It felt like heaven came down to meet up with earth, just for a moment, a quick trip to pick to pick him up. It’s hard to explain, but it feels like we got to witness heaven on earth. It was brief but it happened and we saw it with our own eyes.
As his lifeless body laid in my arms, for some reason it felt like he was still with me for a long while. I watched his skin lose every shade of pink and grow cold on my hands and arms. His eye lids no longer flickered and his chest was completely still. I wanted to lower my ear to his heart to see if there was just one beat left, but I was too fearful that the non existent sounds of his sweet little heart would send me in to a panic. I just wanted to be with him. As long as his body stayed in my arms, all was right in my world.
The horror of the night before still played in my mind like a black and white memory. It seemed like forever ago, yet also just a moment ago. You see, the night before he died was long and dark. He struggled immensely, though I prayed he wouldn’t feel pain. What he endured that night will stay in our minds for the rest of our lives. I can still hear the sounds of my own screams and sobs, almost as if I’m watching it all as a movie. I see all the moving parts and the scenes move quickly. I can view the whole night from the outside and the inside, every angle, every detail engraved in my memory.
The longest night.
After a night like that, I begged God to take him. I gently spoke in to his ear “go home Hunter. Go to Jesus. Just go.” I couldn’t watch him for one more moment. In the arms of his most favorite person, his protector, his most trusted best friend, his daddy, he breathed one last breath out and never inhaled again.
The battle was over.
The darkness disappeared. And then entered a light of sorrow we never knew existed.
The peace that he was free, the devastation that he was gone.
But how could I be mad? Hadn’t I just told him to go? I instantly regretted that decision and had an inner struggle with God to bring him back. “I take it back I take it back.”
We let him go and he went.
A guilt I hold deep in my soul for the hardest days of grief when I really want to beat myself up. The constant struggle of every moment of the day we lost him, we’ll always carry. It is a burden I cherish. Because through every bit of struggle there is also peace. Peace that we were with him.
If my child had to die, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way than to be there for every second of it.
I am grateful he heard our voices last. I’m grateful we told him everything we needed him to hear. I’m grateful he knew we gave our blessing over his last breath. So he could run his way to paradise and never look back at this earth that greatly failed him. He deserved that. He didn’t deserve his pain and suffering he had here.
I think many believe March 23rd is the hardest day of our lives. But actually, March 23rd is the day he was free and his first heavenly birthday. Something I celebrate. The night of March 22nd was and forever will be my most feared nightmare of a day for the rest of my life. It’ll haunt me and try to make me see only the destruction of Hunters death. But on March 23rd, the sun will always rise and the light will always come to remind me that after the horrid night he managed his way through, he was given the gift of heaven.
Heaven came for him just like God always promised. He endured the pain and he made it to the promise of being forever free.
For a brief moment, we saw heaven on earth. You often get this gift through the hardest of journeys. Ours was long, challenging, full of pain. And we’d do every second of it again, if we were given the chance to know Hunter, to have him as ours, was our most cherished gift of this world. Our struggles through grief and our joy through grief are how we now express our love for him.
A love that even death could not stop.
Heaven came for Hunter one year ago, and thank God it did.