I chased my tiny boy up and down the beaches of New Jersey this weekend. I couldn’t help but think of the tiny boy in Orlando who’d lost his life just a week earlier as I watched Dixon splash in the waves of the high tides. I felt so very lucky that I could carry his wet body back to our hotel and as he reached for me to nurse him and put him to bed I felt grateful that despite feeling this profound sadness, it does not even scratch the surface of theirs. He reached for me more than usual this weekend. I think he can sense how upset this little boy’s death has made me. I think about it and hope that as they lay him to rest today, that I will stop getting so choked up each time I look at my son or at Lane’s sweet photographs online… because I am so sad for their loss and so selfishly grateful it isn’t my own. Even though it feels very deep in my heart and very deep in my soul.
I don’t understand why God takes children. I never will and I find it very difficult to just trust his plan when things like this happen. Because I can’t see the good in taking a child from a family. I’m almost afraid to type that out. It’s like publicly admitting my faith feels shattered. Which meant it probably wasn’t that strong. I’m not sure I’d survive the loss of my child. I am not sure I’d come back from that. I don’t know how people just trust it’s God’s plan and it makes me wonder why I can’t just trust that there is a reason for these things. Because what is the reason for a child to die… in any way but especially like that? I’m very grateful for how private they are. I am so glad to not have to see photos of that funeral. Selfish as that may sound.
But I know the days will pass and I won’t think of it so much. With each passing day I will have less sadness and the news wwill not be filled with his images, reminding me daily of this horrible loss. But his mother and father will, everyday for the rest of their lives. They’ll have this brokenness forever. Each time they pass a photo. Each time they find a hidden toy he’d left behind. They’ll forever have this sadness and I’m so sorry for that. So very sorry.
I am, unfortunately sometimes, an empath. I feel things that I shouldn’t sometimes. It makes me feel embarrassed and weak. God knows it must sound crazy to weep for a child that isn’t even someone I know. I’m pretty sure my husband is ready to kill me. And Devlynn keeps reminding me they will not get attacked by a gator in our small town but I now cannot help but worry about the “what ifs” as I pack them up for both camp and Belize. It’s hard for me. And I try and hide the anxiety of it all but it’s not the easiest battle to fight alone and internally. And I worry about what people think of me when I say these things out loud. I’ve really tried to stop letting the inside stuff, out.
I think about The Secret Life of Bees. In it there is a story of a wailing wall. A place to go to let go of the sadness; the worries of the world. I think perhaps I need one of my own so I don’t find myself hiding swollen eyes at baseball. Seems silly to be so sad but I just can’t stop it sometimes. I need a place that I can tuck my sadness into so that I am not crippled by it all the time. I joke all the time with Kevin I need a new brain. But it’s not really a joke. I’d give anything not to feel all the things.
Tonight though, I’ll hold my tiny boy a little closer. In this tragedy I’ve taken away that life is precious and short and you never know. And my baby will only be my baby for so long. And so I’ll hold him and know that Matt and Melissa Graves would give anything to hold their son one more time. It’s a privilege I won’t take for granted.