I want to thank everyone out there who continues to lift our family up in prayer. It is needed, felt, and appreciated. I have been told by many people that the early childhood period of parenting and life goes by so quickly…, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Our life right now feels somewhat in reverse–the days are short, but the years (or months so far) are long. However, this last month or so it seems that the days get longer and longer, too. We certainly are still in need of prayer and are encouraged that some prayers are being answered at this early stage. We are, in fact, surviving. That feels monumental right now. We are also able to have many laughs and what would appear to be “normal” moments. They are only moments, though, but we will take them. We are thoroughly enjoying the girls. We are thoroughly missing Reece.
I was at the home of a close friend last week for a playdate with the girls. We really haven’t had any playdates at our home since Reece passed away. I intend on having people over at some point, but we are still in the very slow and not very steady process of packing up many of his things. More things need to be put away before any playdates can happen. So we headed over to our good friends’ home. One of the girls we visited, Stella, is the only child who saw Reece after his transplant. She visited him in our home when Reece was couch-bound and constantly asking for warm blankets. He spoke very little during that leg of his journey. In fact, the two of them barely spoke to each other during the visit, but sat on the couch together and watched Scooby Doo. I am sure it was awkward for both of them, but it meant so much to Reece to see her. His demeanor was very different as a sick child, but he talked about their visit after she left and how much he liked seeing her–and he grinned about their time together, which was his way of showing happiness in the midst of a very challenging place in his health.
So while we were at her home last week, Stella and I were in the living room together while I was feeding Scarlett a bottle. And this was our conversation:
Stella: Can we come over to your house sometime to play, even though Reece isn’t there?
Me: Yes, you are always welcome to come over to our house.
Stella: I bet you were sad when Reece died.
Me: Yes, I still am sad. But I am so glad that you were able to come and see Reece when he was in our house. I know he didn’t say much to you, but he was so happy that you came to see him.
I can not put into words how much it meant to me that she talked about Reece, that she said his name, that she acknowledged the sadness, and that she said what she felt. I was also glad to be able to share with her how meaningful her visit was to Reece. Kids are so beautifully real about things. I wish that adults could be as transparent. It is perfectly acceptable and welcomed to talk about Reece, by name, to us. We are still his parents and he is still our son and part of our family. We talk about him every day and think about him nearly every waking moment. We laugh and cry about him. We love it when people share memories of him or simply ask how we are doing. We love hearing his name and hearing about him. I know there is the worry out there that one will say the wrong thing and so the tendency is to avoid or shy away or act like nothing happened at all. Or maybe it is such a painful topic that it is easier to avoid the encounter altogether. Saying the wrong thing is highly unlikely. It’s better to take the chance of saying the wrong thing, versus not saying anything at all. If you or your kids knew Reece personally, we treasure the memories that you share, because very few people over the course of our lives will have memories of him. If you walk up to me and say nothing more than his name, you will have blessed me more than you can imagine. That’s how much it means to me and that’s how much we miss him.
So speaking of answered prayers, I am embarking on the journey of writing a memoir about Reece and his journey through transplant. I have often reflected on a year ago when I was feeling led to write a blog and my motivations for doing so. At the time, part of my reasoning was to have details to share with Reece as he got older. I wanted him to be able to read what he went through and to be able to explore his journey in greater detail. As I look back at the blog a year later, I realize that in light of Reece’s passing, likely a big purpose for it was to support writing this book and remind us of steps along the way. It’s not exactly the way that I expected it to be used, but I am so grateful that I wrote it now, so I will be able to go back and remember things that would have faded by now. I know this will be a difficult thing to write, but I am confident that if I can do it, it will be purposeful to me, meaningful to our family, and hopefully powerful and God-honoring for others to read. My blog posts will likely be even more sparse due to this, but I will continue to do some updates from time to time.
There have been some clarifying moments for me and I know they are in some way answers to prayers lifted on our behalf. So, thank-you.