I found this picture a couple of days ago in Sarah's photos.
The boys have always had so much fun together. It's hard to watch my little guys struggling so much now. Of course, we all miss William. We are all struggling. It's so hard to believe he's gone from this earth. Everyone points to all the good things...he can run into the arms of Jesus, he can see clearly, hear perfectly, no tears, no hardships, no difficulties. I know all of these things to be true, but selfishly, I would keep him here. I miss those little arms wrapped around my neck. No one has ever been able to give a hug like William. I miss that ornery voice, joking with me over nothing, really. I miss the way he would snuggle up to me at night as I would sing his favorite song. I miss seeing his cheerful face at the table. The empty seat is more than I can bear.
Things are different now. There's no mix of vitamins to prepare in the morning. No Vest therapy to get ready. No Braille lessons. No searching for lost Cochlear batteries. No teeth flossing and mouthwash. No socks to put on. No big diaper to change. No bath to prepare. No one to help with mealtime. No hair to spike. No wheelchair to fold up and try to fit in the car. No joke about slowing down so I won't need to visit with a police officer (that only happened once). I miss it. All of it. I want it all back.
I am at a loss when it comes to counting my children. We use to do the "sound off". Sarah would start with "1," Abby would say, "2," and so on down the line. Adelina would say, in her very cute little voice, "11," and whoever was sitting next to Titus would reply, "12." I can't imagine that we'll ever do that again. When I've gone somewhere, it's literally confusing for me. I have to pull them all together, look at them one-by-one, and say their names. My older girls have looked at me compassionately and said, "Mommy, we're all here." Michael and I are in awe that our house can feel so empty.
After William died that Sunday, the first time I looked in the mirror was the day of his funeral. Thursday. I was shocked at the amount of gray hair that seemed to come from nowhere. Last year, when he stopped breathing, I had several crop up. Six, actually. Now it is so peppered, there's no counting them. How do they just pop up like that, overnight? Isn't that strange? One thing is for sure, I will never dye my hair. Those gray hairs are simply reminders of a much-loved little boy and how precious he was to me.
It hasn't all been doom and gloom. We've had some good times, reminiscing. Titus will occasionally point to William's picture on the wall and grunt until Michael holds him up where he can touch it, then all is well. The children like to pick William's favorite songs at night for their own now. Wallace has really surprised me. He's so thoughtful and wise, almost melancholy at times. One night he asked why we couldn't just go be with William in heaven now. I told him that we had not fulfilled the purpose God has for our lives yet. He paused and after a few moments said, "William fulfilled God's purpose for his life." It wasn't a question, but more of an understanding. Last night he asked if we could tie army guys or knights onto balloons and send them out on William's birthday because William would like for someone to get a surprise.
I feel for Knox. I know he doesn't understand and he can't even put into words how to ask what he doesn't know. The day of the visitation, he came in and saw William's body, lying in the coffin. He excitedly ran to Wallace, saying, "Wallace! Wallace! Come here! I found William!" He hasn't slept a solid night since that Sunday. I don't know how to make it better for him. Just hold him and pray over him and love him.
The grief is different for all of us. There are different things that break us and different things that bring a fond smile. But one thing I'm thankful for...through all of this, God's grace is still clearly seen. We can feel His hand on us, His comfort, His care. We can see His past mercies and His current graces.
I know life must go on, but every first without him is so very difficult. There will never again be a complete family picture. He will never get to live in the house he was so happy that we are buying. He will never see his sweet, new baby brother that he loved so dearly and was counting the days until he could hold him.
I know the day will come when there's lots of laughter again. I think the day will come when our thoughts of William bring tender smiles instead of brokenness and tears. I hope the day will come when I can sing to my children at night without crying. But for now, I simply cry out, "Help me, Lord! Help me walk this road that You have given me. Help me be grateful for the time I was given and cherish it, instead of coveting more. Mold me into what You will and help me to glorify You in all things."