On September 22, 2010, my world was shattered...
My husband and I had to say goodbye to our son, Jack Benjamin. No parent should ever have to say goodbye to a child, especially a child who was so loved and so wanted.
I consider myself to be a very happy and optimistic person. Sure I've had struggles, but I always prefer to look on the "sunny" side of life, and things usually turn out okay. However, losing Jack will remain a mystery to me for as long as I'm on Earth. Everyone told me "Everything happens for a reason." I know they meant well, but I don't know if I will ever see a "reason" for losing my baby. But since I cannot change what has happened, I have to get through the pain so that I can live the life that Jack would want me to live. We know now that Jack wasn't meant for Earth, that he was an angel all along. We just didn't know that then, and we had been excitedly planning for the life we thought we were going to have.
I have crawled through tremendous amounts of grief by reminding myself daily that I am still blessed. I am married to the most sincere, loving, sweetest and funniest man in the world. I have an amazing family on both sides. I love my job and feel rewarded by it almost daily. And I know that I am lucky for all of the gifts given to me in my life. There will not be a day that I forget about my angel, but there are still reasons to smile. And I know that our lives were made that much better for having our sweet baby boy in them, even if only for a short time.
So now to the title of the blog, "A Little Bit of Rain." Since most of my close friends and family know the story of how we lost Jack, there's no need to mention it here. But I was so inspired about what happened a few weeks later that I felt I needed to write it out. The more often I acknowledge the wonderful things in life, the easier the journey toward healing will be.
A few weeks after losing Jack, Jon and I had to return to the hospital, to the very site at which my dreams and hopes were lost. We had a follow-up appointment with our doctors to talk about the "future." Being in those little rooms again was simply awful. My blood pressure shot up, and at any moment I thought I was going to toss my cookies.
However, the appointment went well. What happened to Jack is what they consider a "lightning-strike." We had a 0.05% chance of it happening before, and a 0.05% chance of it happening again. To look at it another way, we have a 99.95% chance of having a healthy baby in the future. Funny how un-comforting statistics are when you're the 0.05% on the tragic side.
After losing a child, the next child you have is considered your "rainbow" baby. I guess the phrase "After the rain comes the rainbow" is supposed to be of comfort to women who have lost their babies. Right now, this seems wrong. But since our loss, many women have come to me saying that they too had lost babies in the past. Though they miss their lost babies, they thank God every day for their rainbow. I know how powerful this is... my amazing husband is a rainbow baby, and I thank God every day for him. But that day I couldn't think about the rainbow. All I could think about was the rain.... I wanted Jack back.
Earlier that day we got a call from the hospital chaplain... Jack was ready to come home. We had until 4:30 when they closed to pick up his ashes. We got to the office at 4:44. I was distraught. Jon knocked and knocked and knocked on the door, but no one answered. I was ready to give up, but Jon refused to leave, knowing that our son was right behind that locked door.
We walked over to the information desk, and I mumbled through a tremendous amount of tears, "We need to pick up our son." The poor receptionist must have felt terrible, because she immediately paged the on-call chaplain, who graciously rushed down and opened the door for us.
We walked over to the Chapel and sat down. I was amazed at how tiny and light the box was. I don't know what I expected, but holding a tiny box that contained your hopes and dreams was a little too much for me to handle. It still felt so surreal. Surely this couldn't have happened to us.
We cried for a long time. I told Jon the night before that I felt guilty that I couldn't talk to Jack. I talked about him all the time, but never directly to him. So there in the hospital Chapel, mommy and daddy talked to Jack. I was happy that he was finally able to hear me.
We drove to the hospital separately, so after we pulled ourselves together, we headed in opposite directions. As I walked to my car, I felt empty. I felt guilty for talking to the doctor about the future when all I wanted was for that future to include Jack. I was happy that I was able to talk to him, but sad that he wasn't still in my belly, kicking away.
As I walked through the parking lot, I felt warm rain on me. Perfect, I thought; Rain to match my mood. I thought it was odd that it was such warm rain, since it was a chilly day. But I walked slowly, letting it rain on me as I cried.
I looked around me, and I noticed that it didn't really seem to be raining anywhere else. The sun was out and it was so bright, and there was nothing else in the sky except a few white clouds. It was so bright, in fact, that I looked up to see if I could see a rainbow, but I didn't.
I got into my car, and also noticed that there was no rain on any cars except my own. I even had to use the windshield wipers, but all the others cars were dry. There was also no rain on the ground.
I sat in awe for a second, still crying, when I finally realized that I had received a "sign" from Jack. The warm rain was just for me, and I truly believe that it was him letting me know that he heard me talking to him. I was certainly not a person who believed in things like that before, and I am also not a person who needs to ask for signs in order to know that miracles happen. But that experience was exactly what I needed. I knew he had made it safely to Heaven, but I was happy to know that he still knew I was his mommy and that I loved him.
I know I will not heal overnight, and I will probably always have a Jack-sized hole in my heart. But he came into our lives for a reason, and the best way to honor him is to be the happy, friendly, positive person that was chosen to be his mother in the first place.
Everyone has thunderstorms in their lives at some point. Horrible things happen every day, and when it happens to you, it feels like you're hitting rock bottom. I can honestly say that losing Jack is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. But if I can survive this and still be strong, then maybe some of the smaller storms that come my way won't seem so bad.