Sometimes in life we’re shocked into a place we’ve never been before by trauma. In my case it was burying my first born child. There isn’t one thing that can prepare you for such an immense and sudden loss. Any parent will tell you it’s their worst nightmare and they don’t think they would survive their child being taken away.
I was that parent.
I was in no way prepared, and as a result an autopilot mode that I didn’t know I had was activated. The days and weeks following Hagen going home are a blur for the most part. Some things just didn’t embed in my memory and some things Ifight daily to forget. What I do remember with great fondness is the way my family and friends dropped everything in their lives to come be with me, Weston and Tyler. I remember that even though we were hurting, the essence of who we were was still intact so there was laughter and joy during the most difficult experience of our lives. Our faith didn’t waiver because we buried a 22 year old great grandson, grandson, son, brother, love, nephew, or cousin.
I laughed. I cracked jokes. My faith never wavered and as a result some told me I was just in shock and that it would pass and then pain would set in. I know they meant well, and each time I heard it I would smile graciously but in my headI was saying “Don’t you speak that over me Ricky Bobby!” If the way I was coping was shocking, then in shock is where I wanted to stay, because in my shock I was being blessed. In my shock I had joy despite loss and laughter despite mourning. In my shock my faith was growing stronger and deeper and more steadfast. In my shock a multitude of beautiful people on the same road as I had found myself on, sought me out and opened up to me to share their stories and together we took a turn on the road of loss and began to heal.
I am who I am because of who created me, and in that process, He handpicked each and every person that would have a hand in perfecting His creation. My mother was waiting on Hagen when he got home, but my four remaining rocks, mydad, step-angel, brother and sister, arrived together like the calvary on March 19th. The moment I saw them I was free to turn the autopilot off and just be, in that moment, a momma who had to accept the fact that her baby, the boy that made her a momma, was gone. After crying on my sister's amazing strong shoulder, the smiles bled through the tears and eventually the laughter came.
There has been one final thing that needed to be done for Hagen on this side that I have been putting off, and today my cavalry, along with my grandma (Hagen’s great grandma) came through for me again. And once again, I was shocked into a place I have never been before. This time it wasn’t trauma that left me without adequate words to express myself.
It was love.
It might seem silly to some that a headstone would be considered a gesture of love, but to me, that headstone represents more than just a grave marker for my son. It represents the magnificent bond of family. It represents strength and devotion. It represents an embrace that can only come from family. Hagen was and is so proud of them and proud to be one of them, and I am too. It’s because of my family, who we are, and how deeply faith is rooted in this family tree, that I am who I am. It’s because I was introduced to my Savior by my family that I introduced my boys to their Savior. It’s because of all that was instilled in me that I know where Hagen is. It’s because of them, their love and their support that I can look at this headstone and see two birth dates, instead of dates representing the beginning and ending of a life. Each one of them has played and continues to play such a significant role in the Lord’s work in my life, that I am able to do what I do.
This Thanksgiving was hard, but I am so beyond thankful for my family, for this gift and above all for the assurance that my son wasn’t taken away.
He was rescued on March 19, 2019, and I will see him again.
God is good all the time, and His goodness cannot be measured in big or small, magnificent or insignificant. In every gesture of love, God is good, and if this is shocking, I’m good with that. I’ll add it to the ever growing list of what I’m thankful for.