I relive every second in agonizing detail. Staring at the ultrasound at my perfectly formed, yet perfectly still baby. Reality hadn’t hit me yet as I scanned the screen for the smallest movement. He wasn’t kicking. Spinal bifida I thought. Thoughts bombarded my mind. The advancement in fetal surgery, the prognosis was so much better than it was when I was growing up. I could handle spinal bifida I decided.
I searched the technician’s face. She wouldn’t look at me.
I noticed the stillness of my baby’s arms, my mind fighting the reality staring me in the face.
“Does he have a heartbeat?” I cried everything in me begging for reassurance.
“That is what I am looking for.” She stated cold, distant, matter of fact.
I don’t know how I made it through that moment.
My private pain, my nightmare was so common place to them.
In that moment I knew his sweet life had ended before it could begin.
The technician called in the doctor to confirm it.
I stared in stone cold silence. I didn’t ask why, because there was no reason they could possibly give me that would make it okay.
I needed out of that room. I needed to be alone. Most of all I needed to wake up and realize it was all a very bad dream.
I made my way to the small bathroom to put my clothes back on. I locked the door behind me and collapsed on the floor.
I prayed. I prayed with every single bit of Pentecostal blood I had in me.
Hadn’t I personally witnesses a deaf gentleman regain his hearing?
Wasn’t I sitting on the pew behind a man that died during church service, and I watched my grandpa pray him back to life?
I’d seen Terah Fortner step up out of her wheelchair and make her way down the center aisle to the alter of the church.
I lay on that floor, I repeated over and over again. If I have faith the size of a mustard seed, I can move mountains.
The Doctors could be wrong I thought.
My legacy, my birthright, everything passed down to me from birth told me, I was chosen, and God could and will work miracles in my life.
I was angry for a long time. I was angry when I went in labor on Christmas. I was angry when I give birth to this perfectly formed little boy that so obviously had hands just like his Daddy. I was angry because I had given up so much of myself, and given up who I was, in order to stay in favor with a God that without a second thought stopped the heart of my child.
15 years later I can feel the chill of December coming.
The person I was before no longer exists.
The person I am now searches for reasons.
I realize that my child was no more entitled to life than countless other babies that were born still. I realize that life happens regardless, and you have to choose the things that you carry with you from each lesson you learn.
That kind of loss wraps itself around every fiber of your body. You become it.
Time doesn’t heal it. In 2001 I buried a baby, in 2016 I ache for the 15 year old that should be fighting with his brothers.
A whole future was buried with my baby.
His eyes never opened, his limbs never moved, his life was but a page in this enormous book of my life. Still there is no place he doesn’t touch.
I love my life with William’s brothers. I live happy and grateful.
When grief comes, it mostly serves as a reminder of how truly invincible a person can become when they have to.
I no longer underestimate my ability to stand.
Last year December gave me a precious gift, and subsequently the lesson that started all those years ago became more clear than ever.
Love is not in the possession of someone.
Love does not exist in the fulfillment of the strongest want.
Love exists in the sacrifice.
When you sacrifice what should have been.
When you leave behind all the expectations of what this beautiful promise can bring.
When you open up your entire soul with full knowledge that life has no guarantees, and
you simply love, because that is what we are designed to do.
Grief may be the price of love, one very few wants to pay.
They want to hold on until their hands are raw.
They want to find a light in the hopelessness.
a place for all this love to manifest itself.
The most beautiful manifestation of love with no destination or objective, is found when it stands completely alone. When there is nothing left. When there can be no purpose.
When the tears burn your pillow, and you ache to just hold them one more time, but then you remember how deeply you are able to appreciate love born with a purpose. When you wrap your children in your arms and love radiates through your body. The feeling of being truly and completely grateful.
Loss is the fire that ignites that spark within you.
Loss is a constant reminder of how brief and fleeting happy can be.
The only way to lose is if you push away those moments. If you shut the love out because you are so afraid of the loss.
Love never dies. It reinvents itself. It shows you new and different ways to experience joy.
Love forged in pain and loss is as unbreakable as King Arthur’s sword.
Loss is part of the appreciation of the beauty that you hold.
In that moment you wont always see it. There have been so many moments when I felt like I couldn’t bear to put one foot in front of the other.
I’ve had days that I never imagined life could ever be anything more that the overwhelming grief of saying goodbye way before I was ready to.
If you let the bitterness hold you trapped in your grief, then you may very well be right.
Its normal to be angry. Its normal to feel that it is not fair.
Its normal to think that if you had only been good enough, or done enough that you would not have to experience this pain.
True healing comes when the pain and the grief draws such a sharp contrast that you finally realize what love is.
You understand the true selflessness of love.
You understand that by allowing the grief and the loss to have their place in your heart, that you are adding new dimensions to the places that love can and will take you.
I love my little boy, William David Hill.
I embrace his legacy every day.
He is part of the patience I show with Evan.
When I stare at my children in total awe and admiration, William’s spirit is right behind my eyes.
When I hold a crying colicky baby I rejoice is what a beautiful sound those cries are.
I feel deeper for children who are neglected or abused.
I never take one single breath for granted.
When I laugh, when I smile I don’t have to fake them anymore.
William’s legacy taught me that pain has a purpose.
My child is part of me.
I smile at people that look like they are having a bad day.
I offer help to those that may need it.
I remind people that nothing stays bad forever.
I encourage them to hold on to the good.
I tell them about my son, and all the beautiful things that he has taught me about life having never breathed a breath.
Most of all my grief has taught me that this is always something to be thankful for.
No matter how dark the world may seem. When you can’t imagine picking yourself up off the floor, facing the most impossible situation that you have yet to face.
You have to remind yourself that as surely as life takes, and as broken as you may feel, love has many seasons and while the winter may be cold, spring will come again.
The colors in your world that grief has muted will once again become as brilliant as the leaves on the trees in October.
You will bask in the sun. The memory of winter will not block the warmth.
You will swim in the river and for a moment forget that it was once covered with ice.
We are on this earth to experience every moment. We experience both the good and the bad.
The most important thing that you will ever learn is when good comes again to embrace it fully. Let go of the fear of being hurt. You have no control over when or if hurt is right around the corner. You can’t live your life afraid to love, because of what it may one day cost. To live with the fear of loss is to not really live at all.
Loss is inevitable.
Bitterness is a choice.
Love with all your heart. Find the beauty in the broken.
Honor the legacy of love by giving it purpose.
If you can’t believe everything happens for a reason, (this one is particularly hard for me.)
Give it a reason. Find the reason, because it is there if you look hard enough.
William David taught me unconditional love.
His birthday passes every year, and I am the only one who remembers.
What once felt like isolation in a prison of grief, over the years has changed into a secret that only my soul knows.
I can try with the best of my ability to share his legacy on this blog. To share the lessons that grief has taught me. However; there is no map to trace to get from point a to point b. The journey is long and It hurts like nothing else on this earth ever will. Each journey through loss is as unique as the person experiencing it. I hope you hold on to the knowledge that love is not rigid. It is fluid and it will grow and change into what you need it to become. If you try to actively embrace what death has no power over (love), and you apply whatever purpose is in your heart, and you direct the love forged though grief towards that purpose, you will smile again. You will find a place for love grow and multiply.
I would have given my son the world. Instead he opened up a whole new world for me.
I will always be grateful for the miracle I so briefly held.
I am and I will always be William David’s Mother.
He will always be more than just my son.
He is my proof that life goes on. He is my teacher. He is the map I trace when I am lost without direction. He is my reminder that life is worth living. He is the steel inside me when I am facing the impossible.
His beauty did not stop at death.
His purpose will forever be a part of me.