Morning came again as usual. The sun rose in the east as always and slowly pushed back the earthly veil of darkness that had encompassed our own black night. It's funny how the sun continued to repeat its cycle of rising and setting even when our own personal world had been knocked completely off kilter. The sky should have no longer been blue, people should not have continued doing their business as usual, and the sun should definitely not have risen in the east, nor shone brightly all day. The whole world, including nature itself, should have known my heart was once again shredded, and therefore should have responded accordingly; but it didn't.
Grief is an intensely personal experience. It may be shared by others
to a degree, but no one can feel the pain in your own heart except you.
But just as the sun continued on its path marking time, so life had to go
on. There were places to go, and things to do.
Telling Michael that his baby brother was now dead would be job number
one. I don't remember exactly what we said to him, but I know we kept it
simple. A 3 year old has limited abilities to understand such complex
concepts as death and heaven. I certainly wanted to be sure he wouldn't be
afraid. I wanted him to know he was safe, and that what had happened to
his brother, would not happen to him. He did not appear to be bothered by
the fact that his brother was gone, nor was he ruffled by anything we told him,
but simply accepted it for what it was. Maybe he wondered about it a
little, but to a 3 year old, there was too much life to be lived, and too many
toys to be played with to worry about this other stuff.
In an effort to further protect Michael, we chose not to have him attend the
viewings and the funeral. We felt that having him see us and others he
was close to crying and upset, would be hard to
understand and possibly harmful for him. Looking back, I would
change that decision. I would have put him right in the midst of it with
us; allowing him to see the grief and tears, and allowing him to see and touch
his dead brother, and to be real with what we were feeling. Death was the
reality we were handed; it is a part of living and we cannot avoid it. I
believe he would have been okay. He may have asked questions, but asking
questions helps to remove the unknown, and helps to lessen our fears. It's how
we learn about life.
As we told Michael of the loss of his brother, and how Matthew was now
in heaven with Jesus and his sister, the underlying thunders of fear and doubt
reverberated throughout my mind. I had no guarantees that something
wouldn't happen to Michael. He was just as susceptible as anyone to be
hurt or killed in a car accident, or to die from some unexpected disease or
I felt extremely exposed; my safety net of trust, threadbare. Babies should
definitely not die, but since mine did, it only heightened my realization that
everyone I loved was vulnerable to a premature death. The life I had
planned for, the one I believed God would bless me with, had taken a horrible,
blind-sided, turn for the worst. He didn't save my babies lives; He let
them die. Therefore, I couldn't trust Him with Michael's life; I would
have to protect him myself. My developing mistrust of God brought along
an accomplice- overwhelming fear. If God cannot be trusted, then nothing
and no one is safe, and we are all little pawns waiting for the next big
unexpected slap from His indiscriminate hand. In my head I believed in His
faithfulness and goodness, but my heart continued to build a wall of lies that
would eventually imprison me, and ultimately send me crashing onto the rocks
of despair and depression. Subconsciously, my love affair with my heavenly
Father was shattered; I no longer saw Him as my friend.