Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Glue

I keep getting the question of how I'm doing.
I'm not sure what to say, usually.
It's hard.
This is hard.
But not as hard as watching him die for 16 months.
He went into respiratory failure at the age of 10 months.
Watching him suffer through respiratory failure for 16 months was harder than this.
Much, much harder.
Both physically and emotionally.
Because no doctor could ever tell me exactly why Bradley was dying.
But at night I held my son while he struggled to breath.
Every time I kissed Bradley I wondered if it would be my last.
That was the hardest 16 months of my life.
And while I miss him terribly; the suffering is over.
Imagine someone on the edge of death for 16 months.
Imagine being the caregiver.
Imagine how well I sleep now.
Imagine how safe I know he is.

 I had a dream about Bradley the other night.
In the dream I took Bradley to visit a friend from high school.
She passed the summer before Bradley passed.
When I saw her in my dream, I took him out of the stroller
and I handed him to her so she could hold him and meet him.
And she stared at him for a while; then looked up at and me and said,
"He's a very special boy Mary!"
I told her I knew he was.
I woke up knowing they are together.
We went to our first funeral since Bradley's on Monday.
My great aunt. She was a very close sibling to my Grandma Wanda.
My grandma has been gone for 15 years.
And I've not had much contact with my great aunt since Grandma has been gone.
But we are family, so we were invited to the viewing.
When we walked in, my children really wanted to see her.
They were drawn to her and Charlotte almost jumped out of my arms and into the casket.
And then it came time to close the casket.
And her husband of 76 years was wheeled up to her to say his goodbyes.
His cries and love poured out of him.
He called her name again and again and told her how much he loved her.
And our tears flowed freely as we listen to the sobs of his love.
And when we followed the casket out of the relief society room,
 Jacob grabbed my hand and told me he understood how much my great uncle missed his wife.
Jacob said he wanted to talk to him and tell him he understood how he felt.

I wonder all the time, why my kids have to go through this.
Why do they have this experience of playing in the cemetery?
Even taking their friends there with them to visit their brother?
And showing their friends Bradley's funeral video slideshow!?!
It's so weird. Most 7 year old boys don't do that!
I'm starting to think that they are here to be an example to me.
To be examples to me of how to deal and cope with MY grief.
Miss him. Remember him. Cry about him.
And then get up and do what I was doing before.
I think that is what Bradley would want me to do too.
I love my kids.
I'm glad I've had each one of them.
I'm glad that Jacob and Charlotte and Maddy and I can hold hands through this.
And I think that was one of the reasons why God sent us Bradley.
Bradley came to glue us closer together.
To challenge us to become more.
And to help us stick together through it.