10 October 2010

Day One

I feel in many ways like we've lived an entire lifetime and then some in the past three weeks. Ewan was born on September 18. He had emergency surgery at five days old and we had our share of scares and victories in his two weeks of life. Many of you rode that roller-coaster with us. He died just minutes after the stroke of midnight on October 4, barely sixteen days old. We buried him on Saturday, October 9 when he would have been three weeks old.

In three weeks, we've been through the cycle of an entire life. In the past three weeks, there has not been much time to be scared, to grieve, to wonder, to process, or to ask.

The past three weeks and the lessons that it held will probably be unfolding for the remainder of my life. I've had so many people tell us that they could not have done what we did -- and you have to know, I was saying the same things up until the moment he was born. Two nights before his birth, I couldn't sleep. I grieved for that baby boy and what he would face. I grieved for us, wondering if we were up to the task. I kept wondering if God had gotten it wrong somehow. Surely there was someone who could parent Ewan better. I wept hard until I was sick with weeping. I was on the floor in a heap. I was in agony.

The truth is, we were not up to the task. And God didn't get it wrong. When faced with these impossible types of situations, it's common to be confronted with the platitude about God not giving us more than we can handle. But He does. He absolutely does give us more to deal with than we can possibly handle. What is important to remember is that He can handle it. Maybe that sounds trite or too simplistic, but that is what we experienced. He gave us His grace for each moment -- we didn't have more than we needed, or less. We didn't have it ahead of time, but we had the measure of grace we needed when we needed it. He sustained us and guided us through the very moments I dreaded and grieved prior to Ewan's birth: from authorizing invasive procedures to being able to say goodbye to him in peace. He gave us that grace when we needed it. God forbid anyone else should be faced with such a thing, but if you had to, He would give it to you as well.

It doesn't mean it won't hurt. That it won't be difficult. That there won't still be moments that feel utterly impossible or where you feel completely powerless. That you won't be surprised the grief you feel hasn't killed you. But He is there. Oh, you better believe it. He is there in those moments. He was and is close to us.

I am not strong. Christ is. If you see strength in me, it is not me. I know myself well enough to say with all the assurance in the universe: it is not me.

And so begins a new leg of the journey: living without Ewan here with us. In a very superficial sense, our life will look a lot like it did before Ewan was even conceived. But our pastor said it yesterday at Ewan's service: life will never be the same. And it won't be. We are about to learn what that means: moment by moment, day by day.

This is day one of something entirely new.

23 comments:

PG+E said...

God bless you in this as you start walking this new path. Thank you so much for sharing your faith and peace. Praying for you both!

Sarah said...

What a day . . . praying for you on day one and on the ones that follow it, too. You will never be the same because you let that blessed little one change you . . . and God, too. I don't think you could stand with Christ's strength like you have been and not be changed. Loving you as you find a new normal.

Ams said...

You put into words something no mother should have to put into words. And you say it with such grace.
You should NEVER have to be writing the words you are, into an unknown space that will indeed, touch so many hearts and souls.
I will continue you to pray. To pray for strength. And pray for peace.
There are no words that will comfort you in your time of desperate sorrow - but know that you have so many people, whom you have never met - that are praying with all their hearts.
Much love.

peacelovecasey said...

I am praying for you and your family. I live in the Seattle area so if you ever want to get together and just have someone sit with you I will come in no time. <3

dushamoya said...

I've been following your blog since I heard you call EWTN radio. My heart feels broken.

Even though I never met you or Ewan, even though I've only seen pictures of his beautiful face, my heart feels so broken for you, and for the world, and for me. I know he is in the Lord's arms now, but I feel like a light has diminished in this world. It is a day one for me, too.

Bria

Michael Bowman-King said...

I just wanted to let you know that you don't have to do this alone....I like so many others are here for you whenever you need us for whatever reason!! Love and prayers always!!

Melanie Spies said...

The grace you've been blessed with touches us all. You are so loved...and I am so hopeful that the love and support of your St. Joseph family will keep bringing those rays of light that you deserve. We are here for you today, next month, next year. We all grieve and hope with you.

With much love,
Melanie S.

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for posting this. God absolutely gives us more than we can handle, no matter how you lose your baby - it is too much. Too wrong.

If you don't mind, I'd love to share this entry on Sawyer's Heart. Love to you Kirsten, always.

Michelle
Sawyer's mommy

Lisa said...

much love and hugs and many prayers for you and James in the days to come.

Nadine said...

Christ is shining so bright through you Kirsten...and you are touching so many lives because of it! <3

Anonymous said...

When there are no words....I still weep with you, for Ewan and for you and James. You make me want to be a better Mother.

Shannon Egan

Hope's Blog said...

Such a powerful post. Thank you for sharing Ewan's life with us. It has made us better people and parents.

Jennifer said...

I love your family and especially little Ewan. I think about him everyday. And even though i never had the chance to meet him, he has changed my life for ever. Im so sorry that you had to walk this path and I do pray for you everyday.

The Sexton 3 said...

So true. It's hard to find a "new normal"..... A life that is just how it was.... yet so different. I find myself wanting to change things just so I can have something around me that is CHANGED.

You are a great representative of God's grace. Thank you for showing just how good our Savior is.

Katie said...

Kirsten thank you for sharing this aspect of the reality of your situation. I imagine the pain and grief but one who is only imagining cannot experience the incredible grace given to those who are actually experiencing that incredible pain. Thank you for filling out the rest of the picture of what it is like to walk through this with Jesus by sharing this part, along with sharing the painful parts.

christianne said...

Oh my goodness, my friend. This post gave me goosebumps up and down my arms several times in the reading through it.

I love how brightly you shine. Jesus is so bright in you. I'm thankful for the grace he gives you each and every moment. Your life is an invitation to worship.

I love you.

Parsing Nonsense said...

Beautifully communicated, it's an important truth that has been misunderstood by a lot of people. Ewan's life ministered to so many people, and your faith continues to bring people closer to God. Thank you for writing.

Hands Sew Full said...

Thank You for sharing your story. I will pray for you as you begin this journey. Each day IS a new day and God is good. I wish for you ...peace.

Anonymous said...

From one CHD mom to another...... I can't even find the words to say.....but I am sorry.

terri said...

i love the way you tell the truth. and i hate that this is your truth. breathing here with you, moment by moment.

Anonymous said...

May God continue to speak to you and hold you close during this time. Thank you for sharing your words, thoughts, and love towards your son. Your faith is truely an inspiration to me and makes me want to be closer to God as I walk through my own life. May you find the peace and strength you need to start this next journey. Praying for you and your husband, continue to trust in God for He is good.

Sheila Palaruan said...

Amen...amen.

Julie Noble said...

I just happened upon your blog, through a friend of a friend on facebook.
I will be praying for you.
I know those words, "I want my baby back" very well. I remember wanting to smash dishes. I remember grocery shopping and thinking that I will have a nervous break down right there in the store.
This past July marked 20 years since my daughter's passing. She would have been 25 this November. She, too, was born with tetralogy. She passed following her fourth and final surgery.
My heart breaks for you...I am praying.