I started this post last weekend, but had a difficult time putting words to all the thoughts and feelings I was having. Friday was a day of serious emotional lows and highs. Bryce and I attended the funeral of our friends’ four month old baby boy, Charlie. He was a handsome and healthy little boy who passed away without warning during an afternoon nap. Every time I think about it, my eyes well up, and my heart gets heavy and very literally aches for my sweet friends who have lost their son.
He was born just a few days before our wedding, and when I got the chance to meet him a few weeks later, he was as happy and peaceful a baby as ever was. Anna and I met for lunch, and she brought him along to show off. We talked about her new baby, my new husband, the holidays, our feminist rants, and the list goes on and on. Of all the many things that we talked about, what I remember most clearly was her telling me how hard it was to be away from Charlie for almost any period of time. She hated leaving him, in a way that she hadn’t experienced with her first baby. While there are a host of reasons that parents experience their children differently, looking back, I feel strongly that she was being blessed to be able to experience as much of his little life as she could, and, that when the time came, she wouldn’t be filled with any regrets about the time she did get to have with him. It made me so grateful that she was being watched out for in such a seemingly small, but meaningful way.
The service, while difficult to get through, was nice. It was comforting to see a chapel full of people there to share love for Chad, Anna, and Charlie; people who probably had few interactions with Charlie, but who deeply felt Chad and Anna’s loss, and who also understood the call to mourn with those that mourn. It was a moment that showed how beautiful humanity can be, and made me wish that more of our interactions with the world came from this place of love. The service also provided an opportunity for real reflection on the power of the plan of salvation. That knowledge provides tangible comfort and perspective, and keeps the sadness and pain, though profound, from turning to outright despair. And for that I am also grateful.
Feeling a bit disoriented and drained after it all, I headed home, but couldn’t bring myself to go inside. Instead, I drove to a nearby park, pulled out a blanket from my car and laid down in the sunshine, willing the warmth to ease the numbness I was feeling. As the afternoon slowly passed, I found myself wondering, perhaps hoping, if maybe my soon-to-be-born niece wasn’t in heaven hanging out with her buddy Charlie. I realize that is a bit silly, wholly unfounded, and too tidy a narrative, but somehow that thought brought me peace. That night, Bryce and I chose to stay in, allowing ourselves to feel and process the day’s events and to let them take their proper place within.
Late in the evening we got a call from Sharon letting us know that her water had broken (while at 7-11), and she was hospital bound. Early the next morning, one Amelia Fae came into this world, and my tears flowed once again, as I got to see her face (three cheers for picture messaging and webcams!) and see her mother tenderly embrace her. These were different tears than before, of course, but somehow thinking of both events, all I see and feel is love. There is deep sadness and profound happiness, yes, but mostly there is love. Love is the great balm of this life.
Pictures of my soon-to-be best-friend: