would be fabulous to start a group in my area. I started gathering a list of women I thought would be interested in reading and discussing an article a month on how to be better Women and Mothers. As I began compiling the list, I was amazed how guided I felt. I would add a name or two and would feel uneasy and than after mixing it up a bit, I felt peace. I wasn't expecting this. This was a discussion group, for goodness sakes! And yet, when the list was finalized, I was not surprised to find that nearly every one of them was not only interested but ecstatic! Some even considered it an answer to prayer. What a win/win.
So January came. We decided to meet for the first time Tuesday, January 18th. The article for the month - "Defying Gravity." Everyone came at 7 for appetizers/dessert and talking time and then we moved onto the article discussion at about 7:45. I was happily surprised how well everyone mixed and mingled. Like they had always been friends. God's hand was in this Learning Circle. I knew it.
By the time we got to the article discussion, friendships were budding and trust was building and so others felt comfortable sharing their "gravity defying" life experiences. The discussion was incredible. It lifted my soul and encouraged me to step outside my box, dream big, believe in God and myself and soar. We all committed to having a gravity defying experience in the next month that we would report on in February. We left stoked and ready to take on ANY challenge that came our way. We. Were. Invincible.
Friday night, three days later, I put my Bennett to bed after having a Family Game Night. We walked up the stairs cuddling as we sang his "Bennett Song" (sung to the tune "The Farmer in the Dell").
I love you, Bennett Boy
You are my Pride and Joy
I love you, Little Bennett
I love my Bennett Boy!
That week, he had just started singing the last word of each phrase with me (Boy, Joy, Boy). He was so proud of himself.
After laying him down on his little boppy, smothering him with kisses and pulling up his blanket to his chin, he rested his sweet, small hands atop the fuzzy blankie. Then - as always - he waved his little hand while saying"nigh nigh. nigh nigh." This continued as he visually followed me out of the room and even after I closed the door in the hallway. His little voice warmed my heart and I remember thinking that Heaven must be like this moment.
The next morning we learned that Bennett had peacefully passed away during the night in his sleep.
That Saturday, I experienced the most gravity inducing moment of my life. It felt as if my entire world was crashing down on me. I couldn't believe this was happening to us. Not Bennett! Not OUR baby! How could I live with this pain I was feeling? How could I breathe? How was I to tell his remaining three siblings that Bennett wouldn't be coming back? I didn't know you could hurt this much and still be alive.
And yet, I was. And now, I am.
I have learned much about Defying Gravity the last 8 weeks. I have learned that Defying Gravity can mean something different each day. Sometimes that means getting out of bed and taking a shower. Other days, it may be picking out a headstone for your child. On better days, it may be having a good cry with a friend over lunch or laughing with your sister until your sides hurt. And - most often - it probably is playing cars with my 3 year old, since he lost his best friend and playmate. To do lists fall by the wayside. Projects become secondary. And mealtimes may consist of cold cereal and fruit (for those who don't know me, I am a foodie that typically LOVES experimenting in the kitchen but that is currently on the backburner). But that's okay. Our reality has been redefined and everyday is full of "firsts." And so - for a time - Life may have to wait while we. just. breathe.
Last friday evening, I had a full circle moment. Heather - one of my dearest friends and a member of our Learning Circle - was in a Broadway concert at a nearby concert hall. After our January challenge, she decided to do something that was hard for her. One of those things was trying out for a solo with the performing group she is a part of. A few weeks ago, she learned that she was given the "Defying Gravity" solo. How ironic is that? So Friday evening, I went with my sister to watch my friend experience her own "Defying Gravity" moment. It. Was. Magical.
Today, I'm going to have another Defying Gravity moment. I'm taking my 3 year old on a full grocery shopping trip for the first time since Bennett's death. And we are going to choose the grocery cart with the 2-kid car on the front. We haven't used that cart in more than 8 weeks but we are going to use it today. Yes, I will notice that it is 1/2 empty and Yes, it will bring back tender memories of the last time I went grocery shopping with my two boys. But we are doing it. We are doing it. And in doing hard things, I am becoming stronger and stronger every day. I will never "get over" Bennett. You never outgrow your love or need for your children. But we will go forward. We will. And in going forward, we will honor Bennett and our quest to be a "happy eternal family." We WILL laugh. We WILL live. We WILL love. And we WILL do hard things.
And - in doing so - we WILL Defy Gravity.