Two years and millions of tears later, we are still here. The small branch on our family tree, whose presence completed us, was ripped from our tree and it has left a large wound. There are days when it continues to seem unreal to me. The "accident" that occured two years ago still remains engrained in my mind, as it does in many others' too. I still relive the events of that night. I can vividly remember the sleepy haze that I was trying to talk myself out of as I was waking up. Wanting so badly to know if I had given birth to a baby boy or girl, I tried to speak, but I still couldn't control my body. I remember seeing a nurse doing paperwork as I struggled to get the words out of my mouth. The look of despair on her face and the slow nodding of "no" through the haze still haunts my memory. I remember the sombering news that my baby was a boy and he didnt' make it, but everything beyond that is a blur.
My loss has forever changed who I am . My relationships with others has changed. My life has changed. I guess I have held on to the hope that one day, I would have my life back, but the reality is..I won't. There is forever a piece of me missing.
Braxton's first birthday didn't seem to rock me so much, but I have sinced realized that the joy of being pregnant with Cayden held a veil over the pain of losing Braxton. There is no veil now. Yes, Cayden is more joy than I ever imagined, but he didn't replace Braxton. There are still dreams that will forever remain empty. Braxton was my first, and he will forever have a special place in my heart.
I have experienced all of the stages of grieve, and I continue to cycle through them. I have experienced sadness so extreme, and joy so unexplainable. I have been thankful for his life in Heaven, and I have been saddened for the life I can not share with him. I have cried and pleaded with God, and I have rejoiced. There are so many things for which I am thankful, yet many for which I am pained.
I am thankful that God gave me the opportunity to carry Braxton while he was here. I am thankful for the time I had with him. The three days that we spent with him before saying good-bye for now, are forever treasured in my heart. I am thankful that Braxton showed me what life is really all about. I am thankful that Braxton made me a better mother for his brother, and for his future siblings.
I am thankful that Braxton will never experience pain, fear, evil, or the depths of darkness. He will never know what betrayal or extreme anger feels like. His heart will never be broken. I am thankful that I will never have to sit up at night wondering if he his staying out of trouble, because he will never have sin tempt him. He will never have to be convinced that God truly loves him, because he already knows God's love. He will never have to question the ways of this world. He will never be alone. Because of Braxton, others have found Jesus. And for this I am thankful.
It makes me sad and mad that I can't plan a 2nd birthday party. It angers me that I don't get to experience the terrible twos. It is heartbreaking that I have another baby and I have to ask others what to expect...I should already know.
I am saddened, because it doesn't seem fair. It is painful knowing that I will never know what color his eyes were, I will never see his first smile. It is not fair that I couldn't rock him to sleep, or comfort his cry. It is not fair that I couldn't save him. I have experienced pain so inexplicable thinking about why I couldn't help him. It hurts knowing that while I was anxiously anticipating his birth while pushing, he was gasping for air and slowly fading away. My body aches to hold him. My heart breaks thinking about how he would be with Cayden. My mind is tired and weary.
I have experienced an array of emotions that seem to just creep in at any given minute. The anger that can rise up in me is atrocious. I can be having a good day, and see someone mistreating a child, and then I am a mess. Fear can grip me and consume my every thought. Sadness has found a home within me for weeks at a time. Somedays the heaviness of the grief I feel pressing in on me threatens to choke the last breath from my lungs. I live with a contradictory burden of wanting to be free from this overwhelming pain and yet feeling as if I need it to remember him. The guilt is debilitating. I feel guilty for saying that Cayden is my joy...Braxton was a joy too. I feel guilty that I can't give Braxton the life that Cayden has. As I have said before, grieving and rejoicing at the same time, is hard to do. It is not fair that I can enjoy Cayden, but I can't enjoy Braxton...this is a confusing feeling. I still can't talk about my feelings without crying. So, often times I store it all inside. The days when I can't hold anymore, it will spill over and the day is unpredictable. The emotions are like hiccups, they come unexpectedly and you never know when they end.
While anger, fear, and grief can consume me at times, there are times of rejoicing and praise. I rejoice because I know in my heart of hearts that he is in a better place. I know that he is having a much better party than I could ever throw. I rejoice because he will never live in this world that is corrupted by our evil ways. I rejoice because there will be a day when I will see him again. On my worst days, I rejoice because he will never know stress, worry, or feel the pain of heartache. Thank you Jesus!
While this rollercoaster of emotions has rocked my core, I find myself stronger than ever before. I have a relationship with Jesus Christ that has sustained me when I was ready to give up. My relationship with my husband has been strengthened. I am a better mom because of the trajic pain I have experienced. I value everyday of my life. Not one moment is taken for granted. I try to live life more fully and generously. In the moments when the reality of Heaven seems so distant and vague, my longing for Braxton is Heaven's sweet incentive. Though it hurts so bad, and there are days that I can't seem to regain my strength, I am thankful for the time God gave me with him, and I am thankful he is in a better place. I know that God holds every tear that we have cried, and He aches too. For in our weakness, He is made strong. I know that Braxton is in the best place, but that still doesn't make the pain any less. A parent is not suppose to have to bury their child. We will survive and we will continue to live, but that small branch will also be missing from our tree.
You are truly missed and loved. Mommy and daddy think about you everyday. I want to tell you all about your brother and the new things he is doing, but I know in my heart that you already know all about him. There is not a day that goes by that we don't think about the things that you would be doing. There is not a day that goes by that we don't still wonder "why." We are so glad that your life has changed the lives of others. You truly are a blessing to so many. Your story has changed the way that family and friends value their children. Your story has led people to Christ, and you have made a difference. You will never be forgotten. We are so sorry that we can't hug and kiss on you. However, as sad as it makes us, we are glad that you are getting the ultimate hugs and kisses. Let Jesus hold you until mommy and daddy can hold you again. We will see you again someday. We long for that day when we can all be a complete family. We are comforted knowing that you are always with us. We miss you! Happy 2nd birthday bubby!!!