Sunday, November 15, 2009

For One More Day (My First GiveAway!)

So for quite awhile now I have been obsessed with the thought of how I would have spent my time with Bryston had he survived. I just keep thinking that I was cheated out of the precious moments of parenthood with him. What would I have said to him, taught him, or done with him? What kind of a mommy would I have been? Bryston is my first born so I have no way to even compare this. What if the skies parted and God himself granted me one full day with Bryston? I could choose any age for him to be. I could spend this time anyway that I chose. What would I say to him? What would we do to make the kind of memories to last a lifetime? Would he know what had happened to him or what was happening with this one day. I wish I could say for sure what the answers to these questions would be. I wish I didn't have to imagine scenarios instead of living them.

I would love to hear your take on these questions and how you would spend your day. For those of you who decide to post on this, leave a comment below that you've posted your own blog on this and you will be entered in a drawing to win this letter photography framed photo that I purchased at Hobby Lobby, a favorite store of mine. I will draw names and post the winner sometime next week, Good Luck! (Even if you have not lost a baby, you can participate. Tell me if you'd go back and relive any age with any of your children, what and how would you do? What age did you choose?)

Lets say that this actually happened. And here's how I imagine that day would go.

As I open my eyes and crawl out of bed in the morning I cant shake the feeling that this is going to be one of those special kind of days. The kind of day where the size too small pants Ive been dying to get into for months actually fit, my hair has never looked better and I still have yet to comb it, and as I finish getting ready, oh whats this, my husband has not only cooked me breakfast but he has cleaned the entire house top to bottom! (Disclaimer, sadly yes this is fiction :) I exchange goodbyes with my husband and step out of the door to go to work. As I'm walking down the driveway I hear the unmistakable rumble of thunder. As I look to the sky searching for the thunder cloud or rain, I see the most majestic site. The sun is shining through the parted clouds and it is beautiful. I begin to get that feeling of smallness and even a bit faint. All of a sudden I notice how eerily silent the world around me has gotten. No birds chirping, No roar of any passing cars, or any idle conversations of the neighbors. Not even the wind or the thunder of a few minutes ago.

A light begins to invade my vision. Beautifully blinding light, but surprisingly it doesn't hurt my eyes. It just obstructs my vision of what is directly in front of me. Then I hear a voice. The very voice of God Almighty, the great I AM. He says to me, "Do not be afraid my child, Do not be dismayed for I am with you. I have caught your tears as they have fallen and held you in my love. I know your heart as I know the very number of hairs upon your head. I have come to offer peace and reassurance in your time of trouble." The lord then says to me that he is offering me 24 hours with my son. I can chose how to spend this time in any way that I feel is necessary toward healing my brokenness. I can choose the age that my son will appear in these 24hours, but I must choose to accept this knowing that when the 24 hours are over, I will have to give him back. I will have to say goodbye forever once again. Do I choose this blessing even with the impending heartache? My answer, is yes, when do we start? I would choose for Bryston to be the age of 6. This way I could tell him everything that I want to say and he could do the same but still have that childlike innocence. The lord then said, "So as I have promised, So it shall be. I will send your son tomorrow at dawn." And then he was gone. The birds are chirping once again and cool breeze is blowing.

I can barely sleep that night. I toss and turn in anticipation of Bryston's arrival.I cant stop my mind from racing. How will he appear? Will he knock on the door or just appear out of thin air? What will we do? How will he look or sound? Will he know me as his mommy? What will we do? What will I say? And before I even realize it, I'm asleep. The next thing that I know I'm yawning and stretching as the morning sun is filtering through the drapes. And then I hear it. A tiny voice asking, "Mommy?" I bolt straight up in bed and look at the foot of the bed. A boy, about 4 feet tall with chocolate brown hair and eyes looking at me. His eyes are so familiar and searching. He has a hint of freckles on his nose from being in the sun and his grin is his daddy's grin minus the two front teeth. He is everything I have ever imagined he would be. He is perfect. He is Bryston.

"Yes, baby?" He says, "I'm hungry." I pick him off the floor and bring him into me for a hug. And I as I breath in his scent, its heavenly, I ask, "What would you like baby? You can have anything in the world that you'd like?" He smiles a toothless smile and asks, "Even ice cream?" I laugh and say, "Yes baby, even ice cream." As I'm staring at him in disbelief over a bowl of chocolate ice cream I still cant believe that this is real, but I know how incredibly lucky I am to have even a second of this blessing. And then he looks at me with sad eyes and says, "Where have you been mommy, I've missed you." And here it is. Do I tell him that he's been dead? How do I explain this? So I say, "Well its a little complicated baby, but where you live, Mommy and Daddy cant be there for awhile. We haven't finished our work here yet. But you, you were a perfect little boy from the very beginning, so God gave you a pass. He decided that since you were so good here already that you got to go be with him in Heaven." Bryston, "Oh, is that why Great Grandma watches over me instead?" Taken aback I ask, "Great Grandma? Your with my Grandma up there?" Bryston explained, "Yeah, we do all kinds of fun stuff together! She's alot of fun!" I pause to take this in then reply,"I remember."

