In my 34 years of life I have experienced more than I could have imagined as a little girl. Marriage was a fairytale I had made up in my mind and early on, mine was put to the test. We fought for our marriage, we went to counseling, and we started to understand what true intimacy was. Then it was tested again. We fought harder, battled demons from our past, looked for truth from God as to our identity and where our worth comes from. We truly had to decide if we would walk out “for better or worse.”
Things started looking up, we bought our first house, we had our second child, I decided to stay home with the kids, and then we got pregnant with our third. Life was busy, and good. It was then we started on a journey that forever altered our lives. Our second born, our Son, Caleb was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease at 18 months old. Our third child was 4 weeks old when we found out. We had no idea what lay before us, and I believe that was by God’s grace and design.
So many times we look at others’ lives and think, “oh wow, I could never do that.” We pass judgments on people, or situations and we sell God short. The fact is, you have no idea what you would do in that situation, and many times we end up eating our words I have found. God’s grace and mercy for us is more than we can imagine, and when faced with things that we find insurmountable, He can, and will carry us through.
Over the course of the next year, Caleb’s condition rapidly declined. I had a spunky 3 year old, a special needs 2 year old, and a newborn. To say life was hectic is an understatement. And yet I found strength within me that I never knew I had and looking back am awed by it. I managed to take care of the dailies, as well as tend a garden, attend a Women’s group, buy meats from the farm, veggies from co-ops, cook most of our food, research my son’s condition and treatments, manage his twice a week physical therapy and occupational therapy appointments, research medical financial assistance, and when Caleb got a feeding tube, I cooked and blended up all of his food to feed him.
On September 16, 2013 we found ourselves at Children’s Medical Center with Caleb having breathing issues. 3 days later we realized that we would have to say goodbye to our sweet boy. We spent the day holding him, singing, telling him we loved him, and that afternoon he took his final breath.
I cannot even begin to describe the deep aching pain that my husband and I felt, and continue to feel over the loss of our sweet boy. Caleb hardly ever complained, despite the pain his body brought and the medical procedures he had to endure. His smile was so sweet and his eyes connected with every one he met.
Over the course of the next days, weeks, and even months I began to reflect on his life. I started to focus on the ways that God was so faithful to us. Those moments were everywhere, in the small things, and in the big things. All throughout Caleb’s life, God was there and showing us how near He was to us. His provision, His guidance, His peace, even Him shielding us from things we were not ready to see, He was there every step of the way. Psalm 23:4 was alive and real to us. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” My heart is forever changed by my sons’ life and death, but I choose to be thankful, for all of it, even through the tears.
I didn’t have a choice about my son’s death, however I do have a choice how I will live the rest of my life. I can choose my attitude and how I let that affect others around me. I still have two beautiful girls who need my love and attention. They lost a brother; will I let them lose a mother to grief too? Please hear my heart, I grieved and do grieve the loss of my son, a lot. I was worthless for many weeks, I don’t even remember most of the days after the funeral, for weeks actually. There are times that I still cry, after close to 3 years of him being gone, and I am confident that there are many more tears yet to be shed. However, one of the things I chose to do was to be a good mom to the kids who I can still hug and kiss.
I have realized that my story, as unique as it is, can connect with so many people. Not just the ones who have had to say goodbye all too soon to their children, but everyone experiences loss. Everyone. How we walk though seasons of loss is such a testament to how faithful our God is. Psalm 34:18- “The Lord is near to the broken hearted” is another scripture I have personally experienced. God was never closer than the days and weeks that followed my sons passing. He spoke to me, He loved on me, He reminded me of the love that He has for Caleb.
Whatever the loss you have experienced, whether it be through death or not, He is with you. Your calling may not be what you dreamed it would be, I am no longer a boy mom. But God does have a calling on your life; He has people for you to connect with. He sees you, especially in your pain. You are not forgotten. Ask Him where He was during the darkest moments of your life; I promise, He was there. He is still there.