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.