After breakfast I decide that we should do all the fun things that I thought we'd never get to do. First, fishing with Daddy. At the lake Bryston is wound up and excited to be with his dad. He is shadowing Ty's cast and mocking his daddy's serious I'm going to catch the big one face. Were laughing and betting who will catch the first fish. Ty helps him bate his hook and cast. I sit and watch in amazement and in wonder at the handsome little creature we created and said goodbye to far too soon. When Bryston catches a bluegill he yells and jumps up in excitement. Ty helps him real it in and I cheer them on. Bryston demands that we throw it back so it can grow to be big and strong like he wishes he could have. My eyes begin to sting and I call him over. "Hey buddy, I'm so sorry that you didn't get to be a big boy here with us. I would have liked nothing more than to have you with us everyday because we miss you and love you so much, and do you know what else? Every minute of everyday, I have you with me here anyway. In my heart, so that helps a little bit." Bryston says to me,"I know, I can feel it." I ask,"What do you mean?" "I mean that when you think about me and miss me, I can feel it." I say,"Really? I'm so glad to hear that baby," and give him a big hug. "Ready to go to the zoo?" Bryston smiled and said."YAY!"

Entering the zoo I see a sea of people and even more little boys dressed in similar red shirts that Bryston is wearing today. Inside I feel myself panic a little. I cant loose him again! As if he could read my thoughts Bryston reached up and takes my hand. I'm amazed at how it feels. It's as if his hand is a puzzle piece that's been missing and Ive just now found it to finish the puzzle that's been gathering dust, unfinished in the attic. We walk around the zoo looking at the animals. He is mesmerized by the sharks and laughs at the monkeys who are playing some sort of a tag and banana game. I ask, "Don't you have animals in Heaven?" He smiles and says, "Yes, but they are different here. Here they can be mean and hurt you or even themselves, but in Heaven they are all nice. No one needs anything, so there isn't any need to be be mean or hurt." I smile and say,"That sounds so nice." We stop and bye Cotton candy. Bryston devoured it as if it tasted like heaven itself. When he caught me staring at him inhaling his treat, we collapsed in giggles and I teased him about having my appetite. He rode on his daddy's shoulders the rest of the afternoon at the zoo. And if I didn't know better, it was as if he was a light as a feather. Ty didn't complain when he kicked his legs or leaned back too far. It was like he knew that Bryston couldn't get hurt today.

At home, I sit Bryston on my lap and read him a story. I read him a my great grandma Annie's poem and while I am reading I notice that he is mouthing the words. I stop and ask, "How do you know this?" Bryston looks up at me with those innocent eyes and states, "She tells it to me all the time." I am speechless. I still cant get a grip that this is really happening. I run my fingers through his hair as I finish reading. I then ask,"What do you want to do now, its gentleman's choice." He flashed me a smile and says, "Can we go to your church?" I ask, "My church?" "Yeah, the one where that man held your nose and put you under the water?" Amazed I ask,"You know about that?" "Yeah, I get to see lots of things up there. Things that have happened and things that will happen." I say, "Wow, Okay, lets go." As we enter the church, Bryston runs ahead of me. I walk softly and quietly down the isle. I feel like a stranger here. I notice that Bryston is kneeling as if tying his shoe. I ask,"You okay?" And then I notice what he is really doing. He is praying. His face looks so angelic in prayer that I don't repeat my question so I wont disturb him. When he is finished Bryston looks at me and says, "He says that your mad at him for taking me away. He says that you don't come back here anymore and that you don't talk to him much anymore." I feel my heart get heavier. I'm not quite sure how to address this. Bryston then says, "Mom, are you always going to be mad at him? You cant come see me if you are and I really want you to come see me and so does he!" As a tear trickles down my cheek I promise him that I will try not to be so mad anymore. And I tell him that all I have ever wanted is to be with him and that I will do anything to make sure that that happens. Bryston jumped up and ran into my arms and again I breath in his scent. I want to remember that until the day that Bryston greets me in Heaven. "Its getting late baby, we better get home."

