Matt had taken our friend from the office to the airport yesterday (6 hours roundtrip), so I was home on my own. Oceana had gone to bed, and I was sitting at the computer fiddling with the the non-working internet (I know, horrors!). The phone rang and I thought it would be my sister who's gone away for a few days. Instead the woman introduced herself and said she'd seen our article in the magazine. I didn't know what to think. And then I heard what I never thought I'd hear.
Four years ago they lost their son. He had an encephalocele.
No way! I won't reveal too much, but it was their third child, they know the Lord too, they carried him to full term, and he lived for 36 hours. His cele was just as large, but on top of his head.
I was stunned. I didn't know what to say. My curiosity got the better of me, and I asked about all the things he did. Did he see you? Did he hold your hand? Did you hold him? Pictures? Did your kids hold him?
I was so blessed that she called. And even better, her sister lives close to me, so when they visit her next we're going to meet. Matt got home, and I realized I had been talk to her for over an hour. It was so incredible that she called.
If you surf my blogbar, you'll have seen that the 8 Mommies were at a conference last weekend. I knew it was coming up, but the pictures just made me want to cry. I crave meeting people who understand. I crave a "safe place" to talk. And seeing them together made me wish there was something like that for me. And then she called. And even better, she told me about a support group she goes to, that's nationwide. I had heard of it, but was afraid of it being sort of weird, but she said it's the "safe place" I mentioned before.
I'm so happy she called. Sad. But happy. It left me thinking of Marie, Steve, and Elijah this morning, so it was so good that Cindy, Marie's best friend posted to say the Elijah's "still on the inside".
Today's the 4th of July, and I wish that I could say that I'm excited. Well first of all, without real hot dogs, keilbasa, or fireworks - it's just not as exciting. But there is a party today at a our American friend Patty's house. But the 4th just reminds me that Joshua would have been 6 months old on Monday. 6 MONTHS! Wow. I was reading a friend's blog about their 6 month old the other day and all the stuff they're doing. It amazes me. I daydream about Joshua doing those things. About him being normal. About... everything that isn't.
But like I told a woman yesterday - I wouldn't change the time with Joshua. It was precious. And he's as much a part of our family as Oceana is. And he always will be. If there are more children, they will know their big brother. And when there are grandchildren, they will know about their uncle Joshua. The woman I spoke with yesterday talked about her parents twins that passed away when they were born too early. There's this tragic feeling when speaking with her, because those boys weren't a part of their lives. It wasn't okay to talk about them. And this woman felt ripped off. That won't happen in our family. Joshua's here to stay - if in memory only.
I don't have a shrine, but we have Joshua's dresser. Fair enough he didn't have one, except the TV cupboard, where I kept some of his things where I changed him - in the living room. But we have a dresser in our living room that's got all the videos and office products in it (big heavy drawers that Oceana can't open. Bwahaha!). It's got his photo albums and his memory box with the plaque from his casket, his umbilical stump **ETA: the piece that falls off after the cord heals**, his funeral program and things like that in it. The teddy bears we've kept out are there, and pictures of our wedding and Oceana as a baby. Above it hang all our framed pictures of him. Upstairs we have another dresser that gets used for extra paperwork and crafts, and that's where his ashes sit, with two of his blankets. Above our bed hangs a picture frame from his great aunt Rose. In my purse is a photo album - it goes everywhere with me. If Oceana needs to play with something, we pull that out. She points at his ears, eyes, and nose. We talk about "Shua being with Jesus" and that we "Love Shua".
He's everywhere in our house. And I like it this way. I don't want to forget him. I don't want to go for a day without looking at him. I don't want that to change.
Thank You God that the phone rang.