Sunday, August 30, 2020
Picking Up the Pieces, Picking Up my Cross
How are you in heaven? Have you been busy testing your wings in your free time or have you been swamped with prayer requests during your "working hours"?
It's been almost a year since we last met. Despite the reasons to smile and be grateful for, there hasn't been a day when mummy stopped thinking or missing you.
Since your passing, (other than having another baby 😅) I did many things to deal with your absence. I stayed away from big gatherings so that I didn't need to deal with pitiful or sympathetic conversations, I stayed away from babies who are similar to your age so as not to be reminded of my loss, I even locked myself in my own cocoon so that I didn't need to wear any mask to cover the rawness of the pain.
I have heard many people commenting that time will heal the pain. To that, I have learnt to just smile and keep quiet. Maybe they are right.. maybe they have experienced something in life that I have yet to learn, or maybe it's just that they are really blessed to not have lost something that mattered more than life to them.
But the biggest struggle I had after you died ironically wasn't dealing with your absence but with my own guilt.
I had always wondered if I had done enough for you, if I had really shown you in my capacity how much I love you. The night before your death, daddy and I even dressed ourselves up to attend a function because we didn't want to dampen the spirits of the people who were there. And even though we left 5 minutes into the start of the event, I'd always wondered if you had blamed me for not being around you more. Not many people knew this, but the reason why I never opened the casket during your wake was because the c-pap mask that you wore during the last days of your life had caused an abrasion and a dent at your nose area which I only noticed it after they removed the mask when they died. You must have been really uncomfortable during that time but I wasn't able to offer any consolation. You were left on the hospital ward for quite some time because daddy and I couldn't find your original birth certificate and because of that you couldn't be transferred to the mortuary.
At times I read about stories of children going through the same cancer as you. Most of them don't make it but because they underwent chemotherapy and radiation, they did live longer. And I wondered too if our lives would be different if I had chosen the chemo route for you.
I replayed your last few months in my head throughout the year and always wondered did we do enough for you and more importantly did we tell you enough that we love you.
The gospel today reminded me a very harsh truth what being a disciple meant - to carry my cross daily. Darling, unfortunately you will always be my cross I would need to bear till I die. When you died last year, a part of me died together with you.
And even though you were with us for only 6 months, you truly taught me so much more than what I have learnt in my whole life. When the doctors told me about your diagnosis, it was not only the first time I actually felt any concrete pain in life, but the first time I had experienced the cross. My faith was crumbling and there were moments when I doubted the goodness of God.
Because of you, I have learnt to understand the phrase "not my will but yours be done". On the day of your funeral, not only did I bury you, I also needed to bury my disappointments and my dreams I had for you. But I came to learn that while there was nothing wrong with my hopes and dreams, God just had a very different plan and vocation for you. And it was through you, mummy learnt to ask for strength to surrender.
It didn't take me long to realise that nothing will ever be possible to fill the void you left behind. It's ironic, but human logic of finding something else to fill the void doesn't help in the healing. Healing ironically came when mummy decided to give away more of her heart to those around her.
Because of this pain I experienced, I have learnt to reach out to more people who are struggling with a little more humility and compassion. And each time when they opened their lives and hearts to me, that small part of my heart starts to become alive again.
I have learnt to be okay with God's choice of not healing you, because even though I am your mummy, I know that He loves you more than I do. Thank you baby, for jumpstarting my relationship with God, for teaching me in a very concrete manner how to submit to my daily cross.
It's been one year since I last saw you... but it's also one year closer to meeting you again. So until I get my chance to hold you again, I promise you that mummy is going to live her life and laugh again. And know that every breath I take, I'll be taking one for you. 💕
Always missing you,