With everything in me, I wish I had asked more questions. I didn’t though, so this is all I have to go on. One of the most incredible moments of my life happened with my five year old son just a few days before the drowning accident that claimed his precious, short life. Without a doubt, it was a tangible, God moment that left me so stunned I couldn’t speak to ask the three million questions that ran through my mind a few minutes after I left James’ bedroom.
On Mother’s Day 2009 I took a home pregnancy test and discovered I was expecting our fifth child, just nine months after our fourth child was born. I wasn’t exactly thrilled at first simply because I was still up all night with that nursing nine month old and didn’t feel I was physically able to deliver another child. However, ‘it is what it is’ has always been my philosophy and I was going to do my best to power through and trust God. We prayed with James and all his sisters that this baby would be a boy and James would finally have the brother I knew he wanted so badly! Every night from Mother’s Day until the last night I tucked him in to bed he told me, “Don’t forget, that’s my brother in your tummy and he’s gonna come play with me.” I would kiss him, nuzzle his nose with mine, tussle his hair and nod in agreement. One night though, just a few days before the worst day of my life, James said a little bit more, just this once and never again, “Don’t forget, that’s my brother in your tummy and he’s gonna come play with me and his name’s gonna be John!” I was very surprised! John was a fine name but not one we have ever considered or discussed and I couldn’t figure out where James had heard this name to even guess such a thing! So, I asked him, “Who told you that?” He answered simply, “A angel.” I felt the air turn to ice in my lungs as my whole chest seemed to freeze instantly. I was nervous about feeding him information so I asked, “Who’s Angel?” just in case he had made a new friend of whom I was unaware. James didn’t say much. He was a boy of very few words and always had been so for him to speak anything was a rare treat indeed. Finally, he gave me my answer, “You know …. GOD!” I backed out of the room and I never asked James any questions about the Angel.
Well, that’s all it took for the ice in my chest to hit my blood stream and circulate my entire body in that moment. I don’t know why. I have always been a Christian. I’ve always believed in God and Angels and even that people have encounters with them. Just a couple hours before our family walked next door to the home of my parents-in-law James came running from his room where he had been playing quietly. He had his “My first Bible” he received for Easter that very year and was looking at it. He had it open to the first page but, mind you, he couldn’t read yet. It was the very beginning, Genesis; and there was a picture of the Earth in space with clouds, stars and a moon. James exclaimed excitedly, showing me the picture, “Mu-yer, Mu-yer (Mother), Look!” His tone turned more inquisitive and he asked me, “God made the Earth?”
I said, “He sure did!”
So he asked further, “And he made the moon and the stars?”
“He sure did Buddy! And guess what? He made YOU too!”
“HE DID?!” James asked with curious elation before running back to his room, I presume to read more. I praise God for these and so many other special moments with James. These two moments help me when the waves of grief come crashing down, seeking to drown me too.
I just can’t bring myself to enjoy this Independence Day holiday anymore. I’m glad my ancestors fought and died to liberate this wonderful country from England so many years ago and I’m still proud of them and grateful for their sacrifice. This used to be my favorite time of summer; My Christmas in July so to speak. Now it’s just the day that James gained his Independence from me. I’ve been surprised by this under lying anger I feel at the rest of the world for enjoying the holiday but I’m consciously releasing it. I know I am supposed to be conscious of the blessings that come from every bad situation; every silver lining in the dark cloud. I guess it just doesn’t happen often that something so obviously from God is hand delivered to us. These moments, while shocking, are the very anchors that keep me grounded. I wonder what more I would’ve learned if only I had asked more questions. I wish with everything in me that I had.