Sunday, November 23, 2008

Daniel Bennett Craddock 11/29/99

Yesterday was a yucky day. For those of you who saw me in choir, I apologize:) That silly song director of ours picked out a whole bunch of thankfulness songs this week. Must have been a theme or something. After blubbering thru the first song service and Sunday school (which, by the way was about family conflict... whose idea was THAT??? huh?) I thought for sure that I had it together for the second service. Too bad it was the same songs. darn.

Apparently yesterday was my official day for the breakdown. Happens every year about this time. And usually its caused by some stupid music. For the record, Daniel's birthday is Saturday. He is nine years old this year. In heaven. I hope God remembers to give him a party. Maybe a soccer theme. or maybe he likes basketball. or music, like his brother and sister. One of the many things that I didn't get a chance to find out.

After making an idiot of myself in church, I came home took my obligatory Sunday afternoon nap, followed by the equally obligatory Sunday afternoon migraine (happens every time I take a nap... why, oh why do I do that?) While David and Bethany went to church Sunday night I climbed up into the attic to pull out Daniel's box. All of my kids have one, but his is pitifully small. Hospital bands, pictures, cards, scrubs with footprints. You know the kind. Only these scrubs have no footprints. There wasn't time for that in his delivery room. Out came the video. The only proof I have that I held him in my arms. David won't watch it, but the kids and I do every year around his birthday. Brian was 10 and Bethany was 6 when he was born. My biggest regret was sheltering them from his death. They never saw their brother in person or held his hand. I sure wish I could take that back. I meant well at the time, although when I see my precious baby girl in the video just before his birth... her kindergarten graduation, her birthday... when I see her in context of her age all those years ago, I understand why I made that decision at that time.

Anyway, after all of the tears and mementos are put back in the box, after the video and the pain has been revisited, after the journal has been read and the shock that this really happened to ME and not someone else wears off I always come back to the same place... thank you God. He is good, all the time. Sounds cold, I am sure to those who have not walked in my shoes but I am so thankful that God took him that day. I am thankful that he did not suffer. When I see families suffering with the severely handicapped child, I am thankful that God was merciful. I am thankful that God did not allow me to take him home, for months even, and then take him with no warning. To those who have suffered THESE things, God somehow gives them special grace and I am sure that they are thankful for what THEY consider unthinkable... if they choose to be.

I am also thankful for the people that allowed themselves to be used by God to minister. Interestingly enough, those closest to me were not necessarily the ones who came thru in my time of need. My sister was recovering from her delivery of her own son. With a 16 month old on the side, she had precious little time to spend at my bedside... not to mention her desire to not add to my pain with her own newborn. Caleb is my measuring stick to this day. Sometimes when I look at him, I mourn for HIS loss. He doesn't even know that his very best friend in the world is in heaven waiting to play Lego's and show him his bionicle creations. He doesn't realize that part of him is missing, much as I would be without his mother. In any case, she was busy and my mother in law was caring for my other two rugrats, so she was a no show. Pretty much everyone else, with a couple of notable exceptions was MIA during this time of need. How does that happen? I guess we just get busy with our lives and think that someone else will meet that persons needs. Note to self: show up for those you love; don't expect someone else to do it.

Nevertheless, God used people I barely knew to meet these needs which meant so much to me mostly because I have a very hard time relating to people outside of my comfort zone. Belinda visited me several times and brought me flowers. Tina worked in the building next door and would regularly come by after work just to sit down, put up her feet and chat. I was so lonely and isolated in that hospital for those months and her visits gave me a feeling of normalcy. Katie came and decorated my room as the holidays approached and I was blue for missing it. Kris sent cards that were a life line. And the person that stands out the most to me is Donna. She was a lady that I went to church with at the time and scarcely knew, but she happened to be visiting the morning that I delivered. The hospital used a disposable camera that morning to take the pictures that would be my only connection to him in the years to come. Donna took the time to take the camera to Walgreens for me and have them one-hour developed so that I could have them as soon as possible. She will probably never know how much that meant to me. Every year at this time I find myself praying for these women, wherever they are. God bless them today. Send someone to meet THEIR needs whatever they may be.

Sorry this post is long and rambling. Feeling a little wrung out from this weekend...


rthling said...

I have to say, as much as I have been sad that I'm gone over Thanksgiving this year, I am mostly sad to be gone over Daniel's birthday. I have been worried about leaving you on his day. Not that you can't get along without me, of course, and not that your family won't be there for you, but because we have such such a special bond that I hope being near takes some of the pain. Sounds silly, I know.

Anonymous said...

I love you and will definitely be praying extra for you this week.
It's always hard to look back, but always better to look forward, knowing you will see him again. I bet he even waits at Heaven's gates for you to give you a big hug.
I feel that God lets us go through things in order that later in life, we will run into someone in need of our wisdom and love from the same type situation.
Bless you this week.

Angie Smith said...

Just wanted to tell you how sorry I am about your son Daniel. I certainly understand the feelings of going through a box of unopened memories. I haven't hit the year mark yet, but I can imagine how it will feel. You are not alone in your sorrow, though Satan would love to have you feel that way. I am praying for you today, sweet stranger-friend. May God's blessings fall on you completely and unexpectedly today.


Joanna said...

Oh Sweetie! And chalk it up with the whole junk from your mom for Thanksgiving? Here (hands chocolate) you need this more than I do!

Praying for you. There are days I think it's going to be so neat to meet our 'lost' babies. I lost one but God found her.
I have no pictures. I heard someone say to sit down and pretend you and Jesus are sitting face to face talking about it. Tell Him every thing you are feeling and what you are thinking. Then at the end of the conversation as an act of will pretend you are handing over your baby that you choose to let Him handle it.
I did that. And can I tell you that when He got up He even had a pink diaper bag and walked off. I have been forever healed.

No easy answers is there? Like I said I'm praying for you. (Sorry this is long)

Smiling Shelly said...

Chris, I can only imagine the pain that you feel in the loss of your son. I can not say that my outlook would be a positive as yours. You are an amazing woman! Stay strong and I'll be praying for you during this difficult time.