When I get sad and life feels a bit to heavy, or I’m struck with grief and brokenness over events in my life or those I love, I often think to myself, “it feels like September.” September has become more than a month on the calendar to me. September has become an emotion. I get a little sad when September rolls around and even though it’s been this way for years, it still takes me a week or two to figure out why I’m feeling down. Usually it happens as we enter into the second week and I flip the pages in my planner to see the big number 16 waiting there.
September 16 … the day we lost our first baby.
It’s funny how your brain remembers things that you aren’t cognitively aware of. In the adoption world we call this “anniversary trauma.” We moms will often rally to support each other through a rough few weeks as our kids go through emotional turmoil that they can’t understand. Somewhere in the back of my heart there’s the memory of the changing seasons, the start of a new school year, the first cool day … and the shattering that happened seven years ago.
This week has felt like September and the tears have flowed freely.
On Thursday my friend Cat’s son passed away. Little Cruz was just two years old. Catherine and Kenny waited three years for their little boy. This summer they finally received a phone call with the happy news that they had a son in Ethiopia. Cruz got sick last week while waiting for his mommy and daddy to get a court date. Pneumonia. Lot’s of children get it in Hannah’s Hope. Mareto did, more than once. But it’s scary when it happens because these precious children often have very weak bodies to begin with. Thursday Cruz passed away and Catherine and Kenny got that horrible phone call. It’s the one every adoptive parent fears. I remember physically wincing when the phone rang while we were waiting to travel for Mareto. The adoption community all let out a collective sob on Thursday when we got the news. Today Catherine and Kenny’s plane landed on Ethiopia soil. They are there to claim the little boy who did not die an orphan, but rather a dearly loved son. They will lay him to rest in Ethiopia and then make the long trip back home… with empty arms. The ache and grief is more than a heart can take.
Another dear friend of mine has been experiencing a hurt in her family that I can’t even begin to imagine. Broken relationships, pain, and more questions and confusion. The hard work of healing and restoration has begun, but the journey still aches.
This past week I remembered that this month marks five years since a traumatic surgery and, in many ways, a life changing diagnosis for me. Five years since I woke up in a hospital bed and got terrible news.
And last Thursday marked one year since our sweet boy was diagnosed with autism and in an instant the future changed … and all the little moments in each day with it.
On Friday I got together with my best friend Sarah. Our coffee talks are my favorite. We have no problem sharing deeply. Small talk generally doesn’t have much of a place in our friendship. She’s precious to me. There are usually tears involved because we’re both still healing – a life long journey that gets easier but never ends.
Sarah introduced me to a new friend at Bible Study after our coffee time. Heather is expecting a sweet baby boy and she just found out a week ago that he cannot survive after birth. Tears flowed as the three of us talked and we all expressed the ache and confusion in something like this.
Monday will be seven years since our first little love went to heaven. Seven long years without him. And it still hurts deeply. Anyone who has lost a child will understand that. Time marches on, wounds heal, and the grief subsides, but it hurts and sometimes that ache catches me by surprise. I usually write a little tribute and move on each September 16th, but this year I feel the need to do something more and I just don’t know what.
So this week feels an awful lot like September … a little melancholy. But I am reminded that each September brings hope, restoration, and new joy. For my precious Mareto celebrates his birthday in September and he is our special gift.
September feels a bit symbolic of the journey of life. A lot of hurt, but filled with hope and the joy of redemption.