As I write this, I’m caught in a parallel universe.
Circumstance and spontaneity have me out of town on this anniversary of Duncan’s birthday. Not Toledo, where he was born; not Nashville, where he is missed; but northwest Florida, in a little panhandle city where he was ever only a dream yet to be dreamt.
It is strange, being back in a place where I spent many years, filled almost entirely with only the best of memories. Yet today, as I walk familiar sidewalks amid palm trees, concrete, and khaki, I feel mostly sadness and sorrow.
It will pass. Most likely by the time to sun streams onto the Gulf on Friday morning. But for today, I mourn.
I mourn for the carefree days of a seventeen-year-old whose biggest dilemma was changing her major – not the number of her children.
I mourn for the flippancy with which birth control pills were ordered for acne – not contraception.
I mourn for the naivety of a young woman who thought that only a grown man could break her heart – not a premature one.
I mourn for the girl I was even while embracing the woman I’ve become.
I mourn for my husband – a father with only one of his two sons.
I mourn for my mother – who ordered a monogrammed stocking that will hang empty this Christmas.
I mourn for Seth – who plays so well with others, and yet goes to bed by himself each night.
Today, I mourn.
But in the morning, I will rejoice.
For I know that Duncan has not known a day of mourning in his entire existence.
He can’t miss his father; not in the presence of his Father.
A toy-filled stocking can’t compare to the crowns he casts at Jesus’ feet.
He doesn’t long to play with Seth, for he dances each day with the saints and angels.
Our planet has traveled half-way around the sun since we last saw the sun rise together. Have you been watching? I know the Bible tells us that one day in heaven is like a thousand – so I know that when I say I feel like you’ve been gone “forever,” you truly know how that feels, don’t you? You’ve already been in heaven “forever.”
We miss you here, though, sweet boy.
It’s hard to imagine what you’d be like right now. If you had lived the day of your birth, you might very well still be in the hospital – not necessarily doing the things that Seth did when he was six months old. Had you stayed with me until you were due, you’d not even be three months old! So you see, it’s hard to picture what isn’t, in specifics. I just know I wish you were here.
Having said that, though, I have to tell you: I wouldn’t change what happened. Any of it. I know I said, before you were born, that I’d “undo” you if I could have. I’m glad I couldn’t. I’m glad I was your mommy, for however long.
I’m glad you were “made” in Toledo – the same place as your brother. I’m glad you went to the annual family get together in February. I’m glad you were with us in our new home in Tennessee. I’m glad I got to take you swimming in Florida with Nonna and Seth. I’m glad you sat on the bank of the lake with me when Seth “caught” his first fish. I’m glad you were born in the same delivery room as I waited for your brother. I’m glad that you were a “Tuesday’s child” – full of grace. I’m glad that I “see” you every day in our home.
There were days, earlier this spring, when I wasn’t glad I was your mommy. But today I am. And tomorrow I will be. And every day after that until I see you again.
Love and kisses forever,