We remember many days and events of history and our own lives each and every year. Many are celebrations of excitement. Like birthdays, anniversaries, announcements of babies, and so forth.
But we, collectively as the world, also remember the other days around the world. The ones where great sadness took place. And they are remembered for the ages in different ways.
While the first celebrations usually include cake and balloons and banners and shouting and laughing and running and clapping, the second are usually remembered with flags, marches, speeches, wreaths, memories.
My family has lived trauma—where everyone has miraculously emerged on the other side of it.
But to say that we made it through okay would not be accurate.
We made it through. Our son is alive. And we get to watch him grow.
But this trauma has changed me in a million and one ways.
The first being gratefulness. I look at my living, breathing, running, crazy happy boy and rejoice that I get to walk life with him. And every moment he is alive, I hold him tight. I don’t ever want to let go.
But that brings me to my second feeling. The one that makes me cry. Sadness. Sorrow. Heartbreak.
I received my baby back into my arms to live another day. And I know that this is a gift. A gift beyond. Not every mother nor father gets to receive their child back into their arms. Alive.
Sometimes those arms get to only hold their baby one last time.
And, as tightly as they hold their baby, they have to let go.
I know, one day, I will have to let go of Maxwell, but it is not the same.
Which brings me to now. My last feeling is “It’s okay“.
That’s what I hope the mommies and daddies are telling me. The ones that did not get their babies back. The ones that had to let go.
That’s it’s okay to celebrate my son. And his life.
That’s it’s okay to be happy.
That’s it’s okay to hold him tight.
And it’s okay to not want to let go.
That’s it’s okay. Because that is what they would do had life been different for them.
I can’t even write this without sobbing. My three year is sitting next to me constantly touching my “creers” as they are running down my cheeks, touching them lightly, somehow sensing these tears carry a heavy weight: Sorrow and guilt entwined with personal gratefulness.
Yet, I still hope in my ears I hear the words, “It’s okay.” Because I know for their own lives it is not okay. And never should have been. Yet it is for them that way just like for me it is a different way.
A way I will never understand…
The other day, my husband and I were discussing “This time of year”, and that’s when my son, Maxwell, heard us praying, “Thank you, Lord, for giving us back Maxwell.”
After we were done praying, Maxwell looked at us with wide eyes and a goofy grin, saying, “Mommy, you’re silly.”
Because, to him, he is fine.
He doesn’t know the great battle that was fought for his life.
He just knows he lives.
And I just held him.
Trauma has changed our family.
Trauma nearly broke our family. Not just my son’s life nearly being ripped from our lives but our marriage, too.
Trauma has made us work a lot harder. Trauma has made us think a lot more. Trauma has opened up our hearts to a bigger world—a world of immense suffering. Yet overcoming.
Trauma has made us more empathetic and understanding.
Trauma has taught us how to cry freely.
Trauma has caused us to put on glasses of reality. That life will not always deal you rainbows sprinkled with sugar.
And it has made every day of our living, breathing, walking, talking lives more important. More beautiful. More fragile. More.
Trauma has taken judgement out of me and made me crumble.
Trauma has made me a mess and yet picked me up.
Trauma has torn a huge hole in my soul and then healed it up.
Trauma has shown me the harshness of the world and then the compassion that surrounds the world.
And trauma has taught me that I am not alone.
Trauma has changed my very core.
Maybe, just maybe, one day I will say thank you to God above for this trauma.
Until then, I’ll simply say “Thank you” to God for bringing me through it.
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23.
Here are some sites you can click on to help you understand your trauma:
1. Healing from Trauma
2. When Trauma Strikes
3. Understand Trauma and PTSD: A Christian Counselor’s Perspective