While I do love Sam Smith, I am wanting to talk about a different kind of “staying.” I have experienced life’s greatest joys, where it is easy for people to be around. Graduating college, getting married, and having babies! We have also encountered debilitating sorrow. However, it seems as we encounter tragedies, it is more difficult for people to stay. Seeing people we love hurt is never something we desire to enter into. But that is just what is needed because at that moment, it isn’t YOUR feelings you should be worried about. Be with them. Stay with them. You might not know what to say… let me assure you, we would rather you be there and silent. A lot of things will happen in this life that causes each one of us to experience sorrow. Our family’s story unfortunately has a few. On December 4, 2017, our beautiful little boy took a nap and never woke up. The following days were filled with love and people checking in. It was exactly what was needed. Those same people have stayed around, checked in, and held us as we sobbed. I cannot tell you what most of them said in those moments, but I vividly remember them being there in the discomfort. There are people who could not/would not remain in our lives. The pain was just too big. I get it, but man it added to the pain.
There are those who have been added specifically because of our loss. What a gift to have people brought to you, in your worst possible moment, and love you in the midst of and because of. You each know who you are. I love you more than you can imagine.
I know that there are times when I have questioned if my presence would be appropriate with certain life’s circumstances. Very soon after losing our son, a friend of mine lost hers. We share the same name and now the same wound. I worried about going to his funeral, as I desperately did not want to distract from her family. I reminded myself that day was not about me and my story, but hers. So, I went and I am beyond grateful I did. Upon arriving, I waited outside in a line to get to her, as so many did for my family a few short months before. As I got closer, I could see her emotions bellow to the surface in seeing me. Two broken-hearted mommas, doing what none should have to do. We hugged, cried, begged for strength and I will never forget her asking me “does it get better?” “Oh mama, it sure doesn’t. But you are loved and the same God who now sees your son will not abandon you” was all I could muster. I would have loved to say, “time will heal,” but that simply is not true.
After our Annie was born, she stopped breathing while sleeping. By God’s grace and a touch of science (breathing monitor), we caught it immediately. It continued happening hundreds of times a day and we were rushed to Texas Children’s in Texas. We stayed there for a month. During that time, friends traveled out and surrounded themselves with the NICU life, nothing enjoyable I assure you. They stayed. Friends continued to love us, by cooking for our children and coming over to play with them in our absence. They stayed. Staying looks very different in all situations, but it is ALWAYS giving of one’s self, out of love for another.
I feel like I cannot say it enough. Thank you to those who were able to stay with us. We love you more than you could ever imagine.
Being authentic is always more valuable, than being profound. Be with your people, in all of life’s experiences. Love them well and trust they will do the same for you!