sleeping

You were wanted and loved before we felt your presence. You had a Father in heaven who looked after you, cared for you, knew you. Every part, every eyelash, every strand of DNA – decided. Written down in the most beautiful book. (Psalms 139:15, 16) You were never alone in those days before we knew you.

And when we did! The parties we had. The excitement we felt. The joy we knew was ours. The fear, the elation, the responsibility – all precious gifts we took very seriously. No shortcuts allowed. No cheating. You became the center of our universe and we did everything possible to ensure your safe arrival.

When we heard your heart beating, ours raced. When we saw you for the first time, we said you were the most beautiful jelly bean we had ever clapped eyes on. You made us giddy. You gave us hope. You made us grow up while simultaneously keeping us youthfully optimistic. We gave you silly nicknames while we waited to bestow the name for which people would call you in earnest. Some people told us you were a girl. Some said a boy. We didn’t care if you were either. We were just happy you were ours.

We were nervous on the day we expected to see your face and find out which you actually were. A boy! And what a handsome profile you had. Such a sweet little face. Now we could make definite plans. We saw our future on that screen and in those pictures. We joked you would one day play in a band with your friends, just like your dad, your papaw, and your great-grandfather who conducted orchestras. We wondered if those little hands would play guitar or bass or keyboards or maybe even something else, like a violin. We were so deliriously excited. Just a few months left.

Just a few months.

Just a month.

Just a few weeks.

Just a moment.

You came unexpectedly. You came too soon.

Why?

No one knew.

But there you were, sleeping out of reach in an incubator. You were so beautiful. You took our breath away, and you made our hearts swell at the same time you broke them. Because you were so tiny, so helpless, we knew hope was a dangerous thing to possess at such a time it could so easily be snatched away. Still, we clung to it. We prayed for it. So many did, for you. And they didn’t even know you.

But we did. We would sit there beside you and cover your precious form with our hands. When you were distressed, we would touch you and talk to you, and you would grow calm. It was magic. To me, you looked like your dad. In fact, sometimes when he is sleeping beside me, and his head is tilted a certain way, I see you. I yearned for the day it was safe to hold and feed you, to kiss your tiny head. I didn’t know I could love someone the way I loved you.

The plans we made for you changed in an instant. The moment you arrived, we made different, more serious plans. How we would take turns at the hospital, who would volunteer to help us, how we would get through the next several months until you could come home. We became parents in that moment, ready to sacrifice anything and everything for your welfare. And we were glad to do it. We couldn’t think of anything we wanted more.

But in the middle of the second night, everything changed again.

There would be no plans. There would be no hospital stays. There would be nothing.

You weren’t going to make it.

It was too much, and you were too little.

We held you for two hours in a quiet, private room. It felt like two lifetimes. We whispered promises, reassurances, prayers, and songs. Even though you never saw us, you knew our voices. We told you how much we loved you over and over and over again. We kissed your tiny head, and we touched your tiny fingers, and we told you we would never, ever forget you. The memory of you is forever imprinted in our minds, so when we see you again, we will know without a doubt that it is, in fact, you.

I was the one holding you when you finally fell asleep. When you were gone, we were gone too.

There were more people at your funeral than there were at our wedding. Over 300 people came to a funeral for a person they had never even met. You were so loved, and so very missed.

When it was time to bury you, my heart went with you. Never will I forget the image of your tiny casket. I didn’t even known they made caskets that small. I hated that there was even a need. I hated that I had to say goodbye, when I had just got to say hello.

It was a bright and sunny summer day. The sky was blue with white, puffy clouds. The grass was radiant green from the rainiest spring on record. And on that day, I saw us in the future. You, a healthy toddler running through the grass, your dad chasing you. Me, thanking God for bringing you back and for bringing back my heart. Together, reunited, in a world where nobody will ever die again. (Revelation 21:3, 4)

It has been two years since those days we said hello and goodbye. I am not the person I thought I would be, nor the person I want to be. But I am still the person who loves you, who aches because I never got to hear you cry. When I do, you can be sure there will be no better sound in the world, no greater music than the sound of your voice. Sometimes I think the reason I love music so much is because I’m constantly searching for the music in your cries that echo in my mind. I wish for a song that could capture the way I feel about you. For now, we sleep – both you and the person I used to be, the person I want to be, the person I will be.

And the person you were, the person you want to be, and the person you will be is still written down in a beautiful book. Because as much as we thought we knew you, Someone Else knew you even better. As much as we want to know what you will be like, He knows what you are capable of. And as much as we know we will never forget you, we know your Heavenly Father never will, down to every part, every eyelash, every strand of your DNA – and he yearns for the day when he will return you to our arms. (Job 14:14, 15) After all, He understands how we feel more than anyone. He gave HIS firstborn son so that you and other children, and myriads more, could live again. (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14) And he gave the perfect examples in the Scriptures, like a beacon – of the nine recorded resurrections, four were children.

In the meantime, we wait. We ask for patience and faith. But we still miss you, terribly. We will always miss you until the moment we have you back again. Now we comfort each other and remind each other of the promises we made to you. We will keep our promises. Because not only are we your parents, we are your friends, and we are here for you, waiting for you, come what may.

“I have hope toward God . . . that there is going to be a resurrection.” – Acts 24:15

“The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.” – John 5:28, 29

“The young child has not died, but is sleeping.” – Mark 5:39

wesley

In memory of Wesley Jacob

July 4, 2011 – July 6, 2011

Safe in God’s memory

Until awakened from sleep

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4 thoughts on “sleeping

  1. Thank you so much for sharing Wesley’s and your story with us. I didn’t realize it was this week. I so wish I could do something to make all the hurt go away. You and Andy are amazing parents and always will be. I take my hat off to you both and wish I could bring him back to you.
    I hope you both know that I am always here for you not no matter what time.

    Your strength and brilliance is truly bind blowing…. I wish I had even en inkling you your encouragement, selflessness and love ❤

  2. Tears stream down my face for you, for Andy, and for Wesley. Such a tragic loss that only Jehovah fully understands and can fully erase. I long for the day that you can have him back alive and healthy.
    Thank you for sharing your experience in such wonderful writing and for the glimps into Wesley’s world surrounded by nothing but tremendous love.
    Love, Ava

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