So it's been awhile since I've put my fingers to a keyboard to write. Quite often, I have so much I want to say but haven't been able to formulate my thoughts into anything that would make sense on paper. I find myself in a stage of grief that I'm still trying to navigate myself. I find myself in a phase of life that I'm not sure how much to share and how much not to share. But today, I woke so uneasy and so unsettled. So I spent some quiet time with God, asking that He remind me of the strength and Hope He knows I have, and now I will sit in the calm and quiet and write before this day begins.
Life has changed a lot over the last few years. A couple weeks ago I let the iPhone playlist just shuffle at random. Admittedly, most days I cannot listen to songs that carried me through the initial months of losing Nate. I cannot listen to songs from his service or from the slideshow that played before his service. I hear them and can be taken instantly into that very broken and shattered pain that I felt almost 4.5 years ago. Most days it just hurts too much still so usually with the first note of one of these songs I have already hit next on the playlist. But a few weeks ago, I was able to stop and really listen again and take them in. It was a big moment for me. I found myself on a journey of self-reflection rather than in that dark and heavy place I remember. It was as if I was being guided through my journey from the outside looking in and reflecting back and in those moments I realized just how far we have come. We’ve come from heavy sadness where tears fell daily, through anger and frustration with God and the world, and now to a place where we are finding joy again. The emotions come and go, yes, I still have heavy days but they aren’t as often as they used to be. We could have left ourselves stuck in that heavy place but instead we fought with every ounce of energy our souls would offer to be in THE light and not under it.
This week I have felt the joy of Christmas coming. I have seen the wonder in a child's eyes. I have watched Drew & Kaylee’s excitement grow. I have also looked at a stocking with Nate’s name that hangs and will not be filled. An honest reminder of our reality that there is pain but we can have joy too. I have sat many evenings and just stared at the fireplace where his stocking hangs in the center, as our middle child, directly under his cross. I have prayed and wondered if we are doing the right thing by continuing to hang his stocking. But the reality is that I cannot put it away. I cannot put him away.
Nathan Chris Baker entered our world on December 23, 2006. Today, December 23, 2016, Nate would be 10. Ten... how does a momma's mind wrap herself around that idea that my child would be 10. Nathan lived on earth with us for 5.5 years. The last birthday we celebrated with Nate on earth was his 5th birthday. He was so excited for his 5th... you know 5 means one whole hand of fingers you get to hold up and smile the proudest smile? When I think of Nate and I still see my 5 year old stubborn yet innocent little boy. What would 10 look like for Nate? How tall would he be? What would he be like, who would his friends be, would we have a big party, would we go to his favorite dinner spot, what gifts would he be asking for? We don’t have those days with him. We watch our other children grow and it leaves us longing for those days with Nate. His 10th birthday.... that means he's been in Heaven almost as long as he was with us on Earth. I just can't even wrap my brain around the last four years without him let alone a lifetime to come without him. My heart turns and weeps inside my chest.
The journey of grief, and missing your child, just doesn’t get easier. It doesn’t go away… ever. It changes. I’ve said it before, the journey is winding. Some days I feel like a mess in this journey as we climb from the ashes. Some days I feel like it will, somehow, make sense one day. I know that we don't always like the journey but I do know that we will keep walking it with our heads held high in hope. I know that we wouldn't be where we are today, finding hope, and seeking joy without strength from above. In the story that God is writing.... I believe the journey is as important as the destination. I am thankful, that in the pain, we can look back and see the journey we are walking and that we haven’t let the load slow us down. In the end I hope I will look back on this life and smile because I decided to live and love it. Life is messy. But even in the ashes it can be beautiful.
Sending all our love to Nate today. We may cry tears and feel sadness but we also celebrate you. All that you were, all that you are, and all that you will be through the light that shines through.
All my love,