Monday, February 8, 2010

A song for Everett....

Every now and then, while listening to the radio, I hear a song with words so poignant and relevant that I feel like they were written for me or my life.

Sitting in the parking lot a the mall I heard a song that brought instant tears to my eyes, some band somewhere out there wrote song just for my baby, well the lyrics were so perfect that it really seemed that way. The song was "Streets of Gold" by Need to Breathe, and these are the lyrics....

Streets of Gold
By Need to Breathe

I want you to know
I’m leaving to let you go
One day we’ll walk upon
Streets of gold

I don’t remember seeing fear in your eyes
When you were fading
The day we said our goodbyes
It’s easy to say that there’s a reason for this
Much harder to know
That what we say is true

Everything we hold could someday slip away

I want you to know
I’m leaving to let you go
And someday we’ll walk upon
The streets of gold

Running through your veins was a slow-ticking clock
Counting down the days
And no one could make it stop
All of the time that it takes to figure it out
Could be the moments
That you can’t live without

Everything we hold could someday slip away

I want you to know
I’m leaving to let you go
And someday we’ll walk upon
The streets of gold

The trouble with love is that it comes to an end
I’ve got a feeling I’m gonna find you again
Just in a place where love can’t die

The whole song is perfect, it could have been written by us for him, but I pay extra attention to the lines "running through your veins was a slow ticking clock, counting down the days, and no one could make it stop." We had no idea that Everett's heart was a slow ticking clock, we had no idea his days would be so few, and we had no idea that no amount of effort on our behalf could make it stop. The song is really bitter sweet, I love it, but it makes me cry, it makes my emotions raw, its painfully lovely.

But it's a therapeutic pain. It's good for us. The tears I cry when I hear it aren't desperate and hopeless, but rather they're just sad, and lonely, but comforted, the song reminds us that we'll have a reunion again in a place where love can't die. Because I believe it, I can grieve now without coming undone and I'm grateful to finally be in that place, because for a long time our hurt spiraled out of control.

My heart goes out to a mom and dad who just said goodbye to their baby. With a one year old son at home they were joyfully expecting a brother for him, and in an instant those expectations were violated, and that new baby went to Heaven before being born into the arms of his mother and father. I can imagine their brokenness, I can remember that pain, and my heart hurts for them. There isn't any thing comparable to going into the hospital pregnant and leaving without your baby, and that loss isn't something you can describe to anyone. I wish that no one had to experience a loss like this, but it happens more then we like to admit, and I don't think we realize how often parents grieve their babies until we're going through it ourselves.

After we've fallen completely apart and life starts nudging us to get up and go on, we look for little ways to comfort and heal. We find books that inspire and console, we find support groups of people who have experienced similar losses, we find songs that speak to us and for us, and we reach for those when our hearts need to feel connected to that baby, when we need to feel SOMETHING to make us feel close to them again.

So I like this song, because it makes me hurt, and it makes me hurt in a way that is similar to how I hurt when I lost Everett. That similar hurt makes me feel like I'm there again, it brings me back to the last time I saw him, or held him, and got to mother him. Yes, its painful, but so was much of our time with Everett. It WAS painful to stand at his bedside and each day watch a new medication or machine or tube or specialist be added to his care regime in futile attempts to keep him alive. It WAS painful to watch him suffer and wilt and struggle and eventually give way to his illness, it WAS painful to say goodbye. But it was a precious painful. A limited time only painful. It was OUR painful, that pain was directly connected to the deepest love, and it connected us to him in the most unbreakable and unyielding way. Our pain was love. We were pained because we would have done anything to ease his suffering or heal his heart, we would have done anything to keep him with us, to bring him home to be with his brother and meet his sister, our pain was hope. Being reminded of that pain reminds me of that love and that hope and takes me back to Everett, it sharpens my memory, I can hear it and see it and feel it all over. Its a good pain for sure.

Life as a bereft parent is a strange thing. Where we take twisted pleasure in sad songs that break our hearts and make us cry because it makes us remember the most painful day(s) of our lives and makes us feel closer to our baby who died before he could ever really live. The death of a baby changes every facet of your life though, and the new version of yourself that your left with may be unrecognizable to yourself or your family and friends. But it's you, and you do what you have to do to go on living.

So I love songs for Everett. I have a lot of them. Sometimes they come on by chance and take me by surprise, and I cry for him. Sometimes I want to cry for him and I'll put one on to facilitate the tears and get them out. And either way its good. It's good to miss him, because missing him is loving him and I want do that for the rest of my days, like I will for my living children.



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