Saturday, July 24, 2010

Whatever!

You know how teens say this, with the eye roll and flick of the hand, right?  Well, they may just have something there!
Ian Wesley Giger
Born August 3, 2006
6 pounds, 20 inches long
In a little less than 2 weeks, we will be celebrating my son's fourth birthday.  That's not so unusual you say?  Well, normally you'd be right!  The difference is that he only lived 3 months and 2 days, so he doesn't get to celebrate with us, at least not here on earth!
A week before he passed away, we visited a pumpkin farm and it took FOREVER to get this shot!  So glad I perservered!
In the first few months after his death, I was in shock.  I was numb in a painful way, trapped in those last few days of his life.  I was unable to escape the scenes flashing though my head - the way he looked when I found him, little drops of blood in his eye sockets, the 911 call, my calm response on the outside when my insides were screaming.  The 20-some-odd calls I made to my husband's cell phone, trying to reach him at his business dinner.  The trip to the ER with my Morman neighbor listening to me pray "I speak LIFE in the name of Jesus".  The way that over 25 people from my church showed up to the ER and beat us there, the moments of hope when he seemed to respond, the moment of sorrow when they said his core temperature was 93 degrees.  The rush of releif and emotion and guilt that washed over me when I saw my husband arrive, the tears and fear of what might be happening to us.  The hope again that he was being transfered to Children's Medical Center in Dallas, the crash of fear when he began having seizures and they had to wait.

On and on the scenes went, for 3 days and 3 sleepless nights, a flood of people visiting, a flood of phone calls, the ups and downs of Doctor's telling us it didn't look good and nurses telling us they had seen worse cases survive.  The shocking visit of the Child Protective Services worker, demanding to see our children, then the 4 hours we lost in the interview room when we should have been by our son's side.  The painful process of signing away our older children to a close friend to avoid them being taken away and placed with strangers.
We were supposed to be at the photography studio on this day, having pictures taken for Christmas cards.  It would have been our first family pic with Ian.  This turned out to be our only family picture with him.
More than any other, the scene that persisted was my attempt to sleep on the couch in his room, waking every few minutes to pray "God please save my baby!  Please take me, let me trade with him!" then drifting back for a few minutes of exhausted rest.

When the time came to remove life support, I really thought in the back of my mind that this wasn't happening.  In strange duplicity, I had peace and calm about letting him go, and at the same time truly believed that we would experience a miracle, that he would be fine, perfectly restored.  I know that sounds strange, but that's really how I felt!
Ian's eyes opened an hour or so before we removed life support.  At first we thought it was a good sign, but then we just took it as a blessing to see those beautiful baby blues one more time.

When the time came, and I kissed him goodbye for the last time, cleaned out my locker in Children's ICU and the car was waiting downstairs for us, I couldn't bear to leave.  The elevator came and went - four times before we were able to step un and leave that place without our son. (that was another scene that flashed in my mind)

After the funeral, the flurry of cards, the meals from friends... We were alone.  Alone with our memories.  Alone with our grief.  That's when the torment in my mind started.  The what ifs and if onlys.  The replay, endless play-by-play with slow motion.  I couldn't escape!
Now, I know by now you are depressed and crying (I sure am!)  That's not the reason I wrote this, honest!

There were several moments in the ICU that I heard God speak to me.  One time was when I aske: "how am I going to do this?  How am I going to break my children's heart by telling them their beloved baby brother is dead?  How am I going to survive this oppressive grief that is already filling me and he's still in my arms?"  The still voice came: "you will hear a voice saying 'this is the way, walk ye therin'" and I had said OK then.  I desperately cried out, asking for guidance in those horrid replay days. 

The answer came in a familiar verse:
Philippians 4:8 (King James Version)

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
I definately needed a change in my thoughts, so I began using this verse as a template to "be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2)

I would recite/pray:
  • Whatever is True.  It is true that I loved Ian with all my heart.  It is true that I did all I could to protect him.  It is true that I did all I could to save him.
  • Whatever is Honest.  It is honest that I would have gladly traded places with him.  It is honest that I don't understand why God's answer was "no".  It is honest that God is good.  It is honest that I can trust Him.
  • Whatever is Just.  (this was a hard one at first, there doesn't seem to be anything "just" in losing a child!) It is just that I, as a sinner, should die for my sins.  But the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus.  In that eternity, I will hold my son again. 
  • Whatever is Pure.  Ian was pure.  He was pure joy!  Every moment we spent with him was pure!
  • Whatever is Lovely.  His eyes - those baby blues - they sure were lovely!  His curly hair, with a red tint just like his dad's - that was lovely!
  • Whatever is of Good Report.  (well - another toughy!) It is of good report that I will see him again.  It is of good report that I managed to get out of bed today.  It is of good report that we have friends and family who love us.
There were many nights that I would stare at my bedroom wall, listening to my husband sleep, crying and barely breathing as I went throught this verse.  Sometimes I would go through it 20 times or more, until I would finally be granted restful sleep.

I don't know when it happened, but along the way it became easier to think of good things.  I was less and less plagued by the haunting memories.  I was no longer trapped in that 4 days.  I have never forgotten them, nor do I want to.  They are part of his story.  They are part of my story.  They make me what I am today.

Perhaps today you are plagued by memories.  Maybe they were horrible, maybe they weren't your fault.  Maybe you still think they were your fault.  Maybe you actually were responsible for some of them.  It doesn't matter - we serve a God who knows all and sees all.  He is not suprised by our weakness or shortcomings, in fact His word says that His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

That same verse says that His GRACE is sufficient for us.  Grace is "unmerrited favor" - in other words, we can't earn it, no matter how hard we try, we can't deserve it more or less.  It's given to us! Sufficiant means "enough" or "abounding".  Will you accept that today?  Will you allow God's unmerrited favor to be enough for you?  A friend posted a Facebook entry today: "God has forgiven you - don't you think you should too?"

Once you know you're forgiven, then you too can say "Whatever!"  Those memories don't go away, but what you feed will grow.  I know - that's deep huh?  It's a proven fact, what you feed will grow, what you starve will die.  Choke out that stronghold memory in your life by refusing to "feed" it.  Don't pay it any attention, focus on the good, pure, true and lovely things instead.

My dear friends, If I - weak and helpless, heartbroken in the worst way known to mankind - can survive, and thrive and live to cheer you on - then I KNOW you can do it too!





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