I remember the light.
I was sitting at the table working, and there were screams of giggle and glee all around me. A rousing game of hide and seek led my middle to the prime hiding spot—behind the curtains. It was in his excitement that he pulled the curtains around himself and accidentally pulled the rod down leaving a heap of curtains and hardware sitting on the floor.
Looking back, it seems like an ominous foreshadowing for the way the evening was about to turn. But I remember the way the light shined extra bright through the windows with no curtains there. There was so much light.
I remember the light as I walked into the bathroom realizing that something felt very wrong. That carrying low was no longer an indicator of being older and four kids in, but it was something much worse.
And as I sat on the bench in the bathroom and calmly dialed the hospital and talked with the nurse about the way I was feeling, I remember looking up above the mirror and looking right into the light.
I remember the light as we loaded into the truck. The bright lights of the shop as I carefully climbed in, and as sweet husband went back in one more time to assure the boys that we loved them and everything was going to be okay. The light of day was starting to fade, and the light of the shop spilled out into the darkness and seemed so bright.
I remember the light as we traveled down the interstate, and I started having to count contractions. The headlights of oncoming traffic seemed to be blinding as I tried to calmly focus my attention on counting instead of on the pain. And the lights of the time seemed to leap off the dashboard as I felt the fear rise up in my throat when only two minutes passed between each.
I remember the lights flashing at the emergency room entrance as ambulances arrived and departed. We passed them by, the truck thrown in park, and like a strong hero worthy of an Oscar, my brave faced husband hoisted me into a wheel chair and took me past the lights.
I remember the light when triage was no longer a safe place and immediate transfer to labor and delivery were the frantic whispered orders. I stared into the ceiling as the nurse asked me to verbally document the steady contractions. The bright lights seemed to glare at me as I lay flat on a stretcher wheeling quickly through the halls.
I remember the light of the ultrasound machine as our doctor came in with a handheld wand and we watched our too-tiny baby boy jump and kick and punch and move. His little body seared in my brain as the small light of the image gave hope that he was strong.
I remember the light as I clenched my eyes shut in pain that seemed unbearable with screams that likely echoed through the halls of delivery. The white spots that appeared on the backs of my eyelids as I yelled out in panic and fear and excruciating pain.
I remember the light that shone at me as I mustered the strength to look at the doctor as she gently said, “We’ve lost the baby, but I need you to push one more time.” And while the pain medicine tore through my veins and dulled the pain of delivery, it did little to lessen the shattering of my heart as I pushed one more time.
And then it was dark.
I remember the voices calling to me asking if I was okay and if I could hear them. Everything felt far away and distant. I wanted to answer them, but I wasn’t able to find the strength to open my eyes. Everything was so dark.
I remember finally waking in the middle of the night to see my husband sleeping uncomfortably next to me, and the hustle and hurry of staff had left the room and everything was dark.
I remember getting up to hold my baby boy. The hollow feeling in my arms as he sat so small in my hands and the darkness that spilled over my shoulders and into my heart.
I remember waking up the next morning to my mom coming in to gently explain that she had already begun to carry the burden of funeral planning. And the dark cloud that filled my brain as I tried to consider decisions I was not prepared to make.
I remember the way the day seemed dark. I was wheeled out of labor and delivery as is standard procedure, and I was left waiting on the curb for sweet husband to get the car. It wasn’t raining, but the day was cold and dim. Strangers looked at my empty arms and tear-stained cheeks and quickly turned their heads.
The mind is a funny thing. One year has passed since the ground quaked beneath my feet, and in that year I have had moments of both light and dark. And as the day has drawn near, every moment feels like a great combat of light and darkness inside my heart. It is a day that should be celebrated. I want my Jacob remembered, and I have seen so much good come from his brief little life. But the agony that rips at me as I struggle to decide how to celebrate a day that caused me an ocean of pain—it seems overwhelming.
If I have learned one thing in this year, it is that in ALL things, GOD is GOOD. And because He is good, He works all things together for good. I used to think that meant the bad things were just tossed up on the outside somehow. But now, my perspective has changed. Sometimes I think tragedy and pain and hurt can be used at the core of the good that God has intended for our lives.
There is no greater healing, there is no greater peace, there is no greater comfort than when we are forced to stare down the ashes of darkness that have found their way into our lives, and somehow we see God in all of His goodness begin to rise light and hope and beauty from the ash.
Where we see destruction, He sees an opportunity to rebuild.
Where we see hopelessness, there is hope.
Where we see fear, He gives strength.
Where we see mourning, He is the joy that fills our hearts.
He promises to give beauty for ashes. So I can stare down at the ash, or I can lift my eyes to the beauty rising.
As for me, I choose to remember the Light…