Life has carried on in these past four months in many ways as if nothing ever happened. We took up our task again and in most ways function and live like a normal healthy family. But, there is not a day that goes by where we do not think about James. He continues to live on in our hearts and minds. There are days where he consumes my thoughts, and other days where I only spend a short time thinking about him or looking at his pictures. There are periods where I go without dwelling too much on the past, only to crash shortly after consumed with grief and desiring to hold my boy in my arms again. During this period often comes a guilt feeling also ... how can I go on as if nothing happened? I want to go on and be normal, but to go on and be normal feels like I am putting James behind me and I don't want to put James behind me. Remembering James comes with so many other feelings and emotions that it's seems impossible to "be normal" as long as these feelings are there. Often during these times my thoughts are mixed up and not always the most reasonable. But always, my mind knows I'm being unreasonable and I have to work myself through things again to bring myself back to a more clear-thinking, in-control feeling. During these times I wish I would just "be normal" and when I realize that I am feeling "almost normal" I feel bad for not missing him more .... and so it's a vicious cycle that I can't seem to win, but just have to work through each mood as it comes. Eventually I will come to accept a new "normal," a balance of these two extremes. (for what is normal? Is there a philospher in the house?)...
I often struggle to remind myself that my desires to have my boy back are extremely selfish. My memories are slanted as I tend to forget the tiresome work that came with caring for James. Last night I spent some time looking over his charts, reminding myself what a twenty-four hour period with James was like. At one point I was going to post a blog about this, but time never allowed for that and once James was in the hospital I forgot about it and never completed it. As I look at these charts I am amazed that I was able to function with the little bit of sleep I got each night between caring for James and Matthew, most nights the longest stretch of sleep was a 2-3 hour period between 2am-5am ... if I was lucky. But at the time I remember just doing it, not really thinking about what I was doing ... I suppose we learned from James, we just accepted and carried on. But it would be even more selfish if my thankfulness for James being gone is because we were relieved of the time consuming care it took to raise him. I would take it all back in a flash if it meant having my boy back, but the Lord decided to relieve us of this burden.
When I read these charts I am not just reminded of the time it took to care for James, it reminds me more of how unstable James was, how unhealthy he was ... how terminally ill he was. He seldom complained but I often wonder how ill he truly felt, how much he was truly enduring each day. And then I am thankful that he no longer has to go through all this, he has been completely relieved and it is so selfish of me to want to bring him back to that ... for I can dream all I want, but having James back means having everything about James back ... if it were possible that would be the most unfair thing I could ever do to him. James has what we all desire, he lives in a house free of pain and suffering, free of sin and in the care of our Heavenly Father ... what more can a person desire? I am so thankful for this comfort that we have and that I can process my mind each time again to remember this and to be thankful for all the Lord has done for James and for us.
We have received various gestures from people letting us know that they are still thinking of us, and by this we are encouraged as well. The picture above is a beautiful digital layout of what we received as a framed gift last week, and we thought we should share with our readers. It is a curious thing that when James was ill, while we received numerous cards, many of them home made, one card he enjoyed most was a home made one with a fuzzy Elmo pasted on the front, lovingly made by this same lady who gave us the layout. Below is a picture of James holding this card. Altho James had great desires to pull Elmo off the card each time he played with it, the card still remains in tack and continues to sit on the nighttable beside my bed as it brings back so many memories. Below is also a picture that my dad took of Rob and James, taken this past summer. This picture has extra special meaning because it was taken the last day that James went for an entire day without needing oxygen. When we got home that night we hooked him up again, and he never came off oxygen for long periods again after that, only short little breaks, that slowly got shorter until they no longer existed. If I thought digital cameras were great before, I know now how wonderful these are, for from them we have so many memories that would slowly fade away if we didn't have pictures to help us remember more clearly ... and because it is digital we can take so many more pictures then we ever did before. All the pictures in the world would never be enough, but they certainly help us to laugh and cry through the good and bad times.
Oh how I miss my boy, but oh how glad I am that he is resting peacefully.