I cried again this morning...
Who would have thought I could even have more tears?
The fountain should have run dry long ago...
I woke disturbed.
Couldn't shake that dreadful feeling.
The burning in my throat.
The one I try to blink back, back, back behind my eyelids.
That haunting emptiness that lingers underneath your gut,
threatening to overturn you.
Sleep was not a ready rescue or a willing ally.
I dressed for the gym, thinking I could outrun it.
Or out"ride" it rather, since it's Tuesday, which means it's my morning for Spin Class.
But then I thought of all the eyes I'd have to meet as I walked through the door,
inopportunely at the front of the bicycle fleet,
aglow in light from the brightness beyond.
Even in the darkened room, they would see my anguish.
Feel my shame.
I did not not want to cry with strangers.
Not even with dear friends, who I knew were watching,
probably already spinning,
an empty bike at their side,
reserved for me.
Just another way
I'd let another someone
Someone who was counting on me.
With that thought, the guilt that had been lurking in the shadows of my heart
came pounding in, claws curling, teeth bared, ready to consume me.
And so the tears began...
And then refused to stop.
Too much for today.
At not even 6 am.
So I stayed, scraping myself together,
and deciding to work on the last little piece of Cub Scout Pack Meeting for tonight.
The piece that is still mine.
The very small piece.
With a sigh, I realized all the friends who have had to step in and carry more than their load.
Do more than their job.
Because I've been gone. Busy. Otherwise detained with something much more important.
A matter of life and death, in fact.
And I cried harder.
And ached deeper.
To distract myself, I decided to download some photos.
Ones still waiting patiently in my camera, for their turn on my To Do List.
I'd barely regained my composure when the Images slowly appeared,
one by one on my screen.
Last week's trip to the Fire Station.
To visit the men
who first appeared
to help to save my son.
Through flooded eyes, I could barely see their brave and handsome faces.
Each of them so dear, although I barely know them.
Remarkable men... whom I had dumped my burden on.
Someone who fearlessly and instantly came, sirens blaring. To try and patch up my mistake.
Someone who's heart hung heavy, worrying their effort might have been be in vain.
Not enough to fix what I had done.
The weight of guilt can be physically crushing.
I looked away and shook their faces from my head.
Abandoning them for a stronger day.
And then another Image took the stage upon my screen.
My TWO sweet little boys, shirtless, clad only in diapers and their priceless smiles,
strapped safely in their highchairs laughing at me.
Oh, what I had put them through.
Oh, what I had nearly taken from them.
The horror of what almost was washed over me,
through every fiber of my soul.
The tears were silent now, just steady streams of heartache.
Spilling out of eyes that could not bare to look.
Oh, how could I have born that agony?
How could I have gone on?
I surely would have crumbled.
A quick check of my e-mail reminded me that it's not quick anymore.
Yes. I've read many. Gleaned most.
Absorbed them, really.
Tried to use them to fill that empty, aching hole of remorse.
But nevertheless, I am sure I've missed a few.
Still 4, 500 messages in my Inbox.
Not even counting the comments on our blog...
All those people...
Family. Friends. Neighbors. Friends of friends and neighbors. ...Even strangers.
Surely representing exponentially more that wept silently, without leaving a word.
Look at what I've done?
The ripples are so far reaching there's no telling where they'll stop.
So much sadness.
So much heartache.
So much anguish.
So many people cried for our boy.
So many people ached with us.
So many people I hurt.
Literally, around the world.
With one. Simple. Slip.
If you've ever thought you were alone, think again.
If you've ever thought you were an island and your choices were yours alone, think harder.
If you've ever had the audacity to feel lonely... Well, Ha! I have, too!
But we were both wrong, you & I.
No one is ever alone.
Look at all... these... people...
Brothers and sisters in spirit
who I have pulled momentarily away from their own lives with my profound imposition.
Scrolling, still scrolling, my tears began to slow.
Now I feel like I'm the one who's drowning.
In the guilt and the regret.
As the immensity of responsibility threatens to overtake me.
It's just so big. And I, so very small.
Oh, how sorry that I am.
How very, very sorry.
Matt got the big boys up.
Made them a hot, cooked breakfast, like any other normal morning.
And at some point, he left for work.
Somehow I went through the motions of getting them ready for school.
Showered, dressed, beds made and back-packs packed.
And off they went with a kiss and a prayer.
My smalls still sleeping, I tried to go about my morning routine.
Already out of rhythm..
And so I called my sweetheart.
Told him how awful I felt.
Told him about the guilt and the regret.
Told me to remember that the blessings
far outnumber the mistake.
The joy far outweighs the pain.
Said the only one blaming me is me.
And perhaps a few unhappy strangers who do not know my heart.
Reminded me that the benefits of sharing our story far overshadow the risks.
Says he's grateful for all I've said.
Repeated, again, how much good has come of this, already.
Pointed out, again, how we have been used as instruments in the hands of God
to show His love, His mercy, His grace and His miraculous power.
