Posted on April 10th, 2009 by Abby.
Categories: Meditations on Scripture, Our Journey, Our Journey (chronological).

Every three or four hours James is reborn in the digital photo frame on my kitchen counter. He starts off hideously thin, huddled in his glass box, and slowly gains weight, begins smiling, comes home from the NICU, puts up with wearing various costumes, celebrates precious milestones, and grows into a little boy in our arms. All the last pictures are happy, but we are sad when we see them, knowing that soon he will be whisked back to the Winnie Palmer operating room to start again. From his first gasp to last days, we never tire of looking at and talking about the gift of his life.

On April 1st I was thinking about James and wondering what we were doing this day last year. It dawned on me that April 1st was when he got his hearing aid, and the memory of our anticipation, and his wondering reaction, came back in a welcome rush. The sound of raindrops outside reminded me of another time when Mom and I were taking James for a walk in the Baby Bjorn and it started raining. Trying to protect James from the rain, we jogged back to the house, but he giggled at all the bouncing he was getting and seemed unperturbed by the drops on his upturned face.

One memory that haunts me from time to time is the one from what we call “that morning”—holding James’s lifeless body in my arms for the last time at the hospital. I can remember a lot of details from that moment, and it is still freshly painful whenever it comes to mind. I don’t know why I think of it, or whether it sent by Satan as an attempt to discourage me, but there are two things I try to do to cope with it. First, I remind myself that at that moment the real, beautiful, eternal James was in heaven with the Savior, experiencing fullness of joy in His arms. I try to picture that instead. Second, I ask God to replace that sad memory with a happy one from James’s life.

Meditating on the meaning of Good Friday and Easter, I don’t think the cross has ever meant more to me than it does now. God’s sacrifice of His only Son, the Son’s suffering to accomplish peace with God and eternal life for those who believe (and those, like James and Dora, who are unable to make a choice due to extreme youth or incapacity)…it is inexpressibly sweet to my soul. We love to watch James’s life continually renewed on his photo frame, but his real rebirth is far more glorious, joyful, and fulfilling than we can imagine.

“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7

14 Responses to “easter”

  1. Ann Jay on April 10, 2009 10:51 pm

    I am always touched by the sweetness and beauty of your thoughts. Still praying for you as your life unfolds. May you be richly blessed as you have blessed others by sharing James and yourselves with us. With Love, Ann

  2. Burgandi Thompson-Alexander on April 12, 2009 9:04 pm

    Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. John 6:47 (NKV) James and Dora are abesnt from the body which is to be present with the Lord. How awesome and marvelous is it to know your children are gazing in the face of Jesus to never truly know suffering.

  3. Patty M on April 13, 2009 5:58 pm

    I like you, had flashbacks. Mine were of when my mom and I found my Dad’s lifeless body, and those awful moments.

    I talked about them a lot and cried my eyes out, etc….today I’m ok and not bothered very much anymore.

    But an elderly parent’s death is surely easier than a baby’s death since it’s more expected that a sick elderly parent would die.

    I suspect God uses custom designed methods, and has His unique timing for each of us as we deal with those extra difficult moments of life…

    Easter too meant a lot to me yesterday thinking about Dad.

  4. Jen on April 16, 2009 4:33 pm

    I check in today after having heard for the first time in ages James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James”. And all I could see in my mind’s eye: Eyelashes on smiling and beautiful blue eyes.

    Glad you’re still here. Sharing. And though your loss is sacred, I cherish the vibration of the common thread that connects you to so many people who have either experienced losses of their own and/or feel the world is a better place because of the invaluable life of your dear sweet baby James.

  5. Burgandi Thompson-Alexander on April 26, 2009 6:50 am

    Happy Birthday James!!!! Your first birthday in heaven with your sister, I know you’re all over the heavens rock’n it for your second birthday.

