It seems hard to believe that it was seven years ago when our first child was born.
It feels strange almost. Seven years old seems like such a big kid age.
As Gabriel’s birthday comes around this year another thing that feels strange are my emotions.
It is hard for me to pin them down & I am lacking clarity of thought.
My grief is most certainly not as piercing.
When I turn my thoughts toward memories of him, it is usually more like a dull ache.
The tears don’t spill out as quickly or as violently.
I want to write something eloquent on this occasion.
The calming of emotions makes it more difficult to access, I suppose.
We may not be able to make it to his grave site this week.
We always go for his birthday.
I will be sad if we don’t make it there.
But, I am a little hesitant for the first time, too.
My confidence in guiding the kids through the muddy path of grief is rather shaky right now.
This past year has been interesting, in seeing how my various kids are processing the fact
that they never knew their oldest brother.
Gillian never forgets about Gabriel. Ever.
Any time anyone comments or asks about the size of our family, she always includes Gabriel.
Strangers comment casually all the time about, “Wow- 3 girls & only 1 boy! Poor little guy…”
Gillian corrects every time – “No, we have 2 boys & 3 girls.”
Whenever she asks me about him, it is evident she has really been thinking about things.
Peyton sometimes mentions to me how sad it is that he never got to see his brother.
Moira asks why he died. And she tells me often how sorry she is that he died.
Scott & I don’t talk about Gabriel on a regular basis.
When we do speak of him & his life,
it is most often in the darkness of night, whispered from pillow to pillow.
Although I write about him here, the conversation is not a common part of our life.
I have to think most of their questions & thoughts about their brother
were birthed from our annual trip to his grave.
I wonder if it too much for them.
But even as I wonder that, I know also that this is our family’s story.
I don’t want to brush it under the rug, so my kids can’t see it.
They already know it is there. I can’t really hide it at this point.
It is a little bit scary learning to hold their hands & speak healing to their hearts.
It is scary because I don’t know what they are feeling & what they might ask.
But, isn’t that life? I’m glad God is in control, because I don’t quite know what I’m doing.
I think Jesus is shaping our family to welcome in another.
One who is most likely already knee deep in the muddy path of grief & loss.
We will have to learn along the way about his sorrows & fears.
Jesus, teach me to listen with a compassionate & wise ear.
Train my tongue to be an instrument of healing.