My traveling buddies are friends and family who find themselves on a similar path . . . a journey with no up-grades, many road closures and a heavy burden of grief. We are members of what I call, The Bereaved Mothers Club. Membership is weighty: placing a precious child in the arms of God.Jessica, and her husband Travis, lost Kade, their sweet two-month-old son to SIDS in the fall of 2007. Kade's birth and death dates are coming soon. Jessica knows she is entering a season of grief. She shares with honesty about how moving toward her pain has brought healing along her journey.
It's Good for Me ~ by Jessica
We went to the dairy together last night to take a ride on the new mule. (No, not an actual mule; it's a cross between a golf cart and four wheeler.) The girls rode in front with Travis, and Brody and I rode in the back. It was a fun little outing and the cool evening breeze was refreshing.
We always love being at the dairy as a family and I know it means a lot to Travis that we are enjoying it. He especially loves it that Macey can carry on an actual conversation about the dairy. Tonight Travis told Macey that a calf had been born and it was a girl. To which she replied, "Oh, it was a girl? Don't you mean a heifer?" Travis darted a surprised and proud look in her direction and put up his hand to offer her a high five. It was a proud moment for both of them.
As we made our way around the dairy, we came to the maternity barn to see the calves that had been born just hours earlier. In the first pen lay two heifer calves. Their mama was leaning over their lifeless bodies, lovingly licking their bodies clean. My mind started racing as Travis explained that they were stillborn.
Why did you just leave them there? I asked. I felt annoyed and a little angry. I felt protective for the mama cow, and didn't want her to have to stand there unable to revive her babies. I didn't understand why Travis didn't hurry and take the calves out to keep the mama from knowing that they hadn't survived. My eyes began to burn.
It's good for her, he explained in a compassionate tone.
I began to feel emotional as I tried to understand. How could that possibly be good for her? It's just plain mean. But as I thought about it more, the Lord began to remind me of some precious truths that he's revealed to me.
Kade’s season is upon us, and my heart and mind are in full processing mode. I have had a busy few months; working through my feelings and grief has been put on the back burner. They are always there but just a little tucked away. I have moments of my own, usually in the late evenings during Brody's last feeding. My mind often wanders to what life would be like if Kade were here and how although our home is full of life and busy little bodies, it can somehow manage to feel a little lonely and not quite noisy enough. My days are full and I sometimes feel unable to handle it all. But how I wish I had a 3 year old little boy running around adding to the chaos. I miss him so much I ache inside.
After our ride at the dairy, I couldn't stop thinking about those words. It's good for her. My mind went to all of my sweet friends, near and far, who have had to give a child back to the Lord. Some I know well and some I may not meet until glory. I thought of their experiences and how the Lord has made the process good for them.
I thought of my own experience ~ finding Kade's lifeless body; the car ride to the emergency room; the look on all of the doctors and nurses as they left the room after being unable to save Kade; the coroner driving away with his body; the loved ones who came to love and serve us; planning a funeral; picking out a casket and burial plot, and many other memories that have become fuzzy with time. That process was horrific. I remember feeling like I was in the middle of one of those nightmares where no matter how hard you try you can't wake yourself up. I've been living this nightmare for three years now, and I've learned that although the process is often brutal, it is vital.
Those days that I spent preparing to bury Kade played a huge part in my healing. I took time to celebrate his life, to honor the Lord and acknowledge that although His plans were proving to be far different than my own, I was going to follow Him. I took the time to care for Kade on this earth in any way I could. I picked out burial clothes, decorations for his service, flowers for his casket, and my mom and I even cleaned the room at the funeral home where his viewing would be. I was intentional about feeling it all, facing my heartache head on so that I could begin healing in a healthy way. I didn't want to ignore anything only to uncover it years later after it had festered and become rotten bitterness in my heart. All of that was good for me.
That mama cow was spending time with her babies ~ smelling them, licking them, and in her own way loving them, and in those things, finding healing. She was getting a chance to care for her babies even after they were no longer living. This process would make it possible for her to live a full life, give birth to more calves and produce quality milk. She would be able to serve her purpose on this earth more fully by going through the process. Isn't it incredible that the Lord created that process for animals too? Amazing.
As I near this season for the third time, I am amazed at how the Lord has been so faithful. I can hardly believe that Kade would be 3 . . . 3! Crazy. I feel like this is the first time that I am actually looking forward to the process. I don't feel afraid of it or unsure of how to handle it. I'm not wondering if I'll survive or be unable to function. Allowing myself to go through the process has given me the chance to fulfill God's purposes for my life. I have not been hindered by my grief, rather I have allowed the Lord to use my grief to comfort others with the comfort I have received. Although each year has been different, I have learned to be confident in the Lord's perfect plan for the process and that celebrating my precious son is joyful, painful, emotional, healing and, it's good for me.
To read more of Jessica's journey, you may visit her blog, Seeking His Face.