Five years ago tonight, I crawled into bed next to my very pregnant wife. She was more than ready to have a baby, even if the thought of actually giving birth to a baby terrified her.
I’ve spent five years wondering what I would have done different if I had known that I would never crawl into bed next to her again. Would it change anything if I knew she would be gone in a few short hours and our daughter would be on life support systems in the NICU at CS Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor?
Five years and I don’t have answers to those questions…I don’t have answers to the most of the questions that still roll around in my head.
I don’t expect I ever will.
Five years and so much is different and so much is still the same.
In the eyes of the world, I know I’m “moving on” well; I’m “getting over” the loss, as it were.
I’m remarried. I have a family. Life is good.
…life is good. I have reasons to smile every day. I have children to play with and hug. I have a beautiful wife…and I love crawling into bed next to her every single night. Some people have even used the word “restoration” and congratulated me on where I’m at now...I prefer to think of it all as my new normal.
…the ache of loss is still there.
Every time my son reaches a new milestone, there’s a reminder, from somewhere deep in the back of my head, that I won’t get to see Miranda grow up. I often wonder if a day will come when he will do something new and I won’t hear that low voice.
I still have people tell me they don’t think they could endure what I’ve been through. I don’t think I’ve ever responded to that out loud, usually keeping my thoughts to myself. I think about how they would either lean into their faith, their family, and their friends, where they would find strength they never knew they had, or they would shrivel into a pitiful reflection of their former selves, with eyes that never look to a brighter future. I don’t know what drives people down the path they choose, but I will never be ungrateful that my path was/is the first.
Five years later and there are still days when it feels like it all just happened yesterday.
Five years later and there are days when it feels like something I saw in a movie once, something that happened to someone else.
Five years later and I choose to find strength in my brokenness, joy in my family, and victory in my Savior. Because, five years later, I truly believe God can help us find beauty in the ashes.