Sunday, August 15, 2010

Final Resting Place: the Thoughts of a Mourning Mother

What is written below is from Keva, my dear wife.

Often husbands brag on their wives, probably not nearly enough, though. Many times that admiration comes off as a comparison of her to other women. Sometimes there is a place for that. That is not what I am trying to express here.

As I have witnessed the one person I love more than any other on earth go through the most painful event she has ever had to endure, I can say that I am very proud of her. But I do not compare her with other women, at least in the sense of saying, "Keva handled this so well where other women would not have done nearly as well." No, my comparison, and my pride in her is wholly attributed to the work of God in her life through the gospel of Christ. In other words, I think about who she is now compared with the Keva she was before Christ.

Pre-Christ Keva could never have said, "God you are good, and I trust you!" all the while weeping, longing to hold her son in her arms again. The Keva who had not experienced the transformation that comes through a deep trust in Jesus who traded places with her on the cross could never have lifted her eyes to heaven in the midst of deep pain and said, "Thy will be done."

She is not perfect. But she is a saint. Not because of what she has done, but because of who God has made her in Christ. I love her more deeply now than ever. Here are her words

"As I try to process the death of Chai, there are many things that I remember as key moments. One of them is that which surrounds the death itself. When Chai died we stepped into a whole new world. One filled with funeral and burial arrangements. I have been fortunate in my life to have not lost very many people who are close to me. Therefore, I was completely unaware of the process of burying my son. Thankfully we had people around who stepped up in big ways to walk us through what that entailed.

To this day I have a hard time thinking about him once his soul left his body. I only want to remember him alive. The moment he died, Trevor and I kissed him goodbye and handed him over to the doctors. However, once I handed him over, I was filled with grief and anxiety over what would happen next to him. Would they hold him tenderly? Where would they take him?Would he be left alone? The nurses dressed him and took pictures of him, for which we are grateful, but I have a hard time thinking about that process. They had to hold him and dress him and position/pose him for the pictures. It is hard to think of anyone holding him and preparing him for what was to come.

During the swirling chaos that had become our life the week of his death (buying funeral clothes for the boys, dry cleaning Trevor's suit, picking a funeral home, making the arrangements, picking a cemetery and his final "resting place"), I was at peace with God. As heartbroken as I was, I new that God loved Chai more than I ever could. That He was not taking him to punish me, and that Chai was in His arms and one day I will see my sweet boy again.

Going to a funeral home and making the arrangements for your son's burial is not something I would ever want any parent to go through. When they walk you to a room filled with adult size caskets and point to the only casket they carry for infants its gut-wrenching. I looked at the casket and was screaming inside. "This is it?" "This is what i have to choose, there are no others to pick from?" Then she said something that shook me to my core, "He can always be buried in the box he is currently in." I had not processed yet where he was and what had been done with his sweet little body from the time I handed him away to this. The fact that he was there in that very building laying in a box somewhere all alone crushed me. She then proceeded to ask if we wanted to see the box he was in, in case we wanted to use it. I nearly collapsed, I said,"NO! Dont touch him, don't move him, leave him be." I know she was not trying to be insensitive, but she was talking about my son, who was laying in a cold plastic coffin wrapped in nothing but a blanket. He was all alone and I wanted to scream, "IT'S NOT FAIR!!!"

The day of the funeral was very surreal. My extended family was in my home taking care of us. They helped me and the boys get dressed. I honestly don't know what we would have done without them and our close friends that never left our side. What I remember most about that day, is the strength God gave me. I had been asking friends and family to pray on my behalf, that God would give me the physical strength to walk and stand in honor of my son. I did not want to be wheeled into the church (for those of you reading that may not know, i had an emergency c-section w/Chai). He was so gracious to me, I knew as I walked the aisle, stood for songs and received hugs from everyone there, that God had answered my prayers. He lovingly held me up and where Chai had no voice, Trevor and I stood for him.

A month after Chai's death, I still struggle with the finality of it. On Thursday (one month after his death), I could barely get out of bed filled with such grief. But I did and went with Trevor to do something that now and forever will be a new normal. We went and shopped for flowers to put on Chai's grave. It was a very sad reality. We walked around trying to find a flower that was youthful, but not girly. I finally settled on white gerber daisies. However, we only found two. I was crushed and so we settled on white daisies. I got home began to arrange them and get them ready to take to Chai, but as I sat in this new normal was so saddened, because these flowers are NOT the ones i wanted for him. I told Trevor that Chai deserves the best flower, the one that no matter where we are when we see a Gerber Daisy, it will forever remind us of him. It will be special, like him.

I have felt this week overwhelmed with this aspect of his death, hence my writing in hopes of relieving some of the hurt. But sitting in church today I was reminded as we took the Lord's supper of something very sweet. The following was handed to me by my loving husband as we partook.

'As I take the Lord's supper I think of each element in two ways, 1. Remembering, 2. Waiting.

Broken body on the cross, Jesus taking my place.

Bread can only be made by man, This reminds me that I can now image God like I am created to do and will one day do that perfectly.

The Blood of Jesus shed for my sin

Wine is celebratory. Jesus said before he died we would drink it w/him at the the marriage supper of the Lamb when he returns, in his Kingdom. (Matthew 26:27-29; Rev. 20:9)

This reminds me that we will share a meal with Jesus for eternity with Chai sitting right there with us.'

Praise Jesus!"

Keep praying for Keva, for me, for our sons. The pain of the broken creation is still very real to us...and I hope that we always feel it. For it is that pain that pushes us to cry out to God for the New Creation. Therein lies our hope. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.