It’s been five years.
Five years since my firstborn, my only son, my Kingston, was stillborn. Arriving into our lives and leaving, all on the same beautiful, crushing day.
Five years. Even as I type that, it still seems like it’s not real. Like it couldn’t have happened to us. Like he should be here.
“How are you?” That’s what my people start asking as dates like this approach. Counting the years without someone is not how this parenting thing is supposed to go. So, the holidays, and the birthdays, and sometimes the plain old normal days- they’re hard. My people know this, so they ask.
“I’m okay, I think.” That’s usually what I tell them.
After Amelia was born, and I decided I would go back to work full time, I was having a hard time writing. After feeling guilty about it for too long, I finally decided I would give myself permission to not work on my blog, and only write when I really felt like I wanted to, until it made sense to do otherwise. Then Mariana was born. The break was a lot longer than I ever anticipated it would be, but I needed it. I needed the time to figure out who I was, and what mattered most, in these days of raising two baby girls.
Recently though, the how are you question kept rolling in. I could see his 5th birthday approaching on the horizon and while I kept answering that I was okay, I needed to sit down and sort it out for myself. Over the past couple of years as I’ve been on this break, I’ve only written when it’s like that: when I need to find God and my own thoughts. I wanted to answer authentically, and honestly, I wasn’t sure. Are you ever really okay after losing a child (or any close loved one for that matter)?
Music, coffee, some quiet space and a blank screen. A mess at first. But quickly, I realized that it’s true. For the most part, I really am okay and this, my friends, is a truly miraculous answer only 5 short years after the most crushing moment of my life.
Things are hard, sure. But things are also beautiful. When I let myself, I can still feel the pain of holding him, of releasing him from my arms, still see the brightness of the florescent hospital lights. When I open that door, it’s still so, so real. Like it was yesterday. But most days, that kind of searing pain isn’t what I feel. Most of the time, I just find sprinkles of Kingston throughout my day and that, well, it makes me feel deeply grateful.
When I’m brushing Amelia’s hair, I’ll look over and see the legos on the floor and wonder what he would have been building. When I watch Justin playing in the yard with both of the girls, I think about a taller child, standing to the right, arms up, ready to catch a football thrown by his daddy, his hero. When I see little boy’s clothing at Target, or when I’m doing dishes, or laundry, or laughing really hard, I think of him. Oh, and the ocean. Always when I see the ocean, I think of my boy. I find him in normal things, and when I find him, I’ve learned that it turns normal things into holy things. His story makes me immediately grateful.
I’m so aware of how dark things could have gotten. I’m so aware of where I could have gone after losing him. Yet, here I am. Doing my best to live his story well. To love his sisters well. His two sisters who are healthy miracles I never thought I’d get to experience. He’s made me a better mom, for sure. A better human, really. The Lord has held us, friends. If I’m sure of nothing else after losing my baby, I’m sure of the Lord’s closeness to the broken, of His love for us, of His faithfulness. Of His ability to make beauty out of ashes.
Are there hard days, even still? Absolutely. But I think I’m more alive to the beauty, I see it more, because of Kingston’s story.
Looking ahead to his 5th birthday, I knew I wanted to do something special this year. It took me some time to find it, and then I did. So much of the beauty we have seen since Kingston’s death has been in the moments where we’ve realized that he still has an impact, that his life has had so much purpose, even without a breath here on earth. Time and time again, we’ve seen his story bring people together, help people heal, serve others in incredible ways.
So, instead of piñatas and balloons, I told Justin about my crazy idea through trembling words one night. Then I told Mandi. And Mom. And Carey, and Josh, and they all said, “Yes. You have to do that.”
For the month of December, I’m going to post once a week. I’ll be sharing 5 things I’ve learned in the 5 years since losing my boy. I’ll post once later this week, and then once a week for the rest of the month. I hope you’ll follow along.
As I’m posting, I’m also going to be gathering. I’m going to be gathering my people (that’s you), and asking them to do something amazing to remember my little man this month.
I’m terrified, intimidated, fearful. These emotions are not anything like who I normally am. Because of that, I know I’m doing exactly what I should be doing to walk out these days as Kingston’s mommy in a brave, kind way… and that makes me excited.
Want to check out what we’re doing? (Please say yes, please say yes!) You can take a look by watching the video below:
Interested in helping? In joining us? (Please say yes, please say yes!) You can visit: www.gofundme.com/lovekingston to be a part of his incredible story this holiday season.
I’ll be back with 5 Things I’ve Learned in 5 Years of Grief. Meet you back here?