**october 21 from 4-7pm. mark your calendars. it’s going to be good.**
we had celebrated two christmases without him here, almost two years without a son we knew we loved but had never met. but in the matter of a single phone call, everything was changing. we knew his name, we had finally seen his face. i don’t know that i can find the words to explain the emotions we had during that time. bliss? glee? whatever it was, it was an incredible time for our family as we celebrated judah’s birth into our family’s life.
but too soon into the joy came a call of a different kind…
sick. IVs. malnutrition. antibiotics. weak. shallow breathing.
we rallied the prayers of everyone we knew and i journaled this on august 12, 2010…
the tears are flowing heavily today. i know that the lord loves baby judah even more than we do. i know that god knit every precious part of him together in his birth mother’s womb (psalm 139:13) and that even the hairs of his head are numbered (matt. 10:30). the lord determined the number of judah’s days before the beginning of time and nothing outside of the lord’s will can add to them (job 14:5) — including my worry and anxiety (matt. 6:27).
but there’s still pain in the wait and the distance.
we’re asking the lord, who is the great physician and healer, to breathe his breath of life into judah’s tiny, sick lungs. we’re praying for wisdom for the doctor and nurses as they treat him as well as strength for judah to fight hard, to get well quickly, and to come home to us soon.
that very night i took this photo of our sweet two-pink-lines-surprise as she prayed for the baby brother she excitedly talked of everyday.
then august 13, 2010…
our phone rang at 8:43 this morning. my heart skipped a beat as i saw who it was on caller ID, and i grabbed the phone up and answered it quickly.
“allison, i’m so sorry to have to tell you this, but he didn’t make it.”
i heard everything our case worker said after that but it’s like i was just overhearing a conversation between other people. i wasn’t there.
“…he didn’t make it.”
our hearts feel like they’re ripping apart this morning, aching in one of those hidden places that you forget is even there until you’re tossed into a deep sea of sorrow and pain. how did we love him so much when we never met him? how do my arms feel so empty when i never held him?
i don’t know the answers to those questions, but i do know this is a depth of pain i’ve never known before. i keep looking at that precious face on our refrigerator and falling apart all over again. his tiny arms and legs, his long fingers, his big brown eyes looking straight out of the picture at me…they’ve all disappeared from our lives in the matter of a single phone call.
late that night in the quiet of a dark hotel room i sat down to write again…
judah spent this last week in a losing battle to illness and to poverty. he breathed his last shallow breath this morning and just hours later, he was placed into a small box and buried beneath the earth. we weren’t at our own son’s funeral. that thought has consumed me all day today along with a barrage of questions that i imagine will forever go unanswered.
who was at judah’s funeral? did they sing songs? did they weep with the pain we’ve wept with today? did a nurse or doctor hold him close as his life was slipping away? when was the last time he cried? or was he too weak to cry at all? does he know how much he was loved and how much he is now missed by a mommy who never even held him?
i won’t lie, there have been many times today that i’ve cried out in deep grief and unimaginable pain. but our sweet baby’s name keeps coming back to me.
judah. “to praise.”
the world seems to be crashing down around me and my heart aches at the deepest core, but all i know to do is to cling to the name we prayerfully chose for our son and to humbly act on its meaning. i feel empty tonight, but my song of prayer and praise is this:
“the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
blessed be the name of the LORD.”
to be continued…