Once home I begin to realize that the day is almost over. That soon I will put him in bed and when I wake up Bryston will no longer be here. I again start to feel my own smallness and how helpless I am in this situation. As I prepare to end our day, Ty burst through the door with presents and balloons in hand. He begins to belt out Happy Birthday at the top of his lungs in a cartoony voice that makes Bryston giggle. I smile and realize what is happening. We are going to celebrate Bryston's birthday early. We get to watch our son have a birthday for all the ones that we have missed and are going to miss. Bryston tears into his presents with a voracity that I have yet seen to be matched. He claps his hands in delight at his gifts and gives out the best thank you hugs that I could have ever imagined. We sing and Bryston blows out the 6 candles on the cake that Ty brought home. Bryston's lips are blue from the frosting and we tease him about smooching smurfs.

After the cake is gone and everyone had settled down for the evening, we all snuggle on the couch and watch a movie. I don't watch the movie because I am too busy mesmerizing his face and his reactions to the movie. He is so animated that his face could win Oscar for as interested as I am in watching it. He catches me staring and he sweetly smiles and whispers,"Ill miss you too mom." We snuggle in a little closer and I am grateful for this day. I am grateful for seeing his the color of his eyes and hearing the sound of his laugh. How can I be mad at God when he gave me this blessing? I cant be anything but in love in this moment. In love with this perfect little man that God sent me.

We must have fallen asleep on the couch because I again found myself yawning squinting at the light pouring in through the shades. I reached for Bryston but only find Ty's strong arm. He is gone. I lay there weeping and wishing for more time but still grateful. And somehow stronger than before. I feel peace for the first time in a long time. I get up and being a new day and a new way of grieving the son that I never knew, but now know.

I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.
Jeremiah 31:13 Registered & Protected


ღJessicaღ said...

I don't think anyone could of told a story better then you just did! How incredibly neat and even neater to think that Bryston was with you when you wrote it.

I would of said age 6 too. I just think about Jaydn and all the things that he truly understands now and even the conversations we have. It's the perfect age.

It's funny that you think of that church that way. I haven't thought of that church in so long! =)

I am teaching Jaydn Grandma's poem too......

I wash my hands this morning....=)

Christy said...

Oh Jennifer. That was the most painful post I have ever read. I couldn't help but sob through the entire thing. I guess I'm not "ready" to do that yet. Because "the perfect day" you describe is utterly just that. Fishing with dad, going to the zoo, a birthday party and a movie? What else is there in life, huh? :) I would give anything in the world to do those things with Chase. i think that is the "realm" that I don't let myself think about. Because I am too selfish to imagine "just one day". It sounds so painful to me right now. I don't know if I could put the pain past me and actually enjoy it the way you desccribe. All the smiles, all the joy, it's almost wicked when you know it's going to be over in 24 hours. But I am so proud of you for doing that--for writing that post. I am still crying but I know its a "good cry". I so wish I could think of Chase and be happy, but after reading your post, I know that I can't yet. I'm still so sad and in disbelief about it. I think if I had one day, I'd just waste it by staring at him and holding him for all the 24 hours. I want him at about 2 1/2 and I just don't want to let him go. Your story is amazing....painting such clear images in my mind. You would have been an amazing mother to Bryston here on earth....and you are doing a pretty amazing job of mothering him up there in heaven, too. Hugs to you,

Franchesca Cox said...

Wow, I am reading this from work and this makes me want to cry!!!! How beautiful. Your Bryston is so real and so very heavenly. I too cannot imagine just one day with my Jenna. I guess it is selfishness because at the end of the day I would lose her all over again. You are so strong and beautiful to write this post. I don't know if I have read many other things as beautiful as this. It really makes me wonder what I would do... I don't know. I will be thinking about this all day. Thank you so much. I absolutely loved and enjoyed reading this.


He & Me + 3 said...

Jennifer...what a beautiful beautiful post. That day you described was perfect and your son is perfect in every way.

Danielle said...

This was just amazing! I couldn't possibly write anything to do this justice... What a beautiful day you created :)

Jen said...

you have me in tears.. what a beautiful post..have you read mitch albom's "one more day".. its about a man and his deceased mother, but its quite touching..almost as yours! :) big hugs!

Karen said...

What a beautiful post. Lovely. Thank you for sharing it with us. I love that you did ordinary things with your Bryston, but they were extraordinary because you were together. I think so often of our George being with us - and my older children do as well - and it's never Disneyworld or something grand. It's the little every day moments that matter, that we treasure. Big, big (((hug). Thinking of you and your darling boy.

Holly said...

This is so amazinig. I love the day you spent with Bryston. I just love it. It had me in tears. I will definitely write a post. I'd love to picture a day with Carleigh.

Akul's mama said...

