After Two Years

Today we remember Zach. And we also look back and consider the past two years. We remember how difficult those first hours, days, weeks, and months were. We consider how much we have changed. And we acknowledge how far we have come.

I don’t really like to remember those first hours, days, and weeks. But when I do, I remember the deep sense of fear. I remember not knowing how we would ever make it to the next day, or week, or month. It truly seemed impossible. I remember the questions. The disbelief. The tears. All the faces. And the pain. I wish I didn’t, but I do remember the pain. But I also remember the people who loved us so much during those difficult days, weeks, and months. I remember the new depths of intimacy with friends, and especially with Brooke. These memories are all too easy to recall. But how are we to remember Zach? How do you remember someone who never lived outside the womb? How do you remember someone you never saw? Someone you never touched? Someone you never really knew? I can remember finding out we were pregnant, after the long time of infertility. I remember holding Brooke’s hand while she sat on the sonogram table and the joy of finding out we were going to have a little boy. I remember the fun of telling our families. I remember the dreams we had of raising a son. And I remember the love. The love that was growing in me for someone I had never seen, never touched, and never known. In some way, I still feel that love. Maybe that’s what I need to remember today.

I can’t help but also think about how far we have come these two years. We are different people. We can never go back to March 9, 2006 – the day before. We will never be those people again. I don’t want to be those people again. I think we are better people. Truer people. More whole – even though we lost something very great, something we can never quite get back. If I could go back and make it all go away, I would. I can’t say I see the good in it all. I can’t say it’s all been worth it. I don’t think I ever want to say those things. I don’t think God works that way. But I do think, in many small ways, there has been redemption, restoration, and even a rebirth of sorts. I don’t believe God caused us to enter such a great winter, but I believe somehow he was with us. He suffered with us. And somehow the tears of sorrow did go into the ground and bring forth sprouts of new life. And somehow, I still can’t really believe it, but somehow, spring has come again. Even joy. New life. I am in awe.

So today we remember Zach. We remember pain. We remember love. And we are grateful for new life. And with a mustard seed of faith in a loving God, we are able to hold all these things in tension. Life. Death. Pain. Joy. We don’t have to cover up the loss. We don’t have to forget the pain, or explain away death. Instead, we can believe that these contradictions of God’s world are not holes in our belief but rather holes in our world. Holes God is ever working to mend, to repair, to restore. And with hope, we join with him as repairers of this broken world, even as we hope for a new and perfect world. A new world in which there will be no more holes. And a new world in which Ivy and Zach will be able to run and play together. Come, O Lord.

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7 Responses

  1. I woke up a few hours ago because of the lovely thunderstorm in Waco, and couldn’t get myself back to sleep the way I usually can. So I finally started checking all the blogs I haven’t been to in a while (that means all the blogs I read), and found your beautiful entry. It seems so strange that it’s been two years already, but-pardon the cliche-it also seems like a lifetime ago that I was woken up early by a call from Amy saying that you guys were at the hospital and it looked like you might lose the baby. I remember driving to work in Ft. Worth that morning and getting another call that confirmed our fears, and driving to Waco that afternoon and walking alone on the dam, and I remember being in a sort of sorrowing daze. The thing I remember most vividly, however, is the next day when I was able to visit you and Brooke, and her walking straight up to me with eyes I can’t even describe and saying, “It hurts. It hurts so much.” Two years later, and while being surprised and delighted by the healing, hope, and joy that has come, that’s still the most real thing I can say when I think of Zach. With you, I think that’s OK, that we are not really meant to ever be truly OK with the things that are wrong and painful in our world.

    “We don’t have to cover up the loss. We don’t have to forget the pain, or explain away death. Instead, we can believe that these contradictions of God’s world are not holes in our belief but rather holes in our world.”

    I can’t explain Zach’s death any other way than as something terrible that should not have happened. It’s the only way for me to honestly accept the reality of what happened, and continue to heal, grow, and take the opportunities for good that come from it. The tragedy is not less real because good comes from it, and the good that has come (and still comes) is not less real because it comes from that tragedy. You and Brooke made a very brave decision two years ago, to allow yourselves to enter fully into the darkness of your grief, and I believe your faith that doing so would be best in the long run (although not fun or easy) is rewarded in very many ways. I’m so glad.

    Love,
    Mary

  2. Absolutely beautiful post, Adam, and an equally beautiful comment by Mary. I agree with all my heart.

  3. Thank you for this post, sweetie. I have never felt closer to you than I did when we went through the death of baby Zach together. Crying those tears together was the most intimate thing we’ve ever experienced.

    I know you loved him. I know you still do. I do too. And I, too, have dreams of Zach and Ivy running and playing together.

    I love you, Adam. More today than ever.

  4. A beautiful tribute to your son. Remembering him with you and Brooke today…

  5. Very fine post, Adam, and thank you for sharing this.

    I’m out of words to respond.

    Thank you again.

  6. i just started bawling reading this post. happy tears. because maybe its all worth it. i dont know. thank you for posting. and thank you for your faith. and honesty. and sharing about your family. turning darkness to light somehow. thank you.

  7. I remember too, and I still haven’t gotten over how the unthinkable happened. I still haven’t grieved enough over it, and I have thought about Zach often over the past two years. I’m not trying to make you re-live old memories, but I think about what a sweet boy he would have been and I just get this overwhelming feeling of life-sucking, love-draining emptiness. Must I force myself to believe that Zach was not meant to be? Is that the only way to move on?

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