I have five children.
If I’m asked how many kids I have by someone new, I say four. Not because I am uncomfortable, but because it is a difficult conversation for others. My children are 21, 19, 13, 10, and I have an angel being held in God’s arms.
I don’t know if Andrew remains a baby in Heaven or if he is growing up like his brothers and sister.
I don’t know if, when I go to Heaven, he will be set in my arms like he would have been on the day of his birth had he lived, or if he will meet me as a grown man when I arrive.
Whatever happens, I know that I will know him. I’ve never seen his face beyond his tiniest baby stage, but I will know him.
I never got to rock him to sleep or tuck him in at night, but I know the shape of his soul. I carried it within me.
And I will recognize his heart because it is enmeshed with my own.
Every day that I breathe I miss him.
I write about Andrew for many different reasons.
When I say his name he lives on for me. I will never teach him to tie his shoes, or help him learn his ABC’s, or shout for joy the first time he rides a bike or throws a baseball, but when I write about the tiny amount of time he lived under my heart his memory stays fresh and alive.
I also want to make sure that every mother who shares my pain, who has walked this unwilling journey, knows she isn’t alone. I want her to know that her baby was alive. That her baby was a person who would have grown to be whatever he or she wanted to be if life were perfect.
If life were fair.
It isn’t. Life is often not fair, but I can promise that whatever bad things happen, whatever pain I feel, God comforts me and He has promised to make everything good in His time.
He didn’t want my son to die. I can never believe that to be true, but He will carry me whenever I cannot walk this journey with my own strength.
And I can never walk this journey with my own strength, so I have faith that He will sustain me.
Mamas, whatever you believe about God or faith or life ever after, know that you are not alone on this path you didn’t choose. You are surrounded by love. Prayers for peace and comfort are always being lifted just for you.
When the time comes for your road on this earth to end, I believe you will find your child again.
You will know him by the shape of his soul and by the beat of his heart.
Andrew was born at home on Friday November 21, 2008 at 9am. He was 5 1/8 inches long and weighed 1.1 ounces. He will be missed so very much by us all.
We love you, Andrew.