Saturday, November 28, 2009


Giving thanks. Surprisingly (or not), it came easier than I expected. I woke up on Thanksgiving and looked at Zac, Bo and Whit, and I felt love, peace, strength. Of course, throughout the day, I had my visions of Webb, and I could almost see him standing, playing, laughing with his brothers. It seems no matter how our family is sitting, standing or moving, I always see a giant hole where Webb is supposed to be. I keep thinking about this year of pain and what it has meant. All the events that have given me a new perspective run through my mind. Enduring pain is horrible; grieving is unbearable, especially when you're grieving your child. But it seems little (and huge) life lessons have come out of each. Having the miscarriage, dealing with strange (and common) childhood illnesses and struggling with relationships: all of these things have taught me about the fragility of life, the need to seek strength from Christ and the importance of facing my fears head on. Losing Webb is too big to break down so easily, but I am starting to see how the pain, the tears and the heartache are shifting me, molding me and carrying me into what I will become. Am I ready to give thanks for that? No, certainly not. Not now, and I cannot imagine ever. But it seems all of the pain that came with this year has made me see what I am thankful for in a different way. And I am thankful for so, so much. I am thankful for my parents who raised me to be strong and stand on two feet - I bet they never knew how much I would have to draw from the strength they gave me. I am thankful for my husband who- like no other- knows how I feel and without a word can tell me he understands, he knows and we will be ok. I am thankful for friends who did not give up when things got tough. These friends are here on November 28, 2009 as much as they were there on December 23, 2008. Every phone call, email, card, text, visit, dinner, smile and hug is forever etched in my heart. Angels on earth. I am thankful for Bo and Whit, my two creative, silly, sensitive, loving boys who fill me up, pick me up and remind me why we must go on. I am thankful they saved our lives. And I am thankful they have no idea they saved our lives. I am thankful for Webb and the short 19 months I got to hold him, love him and raise him. I am thankful I knew his sweet soul and I would not trade those 19 months. Not even if I knew the pain that losing him would bring. I am a better, stronger person for being his mother, and my love for him is endless. Finally, I am most thankful for my God, my savior Jesus Christ. He has literally carried me through these horrific months. He has rocked me, guided me, pulled me out of the mud and mire and set my feet on solid ground. Without Him, there would be no children to love, no friends to call, no reason to live. He is the reason for everything, and I am learning to rely on him as my sole source of strength. He is getting us through, and we are truly thankful for it. This year, Thanksgiving was like none before. But somehow, that wasn't entirely a bad thing.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

He Knows what He's Doing

This past week has been torture. Last Saturday night, Bo got sick again. High fever, throwing up, moaning in pain. Then his eyes started swelling, which had me in full-fledged panic mode. I could tell it looked like an allergic reaction, but my pediatrician wanted us to take him to "be seen," and the only place to "be seen" on Sunday is the emergency room. Back to that place. Zac took him (I still can't bear the thought), and he was sent home with a "fever" and they said the swollen eyes were due to an allergy. They did not test him for flu, even though I suspect that's what he had. They did a urine test since he had HSP a few weeks ago. As I said on a previous post, damage to the kidneys is the most severe side effect of HSP, and the way they test for that is to measure protein in the urine. His urine showed traces of protein (of course), so we spent the week having blood and urine tests. Another round of tests. Everyone, including my pediatrician, assured me they thought he was fine, but exactly one year ago, we were doing similar tests on Webb and they were saying the same thing. And he was not fine. Back then, my instinct kept me having more and more tests run on Webb. This time, with Bo, it was my fear. Now my only real instinct when it comes to the health of my children is fear. Because regardless of what I know is rational, I had the worst happen, and the chances of the worst happening were low. Why would this time be any different? Two tortuous days of waiting for tests results laster, the outcome was different. Bo is fine. His kidneys were unaffected. The trace protein was just that - trace amounts, and it was probably due to the fever. I found myself crying out to God, shouting praises to Him, thanking Him for positive test results. But this is no way to live. Every fever, every cough, every hurt tummy has me fearing the worst. Is it cancer? A deadly disease? Kidney failure? The extremes are no longer distant possibilities. My child had a brain tumor. And died. And I did everything right. Can you even imagine how vulnerable that makes me feel? How out of control? I know God is there. I know He has a plan. I know all of that, but when I am trying so desperately to hold on to my children, to keep them HERE, it seems far away. He seems far away. My soul has been battered and bruised. A small part of me wants to place my boys inside a bubble and leave them there. There are so many things that can happen!!! This world is so unsure, so dangerous sometimes. I had thirty perfect years of ignorant bliss, and now the band-aid has been ripped away. It's hard. So what do I do? I pray, of course, and cling to the Scripture, to God's Word. Bo's favorite song right now is an oldie but goodie we learned growing up. The words are so simple, and I've heard them a million times, but lately I find myself listening to it even when he's not in the car: "The Lord has given His plan to us, no need to fuss, He knows what He's doing and He will always take care of us if we will follow Him. God's way is the best way." He knows what He's doing. I know that. He is taking care of us. I know that. It was his perfect plan to give me Webb on the same day He gave me Whit, and it was His plan to bring him home December 26, 2008. I know that, even though I don't understand that. But I am not supposed to. I will still follow Him. His way is the best way, but His thoughts are not our thoughts and His plans are not our plans. Lord, please help us to remember that. Please drive every ounce of fear out of our hearts. Assure us You know what You're doing. And give Webb a kiss from me. Amen

Sunday, November 1, 2009

She'll be alright - just not tonight

To say this weekend was emotional would be a huge understatement. It was rough. I counted on Halloween being hard. I have so many amazing memories of my three boys last year, especially my little lion, Webb, who was crawling/walking with his long tail dragging behind him. I never dreamed it would be the last costume he would wear. I remember pulling the twins in the wagon and how happy Webbie was with his huge mane and pumpkin flashlight. It was a good memory. This year, Batman and Robin were clearly missing their other sidekick, and it was a knife to the heart, starting with Bo and Whit's Halloween parade, when it was obvious to no one except us how much was wrong with that day. How could he not be here for this?? I could just see him standing beside his brothers, walking proudly in his costume. It looked like a big, gaping hole was present in every picture. Of course, there is a big, gaping hole in our hearts and in our lives, so that is not surprising.

After Halloween, we moved on to November 1- today- All Saints' Day. I went to church and stood as my child's name was read among the few church members who have died this year. Tears slid down my face as they rang the bell for "Webber Bennett Broach," and Dr. Gil told a story about what he has meant to the church. It was surreal. I had prepared for it, but how much can you really prepare yourself for that moment? I took communion and sat at the alter where Zac and I got married, where my 3 boys were baptized and where we said goodbye to Webb 10 months ago. So much joy, so much pain in such a tiny little spot in the church. And such a big God, there for it all. The peace that passes understanding washed over me in the midst of my grief, which was all-encompassing in that somewhat public moment. I don't need a day to remind me my child is gone. I don't need a moment of silence to bring me back to the reality of this living nightmare. But having his death recognized, seeing his name among the saints, did remind me of how far we've come this year. I was reminded of the love I have felt, the blessings we have received and the God who has gotten us to November 1 of an impossible year. Somewhere in the midst of this pain, I feel the Holy Spirit, assuring me we'll be alright. And I know we will be. Just not tonight.