Turkey is in the oven, the boys are at the Townie Football Game, and my girl is getting herself ready for the day. Worship has been on all morning, and I’m choosing to praise today. Through tears, through pain, through questions, and through unwanted feelings, I will give thanks to my God. His grace has carried me through the deepest of waters and kept me from drowning. An only good God, who is holy and righteous, has joined me in the darkest of valleys and the murkiest of pits. He stays as long as I need Him, for He will never ever leave me or forsake me. In this moment, I choose to be thankful for what I do have…
It has been four weeks since I last touched your face and held your hand. In some ways, it feels like yesterday that you were here and making us all laugh so heartily, yet some days it feels like forever has passed since that awful night. There is so much that I regret about the morning of your passing. How I wish I could just go back and hold you in my arms for the last five hours we had you with us. Dad was so brave; he never left your side unless he was asked to by the doctor, and it was always only for a moment. He held your head in his palms and kissed your face; he ran his fingers through your hair, and wiped blood from your mouth. He just couldn’t leave your side. Me, on the other hand, I wasn’t so strong. I felt like if I looked at you in the condition that you were in that I was going to have a hard time standing in faith for you to live, so I purposely stayed away. I did all I could to resist that image from making itself at home in my mind. I wanted to imagine you alive and well, free from all pain, swelling, bleeding and distortion. The last thing a mother wants is for her child to be hurting, and I was determined to pray your pain away without any physical image getting in the way of that. I only went into your hospital room to pray over you and to speak life to your body, and then I would leave to pray more outside your room. The doctors had told us very early on that there was no hope and that you had sustained an unsurvivable injury. But, I could not give up – LOVE never gives up. As the night progressed, your condition only worsened. They had to resuscitate you with the defibrillator, at least, seven times. Dad told me I should join him in your room to spend some time with you. Eventually, I did. After I spent a few minutes, I knew I had to bring your brothers and your sister to see you. Somehow, I got home to tell them what had happened and got them back to the hospital within forty minutes. I’m forever grateful that they were able to come in and say goodbye to their big brother. After I took them back out into the waiting area, I went back to be with you. I held your hand and told you I how much I loved you; I wiped some blood from your mouth and stroked your hair and face. I was so hopeful for a glimpse of movement from your body, but it never came. The very last part of your body that I touched was your left foot. It was poking out of the blanket, so white and so cold. I couldn’t resist rubbing your toes and placing them back under the blanket. A few minutes after that, you were gone. I’m thankful to you for waiting until all of us could see you before you left this earth, but isn’t that just like you… Always thinking of others before yourself. Your brain might not have been working, but you were always led by your heart, anyhow. I’m sorry I didn’t stay with you the whole time. I truly wish that I had; But I promise to be more brave from here on out. Because of you, I am forever changed. I love you, Christiano, and you truly are the best earthly blessing I have ever received.
For the reader:
I don’t believe that God didn’t hear my cries for help. I believe that what I was praying for came to pass, just not in the way I would have liked. I wanted, more than anything, for my son to be alive and well, free from all pain, swelling, bleeding and distortion. I wanted him to have a new mind to replace the one that had been damaged in the accident. I do believe he received all of that and more – in heaven.
With everything, with everything we will shout forth Your praise.
Just when I think there are no tears left, out pour rivers more of them, and I thank The Lord that He pulled us through this weekend. It was by His grace, for sure. In dealing with the loss of our son, we’ve heard all sorts of things meant to prepare us for the life ahead. We’ve heard that it would be hard to perform our daily tasks and functions or that there will be some days we won’t even want to get out of bed. We were warned that it would be hard to go through Christiano’s things or to see certain pictures of him, and we were also told it would be especially difficult to get through special occasions and holidays. So far, we’ve met with each one of these things, and they’ve all brought some level of heartache. This past weekend we celebrated, our daughter, Gabriella’s fifteenth birthday. I woke up determined to take a day off from grieving, so I set some rules for myself: no crying, no talking about the passing of Christiano and no thinking about him, either. This was Gabriella’s day, and we were going to celebrate the goodness of God in her life. She had gone through enough and I desired for her to have the day off from the hurt. Now, this may come as a big shock to all of you, but my plan was a bust. The harder I worked to push him out of my mind, the more frustrated I became, and by two-o’clock, I had a mini-meltdown while mopping the kitchen floor. I was so troubled knowing that my eldest son was not going to walk through our door to wish his sister a Happy Birthday. We had never spent one single birthday without all six of us in attendance. This birthday, I wouldn’t see him outside playing football with the guys, making jokes or getting birthday cake all over his face, and I thought, ‘How am I ever going to do this?’ But, God was faithful to answer, ‘You don’t have to.’ The pressure coming down on me to ‘be strong’ wasn’t coming from God or my husband; it wasn’t coming from Gabriella or my other children, but from me, myself, and I. One thing I’ve learned is that when we put pressure on ourselves to ‘be’ anything, it’s gonna fail every time. This goes for all situations, not just grieving. Of course, we can ‘be strong,’ but not from trying or striving. We can only ever truly ‘be strong’ when it’s’ in The Lord.
It’s hard to go back and think about the memories I have of him. He was my role model – someone I looked up to and I learned everything from. Over the past weeks I have been broken like a piece of me has been ripped out, and I know it is going to take a while to heal, but it still hurts. On the inside I am scared of having to go my whole life as the (BIG BROTHER). I do not blame God because I know this was not His plan. God’s plan was for man to live forever in peace. I know that there is a war happening and the devil is just trying to take out warriors of God, and Christiano was for sure a warrior. I want to be just like my older brother because he put others before himself. God has given me two dreams about my brother because I prayed that I would have assurance that he was in a better place, and I know for sure he is in God’s hands.
‘Guard your heart, for out of it flows the issues of life.’