He helped me to see what a pivotal occurrence this has been.
So many lives touched.
So many strengthened.
So many people reevaluating. Re-prioritizing.
So many kind, supportive words expressed.
So much faith renewed.
So many prayers petitioning heaven.
So many principles practiced with purpose.
So many, uniting.
So. Much. Power.
Man... he's getting good at this whole girlfriend pep-talk thing.
He also threw in a little plug about my need of sleep
and carefully suggested that I might be slightly more emotional than usual.
I felt a little better.
Like I could maybe do today after all.
Now I need to make something very clear...
I do not share this incident because I am fishing for any sort of consolation.
In fact, I think I'll try to turn off the comment section for this post,
for I know just what you'll say.
(I know what I would say if I were you...)
So thank you.
Thank you for hearing me.
You've saved me thou$ands in therapy, I am sure.
Thank you for putting yourself in my shoes.
Trying to imagine what it's been like.
Even though you do not want to, I assure you.
Thank you most of all for learning vicariously from our experience.
And pledging not to make the same mistake or any other like it.
Promising to remember and to try a little harder.
To stay more focused. To be more diligent.
To let the little things wait while you give more heed to that which really matters.
For the scope of what we've learned goes far beyond the bathtub.
Please appreciate each moment.
For once it's over, it is gone forever.
Do not let it leave you with regret.
If you are blessed with children in your life,
please embrace them for the amazing people that they are within.
Try to look them in the eye whenever you speak with them.
Connect, soul to soul, each and every day.
Allow yourself to be amazed and humbled by their depth and by their strength.
Respect them, even in their tiny, grubby packaging.
Thank them for the lessons that they teach you.
Even the painful, inconvenient ones.
For truly, what would you rather be doing anyway?
As for me, I have more reasons to rejoice than I deserve!
And believe me, I am so so grateful!
Yet there is still a part of me that's struggling.
Grappling with what I need to do and how to do it.
Knowing that where much is given, much is also required.
Well, what more could I be given?
And while I feel inadequate and insecure in a role that's way too big for me to fill,
I also recognize that this means there's room for growth.
And I'm still fighting to forgive that girl I live inside of.
But it will come, I'm sure. In time.
I know it will because it always has before.
I don't do grudges.
They are and never have been good for anyone.
I just have to figure out exactly how to grant myself that same type of pardon,
which is so much easier for me to hand to others.
Yet somewhere deep down I know
that as I find the strength to turn my broken heart over to my loving Savior, Jesus Christ,
that He will heal it.
That through His Atonement, which was on my behalf, as well as yours,
I will find the power to become better.
To accept the forgiveness He has already granted and to extend it to myself.
As for now, I want to share my hope.
And my conviction.
I know we have a Father in Heaven who loves us.
Who knows each of us by name.
Who knows infinitesimally what we need at each and every moment.
He hears our prayers.
He answers them.
He has a plan that we do not always fully understand.
He has an army of angels, ready to fight on His behalf and spread His word,
both here and on the other side of the veil, between this life and the next.
We are mindful that some who have lived this nightmare we've endured,
have had their sweet babies called home into His loving arms.
There were many times we feared that would be His will.
We were afraid but ready to accept it.
But for some reason, Bronson was allowed to stay with us.
Our loving Heavenly Father divinely intervened with the course of nature
and allowed our son to be healed.
Not only to survive, but to be restored. Fully.
He allowed Bronson to be brought back
under the worthy hands of his father's Priesthood blessing
and then repaired by the capable hands of doctors and nurses
who saw unprecedented and expedited results to their procedures.
We could not be more grateful.
We stand as fervent witnesses that He is a God of miracles.
We do not wish to overstate, but we know that a true and utter miracle
was certainly granted in Bronson's life and in behalf of our family.
We know that miracles are given as a benefit to all mankind.
This is much, much bigger than we are.
We feel the weight of this solemn responsibility.
An obligation coupled with a true and heartfelt desire to share his story
in hopes of strengthening the faith of others and cementing our own.
We hope to help Bronson grow to be worthy of the mission he is already fulfilling.
What a strong and incredible spirit he has.
He has overcome all odds.
He has not accepted limitations.
He has fought and defied all restrictions, and all while winning hearts with that contagious smile!
We are so blessed to know him.
To be taught by him.
We are thankful to know that our family is eternal in nature.
We love each one of our amazing boys and are so proud of each of them.
We find peace in the love and unity we enjoy within our home.
We are learning to embrace the imperfections.
To think of them as opportunities.
And we thank each of you...
For loving us beyond what we deserve.
For reaching out to us in our utmost time of need.
For answering our private prayers without even knowing it.
For lightening our burden and sustaining us.
Mourning with us while we mourned.
Comforting us while we stood in need of comfort.
You are truly angels here upon the earth.
May God bless you!
And may we all find the strength and the courage
to seek out another such family wherever we may be
and continue on in service.
Let us be always an army of refuge and support.
Of love and of light.