Still Listening: Reflections One Year After Loss

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Grief Like Waves

I woke up this morning to a gorgeous view of the ocean, expansive and terrifying, all encompassing and boundless. The waves pound the shore, ebbing and flowing with the current. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

In many ways, I’ve found grief to be like an ocean. In the early days and months after Xavier died, I felt the overwhelming sense of drowning. Head going under, chest stinging, gulping one mouth full of salt water after another, while beating the surface of the water with wild and uncoordinated arms. There were many points when it seemed better to stop moving all together…to stop fighting and let gravity take over.

But You didn’t let me go.

With Great Gentleness

You held me up, with Your strong hands supporting my back. When, in the depths of deepest darkness, my legs grew weary, you rescued me. You pulled me out each time I drifted out in the tumultuous sea, then dried me off with warm, lavender scented towels. When I grew tired of what I perceived to be your inaction and stormed away from you, you graciously walked behind, beside, and before me all at once. I was never out of your sight.

You brought people on my path to walk with me. As we journeyed together, you knit our hearts together in the most precious and intricate ways. We have shared hopes and fears, doubts and dreams. We have hurt and forgiven each other along the way, and you receive glory for it all.

With great gentleness, you drew me closer than ever to my husband. I feel empowered and equipped to battle the world with him by my side. Continue to sustain us and strengthen our legs for the journeys ahead. Guard his kind heart as he aims to lead and provide for our family.

It’s hard to believe I’m actually writing this, but today I am a better friend, sister, daughter, wife, and mother than I was a year ago. Every heartbreaking milestone has brought its own lesson, and like Ebenezer stones I’ve collected them one by one.

What Xavier Taught Me

In conclusion, today as we celebrate Xavier’s 1st birthday I’m reminded of the words I wrote the night before he was born:

We picked a name. Xavier Lawrence Garnier. This baby has taught me to believe in miracles. His conception is a miracle. His perfect little form is a miracle. The fact we’ve made it this long is a miracle. He has taught me to lean on God and his goodness more than anything in my life. Each week his little body has changed and grown and I’ve had nothing to do with it. He has been the Lord’s from the time he chose my womb as his home. (Xavier means new house).

Right now I am scared and frustrated but I’m also trying to be cognizant that God is in control, not me. We live in a broken world and things like this happen. They suck, and they are just not right. Parents and grandparents praying for a little baby to live is not the normal course of life. But here we are. And no matter what happens, I know Xavier is not done teaching me about our God’s goodness. And he’s still teaching me to believe and trust.

You have been such a good teacher to me, sweet boy. Rest assured–Mama’s still listening.

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