I have known Kelly longer than I care to admit because it reminds me that I am fast approaching 40. She is one of my favorites. One of the people that I love most in the whole world. And she, unfortunately, is the only person that I knew in March of 2010 that understood exactly how we felt when God took our little boy to heaven. Almost 12 years ago God took one of hers to heaven. Hunter was 3 years old. Over the last 12 years I have talked to Kelly about Hunter countless times. Not because I wanted her to re-live her sadness, but because I wanted to understand. I wanted to hear about this little boy that she loved so much. I wanted to remember with her and be part of that life so that I understood on the days that it seemed no one did. I realized after I had Kathryne that no matter how badly I wanted to understand what Kelly had been through, no matter how much I loved her, I did not have a clue.
The way a parent loves a child is not something that is learned. It is all consuming, unwavering, unconditional love that you will never understand until you have one of your own to nurture and take care of. I realized this the moment I held Kathryne. It was then that I knew that I would never understand what Kelly had endured. I would never truly grasp the loss that she had faced. Well at least not for a few years to come.
With my family grew my faith. My love for my Lord grew daily as I watched my belly grow with each pregnancy and my family grow with each birth. The girls were undeserved grace slapping me in the face on a daily, moment to moment, basis. I was in awe at the love my heavenly Father must have for me. I knew, I knew all I had done, all of my garbage, all of my sin and at times I wondered "does HE know!?" Because certainly I had to have slipped a few things by Him. Otherwise I would never have met Doc and birthed these amazing, beautiful, healthy children.
As I watched my girls sleep night after night, each breath even more precious than the last, I asked Him. "How? How could you have let your child die for me? How could you have sacrificed someone you love like this for all of the ugly, selfish, greedy sinners in the world? How did you breathe when you knew it was coming? How did you watch Him be beaten and tortured? How did you watch Him take him last breath and not die with Him?!?" I did not understand. Nor did I want too. But I was beyond grateful for the sacrifice that would allow me to live for eternity with these little people that held my heart.
On March 4, 2010 I began to understand all that I never wanted too. I began to understand how my sweet Kelly felt year after year. I began to imagine her loss and her anger. I began to grasp the reality of what life feels like when you bury a child. It was then and only then that I had a glimpse of what my Lord had truly done for me and I was blown away. I woke up three days later from a medical fog and we buried our little boy. The reality of what happened would set in over the months that followed. Phone call after phone call of people telling us how sorry they are and how life goes on. Giving what seems like appropriate encouragement filled with "at least you have the girls" and "focus on your blessings" each time us realizing more and more that no one really understood, no one except Kelly and God.
Kelly and God were the only two people in my life that had lost a son and could possible understand how I felt. So that is who I turned too. I called Kelly and she cried with me. I could text her one word and she would know what I meant. She came to see me and let me tell her the entire, gory, nightmare that was the birth of my son and listened intently to every word. She knew she could not make it okay. She knew she could not take away the pain I felt, so instead she endured it with me. At night it was me and Him. I would beg Him to take he pain away. I would tell Him how I understood what He had done more than I ever wanted too. I would thank Him. Thank Him for grace, for mercy, and yes for helping me to understand what He had done for me and those I love. Over the last 18 months I have turned to both of them countless times. March came and went, and I survived. During the toughest times I prayed and He answered. I called and she listened. Now that I am through the fog I realize what a blessing it is for me to share my greatest tragedy with one of my best friends and my Heavenly Father.
November is Kelly's March. As it approaches I am praying incessantly. Praying for peace for her heart. Praying that He wraps her up in His arms and comforts her like no one can. Praying that I have the right words or the appropriate silence, whichever she may need. I am reminded that our sons Bennett and Hunter, though not in our arms here on earth, are in Heaven sitting on the lap of His son Jesus, waiting to spend eternity with us. And with this, today, not everyday, but today, I smile. I love you Kelly.