Two years ago we lost our first born, James Walter. At the time, he was the most precious gift we had ever received. So precious and yet we had to let him go, so he could be with the Lord. I don't think I will ever wrap my mind or heart around this loss. Yes, the pain eases, and I no longer feel paralysed, but James is always on my mind.
In every little boy, I see James. I often think about his sweet face and wonder if it would look like Margaret's. Would he have her precious little curls in the back of his head? Would he scrunch up his nose when he smiled? Would he be talking up a storm at age 2? These things we will never know, and that is just so hard to swallow.
I know many of you are probably thinking well aren't you at least glad that you have Margaret. Of course, we are. I can't imagine life without my precious angel. And I definitely understand those thoughts too, because I had them when I lost James. When I would hear people talk about not being able to have another baby (when they already had one) or not having a girl when they really wanted one because all they had were boys, I would get so upset. I wanted to scream and shout well at least you have one to hold and kiss and cuddle!!! Don't be so selfish. But Wade and I are selfish too. We still long to know James and wish we could have both James and Margaret here together.
Yesterday I reread all of the cards that we received two years ago. I keep them in a special basket.
Each year I have a new understanding of the scripture and words inside each card. I learn more about grieving and about myself. Plus, it is just an amazing feeling to know how loved and supported we were in our darkest time. We are very thankful for such loving friends and family.
I don't think I ever shared the letter that my brother-in-law sent us three days after losing James. My sister actually read it at James' memorial service. Wade and I were reading it last night, and it continues to touch our hearts. Here is part of the letter:
The "what if" that I have been entertaining is what if I could share something with James? What if I could write him a letter or sit down and talk with him? What would I want him to know? And as I consider the many things I might share, what I continually come back to is how wonderful his parents are.
I would want to tell him how much his parents loved him, how much they planned, dreamed, and hoped for him. I would want James to know how his parents "trained" for him on their two beloved nephews. I would want him to know how much his parents risked for him. How his mother risked her life because her love for him. I would want to tell him how vulnerable both his parents made themselves to even entertain the the thought of having him. I would tell him of the strength they both displayed and how unified they have been and how his daddy never left his mommy's side and how their wedding vows were lived out with indescribable faithfulness in these past days. I would tell him of the overwhelming grief they experienced in not being able to bring him home and raise him. I would tell him how even though they might not see or believe it now that God would be able to bring from this tragedy experiences, perspectives, appreciation, and depth to his parents that will equip them to cope with future challenges and blessings which will surely come.
We are all thinking so much about what the two of you and the rest of us will be missing out on, I just might want James to know what he is missing. But I am also assured by my faith that James will not experience any "lacking" or "missing" of any kind where he is. So this truly is a "what if" that could never be realized like so many of the others. But this "what if" makes me personally so proud to have the two of you in my life.
That letter means so much to us. Thank you, Michael. God has truly given us perspectives, appreciation, and depth. I do feel more equipped to handle life's challenges and blessings. Another letter I reread talked about how our world had been turned upside-down after losing James and that it's hard to believe that one day it will be rightside-up again. However, I do feel it is rightside-up again. Margaret Belle helped turn it around for us and it feels wonderful!
We are so thankful for James Walter and his short time with us. God blessed us with this precious life.
April 1, 2010
Annual Family Picnic with James' Tree
". . .through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we have hope . . ."