  6. Cristi on April 26, 2009 1:03 pm

    I clicked over from the cake wrecks blog. I hope you don’t mind my commenting. I want to tell you first, I love your rendition of Sweet Baby James. I also wanted to tell you that while I was trying to not cry while reading, I was reminded a lot of my very close friend, Cari. She lost her precious baby girl at 8 months old after a seizure. She and her husband, Andy have also had their sights fixed on God and rest knowing Caden is in the arms of her Heavenly Father. I put her blog address at the bottom if you wanted to check it out. I said a prayer for you and will continue to do so. God bless.


  7. Kibby on April 26, 2009 2:08 pm

    I just found your site and read of James’s short, but obviously rewarding life.

    Wow. Two incredible people who were clearly up to the task of providing to a very sick child a life filled with laughter and joy. Despite all he (and you) must have had to endure, the photos make it clear that James was a very happy little dude!

    May his joy and God’s strengthening love continue to move through your lives.

  8. Candace on April 26, 2009 3:11 pm

    I am also coming over here from Cake Wrecks, sending virtual hugs on your little boy’s second birthday. I am another woman who went through the pain of infertility only to go through the greater pain of losing my baby.

    How fitting that today is the March of Dimes walk in many places across the country. We walked so that future babies will have a better chance.

    Remembering your sweet baby James.

  9. tina on April 26, 2009 6:14 pm

    I too just found your beautiful story. Today is my oldest daughter’s 8th bday, so from now on, I will say a prayer for you on her special day! I was struck by the fact that you and your husband chose a life verse for James before birth. When I was pregnant with my second child, I saw a pillow with the verse “Be still and know that I am God” on it and immediately claimed it for my unborn child. Four days later, I unexpectedly devlivered a gorgeous baby girl, Norah James, –still born. I know that God gave me that verse, that day to tell me He is who He is no matter where I am. I am so thankful to read about your sweet James. I know you will be with him again, just as I will be with our sweet Norah James!

  10. AlisonH on April 26, 2009 6:16 pm

    I loved the pictures of your son at Cake Wrecks and then here. I love that he was so celebrated and celebrating with you at that first birthday party. I’m so sorry you lost him.

    One thing I have learned over the years is that the only fathomable response to an unfathomable loss is the firm belief we come away with that nobody else should ever have to go through this without all the love and support we have to give. By our pain we learn to love and thereby serve God all the more deeply.

  11. Tonya on April 26, 2009 7:25 pm

    I will always remember James’ sweet smile and loving, trusting eyes. This particular day is probably quite difficult for you but rest assured that James is happy and healthy in Jesus’ care and waiting to see you and his two siblings one day again!

    Love you both…

  12. Lashleyveta on April 26, 2009 10:08 pm

    I have found or been told many sweetly sad stories in my life, most about the little angels that do not stay. I saw the memorial video on myspace last year but couldn’t think of what to do. I saw it again today after checking my daily cake wreck and then I knew. I write poems for those that we have lost and will someday find again, please add this to the good thoughts pile and remeber the pause button on baby’s frame works best on the happy days.

    Now you rest, beyond the bar,
    Now I see it is not too far.
    For when my burdens wear me down.
    I can see you smiling down.
    My heart is happy when I see your face.
    I know I can bear to live with this sadness in God’s Grace.
    We are left waiting on the shore,
    yet when we meet again,
    it shall be to part nevermore.

    My sorrow for your sorrow, my cares for yours, may God hold you in His hand and lay blessings at your door.

  13. Jen on April 27, 2009 1:15 pm

    I also clicked over from CakeWrecks and am wiping tears from my eyes as i sit here at work hoping no one walks in to my little cubicle. I can’t say I understand how you must feel losing a child, especially one as beautiful as he is, but I do understand the love you feel for a child as i have a 16 month old now. Your story is amazing and your faith even more so. It is an inspiration to myself and many others. Thank you…

    my thoughts and prayers will always be with you.

  14. Iheartfashion on April 29, 2009 12:28 pm

    What a moving tribute to your beautiful son. I admire your strength and faith in dealing with the most terrible loss a parent can imagine.

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