As March looms near, the dismal days of winter linger, and the scent of spring lurks, heightening my awareness that the boxes labeled grief, heartache, and unbearable pain will open back up bringing me to the time, place, and familiar smells of the day(s) I wish could’ve been lived differently. My life now looks quite a bit different than it did seven years ago, but tears still spill out & my heart still aches for the longing of the little boy who forever changed my life.
My eyes see a brave, smart, young man named Owen & a beautiful, witty, little girl named Annika playing hide & go seek together. As I watch, my heart remembers another little boy who will forever be two and a half. This little boy first captured my heart & proudly called me Mama for the very first time. His voice, his singing and love for books, monster trucks, trains, firetrucks, Diego, Dora, blanky & doggie are memories I long to be crisp & vivid but sadly have faded with time. My Braden, born with a special heart, lived a short yet purposeful life. My life has never been the same for knowing, loving & sadly losing him.
March is often the month where winter’s door is closing & the birds start to sing spring to life. For us midwesterners, it’s a time we long for as we get the itch to welcome longer, warmer days & evenings outside; we thirst for the activities we can finally participate in without bitter temps and snow-covered ground. For others, like me, it reminds me of foggy, empty days, numbness, a heavy chest, and a lingering feeling of hopelessness. There’s something about the smell of March that I wish for January’s frost to diminish or April’s sunshine to dry up. I can almost feel myself holding my breath until it’s all over. Hello March, I can no longer hide behind winter; I have to come out & face once again another painful reminder that this loss is real. No matter how brave or strong one can be, there will be days that can overwhelm us right to the core.
Psalm 30:5 say, “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” I take comfort in knowing that as much as I wrestle with the darkness of March, light always overcomes darkness. I am reminded of the beautiful sunrise on the early morning of March 17th. Rich & I were at his parent’s house; we just couldn’t go home to an empty house after leaving the hospital without our B. I was numb to life, but there was a sense of peace & comfort in that sunrise. It was God’s beautiful creation that symbolized Braden’s safe homecoming. In the days, months & years to follow, the significance of that sunrise would resurface reminding me of Braden’s purposeful life. Although my arms do not hold him now, there will come a time when eternal life will allow us to never part. The sunrise reminds me to look at the light in my life, not just the darkness. It reminds me how precious life is, so look at it through the eyes of love & gratitude; find the joy & embrace the sunshine. Dear March, although I loathe you, I am choosing to forge ahead knowing you are apart of the journey, you no longer control it. I choose life. I choose joy. I choose hope. I choose love. I choose faith.