15th November 2016 …. the day I buried my baby boy.
Even that sentence just does not make sense.
Everything about it is wrong.
So. Very. Wrong.
Yet, it is fact.
That is what we had to do.
Even thinking about that seems surreal.
Did I really do that?
Did I actually survive that?
And yes, yes we did.
It was quite a day.
Is it strange to say that I think back to it with a bit of a smile? Let me explain…..
I didn’t sleep very well the night before, heck I haven’t slept very well since 20th June 2016. Morning seemed to be a long time coming on 14th November and yet when it came, it was here too soon. How does one get through this, I remember thinking to myself? How exactly am I meant to be able to do this? I cannot do this, but do this I must.
Ben and I chatted with our little gang explaining to them what would happen today, they asked questions and we answered them as honestly and openly as we could. I’m so glad that we did. Children need truth, not harsh truth, but simple truth. They each said a little goodbye to their baby brother, each doing so in their own unique way, showing their individual personalities and how they were processing things.
And all too soon it was time to go to church. And back they came – those wobbly knees and legs with just no strength in them. Ben and I had discussed with our minister what we would like for Elijah’s thanksgiving service. We wanted to honour our wee man, and honour our great big God. But by the end of it, Elijah had made us so proud and God had covered us with His wings and blessed us in many ways.
We had no idea who would be at the service – we were only really expecting family and a few close friends. But as we stood at the doors, I was ….. gosh I do not even know how to describe it, I was …. overwhelmed, humbled, touched, blown away, so very grateful.
Each face that passed us by, touched my heart ….. friends from my Carlow team, old work colleagues, teachers from our children’s pre school and primary school, Ben’s work colleagues, friends from our Abaana teams, members of our church family (young and old….and in-between!) the nurses, the doctors, workers from Childrens Heartbeat Trust, friends from University, friends from school, parents from the school gate, people I did not even know but had been praying for our son, our friends from the ward whose little ones were so very sick back at the hospital …. and the list could go on. To each and everyone of you who came – thank you so much, I will never forget the love that you showed in taking the time to come. It meant more than words can ever say.
I remember thinking at one point – all of these people know about our precious little Elijah, they are here today because his story has touched them. His little tiny footprints have left their mark on all of these people’s hearts ….. and in some way that helped ease the pain that was breaking my heart.
Our minister is a wonderful man, he truly is. And what he said at that service, we will never forget. To hear someone else say that Elijah’s life had significance …. to hear someone else say that his life had purpose ….. to hear someone else say that God used Elijah in mighty ways ….. I was so proud to be able to say – that’s my boy he’s talking about.
Ben and I both spoke at the service too. I wanted people to know who Elijah was. Despite him only being here for just short of 5 months, he had a feisty little, fun loving personality that I needed to tell people about.
That day was horrendously beautiful. God took what was the ugliest, cruelest, most hideous of days and made it beautiful.
Elijah’s life had significance.
He made an impact on this world.
And as we said our final, “see you soon, wee man”, we rejoiced in the truth that we would.