Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Noah's Chocolate Milk

I woke up this morning and thought about all I needed to get done today and this week...and then started to think about getting Haleigh Raye up and going. Slowly, while all was still quiet and the day was not yet light, I reflected on what used to be my normal routine of getting them both going in the morning and how things have changed. Noah may be an angel now but on earth he was all boy with what seemed like an endless amount of strong will and energy and a little bit of stubbornness (that he did not get from me.  )I miss it all none the less. Our mornings are quieter, the hassles are less. If I don't set down with her, she sets across from a seat that can look very lonely early in the morning (well anytime of day for that matter) especially when it was his and his only for so many years. I always drink chocolate milk in the morning before I have coffee but today, after thinking about mornings with him, I made Noah's special chocolate milk which consists of a little milk, a lot of chocolate, freeze for 15 minutes and then serve. Haleigh Raye tasted tested for me and said it wasn't as chocolatlely as his was...but I was close. After I finished it to the last drop I started thinking no wonder Noah had so much energy after a glass of chocolate milk. He was on a chocolate high and, at least for the new few hours, I will be on one too. Sometimes you need encouragement to get through the day, sometimes you need a hug and all the time you can use prayer...but sometimes...you just need a glass of Noah's Chocolate Milk! 

(And, yes, I do drink from a Beverly Hills 90210 glass.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it." - John 1:5

"At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.

There are moments, most unexpectedly, when something inside me tries to assure me that I don't really mind so much, not so very much, after all. Love is not the whole of a man's life. I was happy before I ever met H. I've plenty of what are called "resources." People get over these things. Come, I shan't do so badly. One is ashamed to listen to this voice but it seems for a little to be making out a good case. Then comes a sudden job of red-hot memory and all this "commonsense" vanishes like an ant in the mouth of a furnace."

C.S. Lewis - A Grief Observed

Another season is upon us. 

It's now been a complete year and I have experienced the fullness of 4 seasons without someone I thought I would have a lifetime with and, not only that, but I thought he would have a lifetime as well. 

There really are so many things we have around us to be grateful for. I remind myself of that quite often not only because it is true but I have to find, search, dig deep for the good in the circumstances or depression and sadness will prevail. And there really is much good in the world. In our world. Haleigh Raye is thriving in so many aspects of life. She just wrapped up performing in a play in our community and loved every minute of it. We finally have a routine that is working for us. School is in full swing and the intensity has picked up but she is maintaining her own. Our church is about to move into a new building for our preschoolers and children and I couldn't be more excited about the opportunities that lay ahead for us to serve more families. 

Of course, even with all this upon us, there are still some memories, there are still times that can sneak up, catch me off guard and cause me to fall off balance. These moments often occur when I think I am just at the point where I have it all together. 

But that feels like the story of my life.

One of my biggest fears has been that people would forget Noah and his spunky self. But that fear has turned to myself and that I am forgetting him. I can't recall details of him. I have to set and think about his laugh. His face had a scar on it but where exactly was it?  And what was it he would do when I knew he was trying to get out of trouble -- wouldn't he tilt his head a certain way?

I don't know for sure. I can't remember. His demeanor, his personality...it feels like it is all colliding with a boy my mind has created along with the real Noah that actually did inhabit my world for 10 fleeting years. 

In the dead of the night is when it can hurt the worst. I want to recall him. But the memories, paired with the silence and loneliness of a day's darkest hours are without a doubt the scariest moments. The craving to remember overwhelms me. But the need to rekindle his memory is up against the fear of the feelings of loss those moments inevitably bring and it's enough to make me stop, not allowing myself to go on to my dream.

This happened to me just this past weekend. After finally getting a restless and sick Haleigh Raye to sleep, rest eluded me and my thoughts turned to Noah and I asked myself the question I find myself asking several times a day, causing me to lose concentration and making my task at hand altogether  mundane. "God, what is Noah doing right now? Right this very minute. What has he done today?" Of course that pondering led to other memories from his toddler years to more recent ones and I realized there was gaps in what I could recall. Had the normal passing of time done that? Had grief impacted what I could remember? Death had taken so much from me already. Were detailed memories dying too? 

After wrestling with those thoughts I prayed for God to not let me forget and then... I fell asleep. I actually woke up and as I was texting these fears to someone I got a random text that included these words:

"Good morning, Jessica. I didn't know if you had/saw this picture. Love ya!"

I don't know who took this picture and I don't know how long it had been out there but it was one I had never seen before. His glasses. Oh, yes, I remember those glasses. And that goofy, short hair cut he got. Yes, I remember that too! Look at his pose! He would do that at times especially at pictures. And the armband he wore. He wore it for months. The shirt. I have it.

It was exactly what I had asked for at a time I felt helpless. 


Darkness surrounds me and steals Your blessings.  I am defeated and in the grasp of the enemy.  But Your forces are at work in the world, touching others through Your divine inspiration.  Oh me of little faith.  Believing the lie. Taken by darkness and fear.  God let me see Your light.  And praise be that You stir others for my delivery.  Forgive my weakness and self pity, I pray.