We are rapidly approaching our twins’ first birthday. In just a couple weeks they will be 11 months old already. My emotions have been all over the place lately as a result. I’m excited about planning another first birthday party, but also dreading it and procrastinating even beginning because there should be two. I am amazed every single day at how far Asher has come in his short little life and thrilled to watch him grow and move past the infancy stage and the first birthday marks that moment in time, but……there should be two. So it’s just hard.
This last year has been the absolute most difficult year of my life. But it’s also been one of the most joy filled years of my life as well. How is that even possible? Bear with me a little and I’ll share with you how that’s possible.
In those first few months after Luke died, I didn’t think I’d ever find joy again. Like, EVER. Maybe part of me wanted and needed to hang on to the deepest, darkest parts of my grief because it was all I had left of him…..so I thought. But in reality, it isn’t all I have left of him. I have sweet reminders of him everywhere.
I’ve mentioned before that butterflies are our symbol for Luke. Even the kids know this and we suddenly see them all the time. They are always so excited when we see them too because they remind them of Luke and I can’t help but smile because I take them as my sign from Jesus that Luke is happy and loved beyond measure in heaven. Most of the time though, that smile is accompanied by tears running down my cheeks (as they are in this very moment as I’m typing), because while it makes me overcome with joy knowing my baby is happy and healthy and whole; it also makes me sad that he’s not those things here on earth with me.
We are also fortunate enough to know exactly what Luke would look like right now. We don’t ever have to wonder if his eyes would be the same blue all of the kids eyes are. Or if he’d be a blondie too just like our other boys. We can look at Asher and physically see what Luke would look like. Again, immense joy in that but also immense pain in it.
How could anyone look at this sweet face and not be filled with joy?!
It’s seriously exhausting going between the two vastly contrasting emotions continuously throughout the day. But I’d rather do just that than choose to live in one place or the other. I say that because by choosing to live in my grief and despair, I would obviously be missing out on SO MUCH in life with my husband and our beautiful children here. I would be missing out on the good that God has in store for me and missing out on doing His work here on earth. However, by never visiting that grief, I would be missing out on remembering my baby. Let me explain what I mean by that: for me, personally, I cannot think of Luke and think of the happiness that he brought and still brings to our lives without the pain of our reality hitting too. I can sit here and remember his sweet features and how excited I was at each ultrasound watching the boys interact with one another in my belly, and that thought brings with it the sad thought of “they would be so cute interacting with each other here today too”, or something else along those lines. I can and do experience both joy and grief at the same time. Where the challenge for me lies, is not letting the grief and despair suck the joy away. Something I have begun to do when I get overwhelmed with despair is focus on the joyful truths I know:
1) Luke existed here on earth and he exists still in heaven.
2) he is happy & whole and very much alive today and I will get to see him again someday.
3) Asher will get the chance to be reunited with his twin brother some day too and I will get to witness them together. 💙💙
4) heaven is a real place and one day I will experience all of its glory.
5) (the most important piece here is the glue that puts it all together) Jesus loves me and died for me that I could go to heaven one day and actually get to witness all of the above truths firsthand.
All of this to say, whatever you are struggling with today; whatever grief threatens to overtake your day or even your life; focus on the joyful truths in life. The truths that can be found through knowing Jesus and reading His Word. List out those truths that bring you joy and bring that list out in those darkest of dark moments. Thank God for those things and remember that Jesus loves you above all else and He wants good for you both here on earth and in the afterlife in heaven. 💙 I know those things won’t negate the pain you feel now, but it at least will help you not get stuck in the quicksand of despair.