1. The Amount of Healing I Received
When they placed Samuel on my chest, a healing sense of warmth and light seemed to inhabit my entire body. It was new. My fifth baby but a completely new physical sensation and experience. A tsunami of gratitude and peace swept my soul. There was a significant filling of holes that lingered in the parts of my spirit that were still broken. I cannot even adequately describe it. It was overwhelming and powerful. It was unbelievable and yet completely worthy of all the faith and belief I have in it. A taste of the relief of the finish line sprinkled with the sweetest of new beginnings.
2. The Lack of Healing I Received
The mystique and promise of the rainbow baby is intoxicating. The amount of joy and anticipation – – is a hefty dose of what a grieving families long for. And part of me thought that maybe, just maybe. . . A rainbow this beautiful and great would erase the remaining signs of the great storm. The rainbow baby brought healing but lacked the magical erasing of pain. It still hurt just as bad that she is not here. It still brought me to my knees. The wanting is still a heavy weight. The longing is still ever present.
The gaps are still wide enough that only the Savior can bridge them. The Rainbow brought many things: Joy, Light, Warmth, Love, along with Beautiful Colors that were vibrant and new.
But it took nothing away. Pain, temptation to step towards a lack of reconciliation, fear, and memories were just as powerful as they ever were.
3. The Pictures Had to Go.
I had never been sad to see pictures of the loveliness that was Ellis Grace. They had been steadfast in their ability to bring me Joy. I’m proud of them. I’m grateful for them and I delight in them. But when I brought Samuel home from the hospital, they had to go into temporary hiding. They were harsh reminders that I didn’t have any more control over the health and life of this baby than I had of the baby that now resides in heaven. When I looked at them, I felt fear and pressure. I felt memories than were more powerful than present moments. And it was not good for me to look upon them. The enemy tried to make me feel guilty for retiring them. But I KNEW what I needed to battle from a place of strength. To make sure that I was wholeheartedly caring for Samuel from a place of joy and not fear. I needed to focus on the live baby without a constant reminder that a baby died in our home. In my care. This shocked me. I never expected to tearfully ask my mom to put them away. But I did, and that was right. For a time, they were a hindrance and if I’m gonna run well – – I’ve got to throw off every hindrance.
4. The Baby Monitor Battle
I went through five months of trauma therapy. A great portion of that was preparing my body and mind to once again have a sweet baby – – a sleeping baby in my home. We asked God what He wanted me to feel and believe about Sam’s life and we also addressed baby monitors. The options in sophisticated and technologically advanced monitors are endless. Surely one of the fancy ones would make me feel better. But God and I decided that I would have to trust and follow Him rather than the Apps, etc. . .
So I chose a basic video monitor for when I wasn’t with him. I chose not to employ the use of wearable continuous monitors. I felt peaceful and strong in that plan. But when I walked on the road of reality with a sleeping baby who did not comply with “safe sleeping” practices – – well, it wasn’t that simple. I was filled with fear and guilt and doubt. And I began to waiver that perhaps a monitor would reassure me that all was well. I borrowed an Owlet monitor from a dear friend. The first night I used it, I slept so very well. I felt peace. I needed more of that. What a relief.
But the next night and every night after that, I couldn’t get it to work properly. And I proceeded to lose my good mind. I was as desperate for that monitor as a drug addict is for the next hit. That monitor would calm and comfort me. I quickly realized that I had made an idol of a very false God out of a baby monitor ( you can make an idol out of anything!). And I was mad.
Mad that God wouldn’t give me this magic 8 ball of an idol as an actual god in my life. Mad that I was even in this situation to have become dependent on such an object. Mad that I was afraid. Mad that my husband didn’t know or understand the magnitude of my fear. And the whole thing surprised me because I thought I had settled this matter.
But the truth is this: I backed out of an agreement I made with God.
And there would be some pain involved in getting reconciled again.
5. The Lingering Fear
Every single time I see and approach my sleeping baby – – my spirit prepares itself for that baby to be dead. It doesn’ t matter where the baby is sleeping: the crib, the swing, the car seat, in my husband’s arms, on the floor. . .
All places carry the same likelihood deep inside me that devastation could be just a second away. This is my brain being faithful to care for me and remind me where danger was. And this is the one remaining difficulty that serves to remind me of how far I’ve come. Just as it is always there, it is always flooded with the same measure of relief as I felt in fear.
FEAR. Remind myself the truth. Check for signs of life. Flood of RELIEF. Thank God. Repeat.
This still surprises me. I keep thinking ” If you have enough reassuring experiences, then you’ll remain reassured.” But reassurance and trauma are not evenly matched I’ve found.
The one thing that did not surprise me is this:
He is exactly what we needed. The most precious and tender of blessings. A sign of the covenant of love and deliverance that reaches to a thousand generations. He is a living sign of the perfection of God.
Oh, I’ve seen some marvelous rainbows in my time. . . but Samuel Ransom Holliday,
Your shine with a light that surpasses them all.