Your post touched me - imagining a day with our angel babies is so painfully beautiful.

Missing Kasey said...

You have such an amazing way with words. I love your day with Bryston, so vivid. I know he is sending you lots of love. Thinking of you!

Holly said...

Here is mine:

brian said...

You know, Jennifer, I'm a fireman with a heart of stone...But your blog really gets to me sometimes...

Tiffany said...

Wow. You are are an amazing writer. While reading your post I felt like I was you, experiencing every moment with your son. It was so great how you enjoyed the everyday moments that many of us mothers take for granted.

I think that I would pick my daughter at 18 months. She is my first born and after having my son I wish I could relive some of her younger years. With a first born, you're nervous, inexperienced and you only get one chance to make memories with them. After you have another child, you do things differently with the second and wish that you had known to do those with the first. I would have quit working and spent more quality time with her. We would have spent our days finger painting, blowing bubbles, reading books and playing dress up. I wish I could go back to that age and redo it. If only.... Thanks for giving me the opportunity to reflect on the past so I can move into the future. said...

Oh Jenn,

How poignant and lovely.

Oh, to have a day like that on earth.

Where would we be without Hope?

Praying for you through this journey

~Julie said...

p.s. that something special I promised went in the mail today :)

The Blue Sparrow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bree said...

I love this post. I've been thinking about this topic for days, working through my own Ella day. I'm going to post eventually. But, my day will inlclude wearing Ella in a snuggly against my chest, breastfeeding, and talking her for a walk on the beach. Thanks for sharing this. It's definately book worthy.

Nan & Mike said...

This was a beautiful post sweetie. And now you will be able to cherish these thoughts forever and read them whenever you want. I am having a tough time writing out anything just yet, in fact, I still have no tbeen able to write our delivery details yet, just hurts. But this was just beautiful. Hugs! Nan xo

Jus and Kat said...


What a poignant, beautiful post. I thought about it for a while and even ask my husband what he thought. He cut me off before I could even finish the question and said, "No, I couldn't do it." And I totally get why. 1 day is just not enough to capture back everything that we were robbed of. With Dylan being our firstborn, all the firsts that we missed out on were that much more difficult. Then, on top of that, I think the 24-hour period would just trigger a new grief cycle to start. And at the point that we're at on our grief journeys, I'm sure he doesn't want to be at ground zero again.

For me, to answer your question, I immediately went to a different place than most others have. In my head, I want to spend the day with Dylan as a grown man (25-ish). But I picture a specific day, his wedding day. I want to know what kind of man we've raised, what kind of friends he would've made, what kind of wife he would've chosen. And I've mentioned this before on my blog, but I want to dance Dylan's mother-son dance with him. What song would he have chosen? It would be one of the best and most memorable days of his life . . .

Thank you for letting me spout all that off!

Kat In Dylan's Memory

Rachel said...

Jennifer -

I am just a mess right now.

I'm at the same place you are - in wondering what it would be like at an age for a lost one.

I watched my brother-in-law play with my 3 year old niece the other day... painfully aware that he should also be tickling a 5 year old little girl with dark hair and dark eyes.

That is what I'd choose... to see Gracie exactly at how old she'd be here on earth right now. Which is close to what you chose for Bryston... and for all the same reasons - the childlike innocence with the ability to hold an amazing conversation.

I imagine that Gracie would tell me the same things... that Heaven is beyond what I can dream about, and that she is happy and whole. And that she is especially fond of a boy with chocolate hair and eyes and freckles.

Mr. Daddy said...

I have never left a comment that I can remember. But I know that Rach has. All I can say is this post touched me on so many levels that I will be days mulling my thoughts and feelings over.

As I read your post the memory of the song from the movie Message In a Bottle, played in my head.
the song is by Edwin McCain (I could not ask for more) That day you had, seems to me to be that moment for you... Cherish it!!!

"And right here in this moment is right were I’m meant to be
Here with you here with me

These are the moments I thank God that I’m alive
These are the moments I’ll remember all my life
I’ve got all I’ve waited for
And I could not ask for more"

I don't know if I will make the time line to write a post about this on Rach's blog, so don't feel obligated to put my name in the drawing.
But you have certainly stirred feeling and thoughts that I want to express.

For now right in this moment is right where you are meant to be..

Peace and Grace be with you and yours

MissKayz-x said...

I know this is a long time after you posted this, but I read someone else's perfect day, and it prompted me to write my own, and then they linked it back to you. I'd just like to say thank you, it was such a beautiful idea and i think i am at the right point in my grief for this. I did cry, and I do wish so terribly it was real, as we all do i think!
Mine is here, if you want to read :)