Passage of Time
Today marks the anniversary of Ryker Leif’s birth and death. To be honest I wasn’t really sure how I’d feel today. There are certainly less tears shed as time has passed. They still come on occasion but less frequently. I thought perhaps the day would pass as every other day has with the acknowledgement that there is still grief but the sharp pain of it has passed to a dull ache. But truthfully the past week has brought different waves of sorrow. I have seen countless pregnant bellies, newborn babies, and toddlers. I’m not sure if perhaps I’m uber aware of them at this moment in time or if the Spring has truly brought about so much new-ness of life. Whatever the case I feel acutely aware of the should have beens.
What should have been…
Joel and Meghan did a wonderful job of putting together a toy drive for Children’s Hospital in Ryker’s name. As always the event was well-planned and widely advertised. We showed up ready to help but much of the preparation had been done. We were there to be appreciated, we were told. Many people showed up, filling a table full of toys for little people who would spend birthdays or holidays in the hospital with illness. A wonderful blessing to the families who suffer watching their children struggle with a variety of sicknesses that keep them hospitalized.
Children swarmed the playground and the fields full of energy and life. Smiles and laughter surrounded all of us. I was taken back to that same day a year ago when that same energy filled our hearts because we were excited and ready to greet a new life. But in those moments of remembering I looked around, thankful on the one hand for all these people who have rallied and supported Joel and Meghan through this year and tears filled my eyes. All I could think of and imagine were little hands that I should have been able to gently guide around the playground, a bald, little head that I should have been able to snuggle and kiss. In that moment I wanted to trade all that blessing on the precious children that would be receiving the toys, for the life of my sweet nephew. It’s hard to explain until you’ve walked this path of losing someone you love so much that you didn’t even get a chance to know but he has become so much a part of us even in his absence.
I’m not sure how this milestone changes anything. It doesn’t really, besides not having to do the year of firsts again. The moments that were reminders will likely still be so. Each of us in different ways. His absence will always be an awareness, the passage of a year doesn’t magically change that feeling of space not filled.
I rest in the peace that I will see him again, whole and beautiful. That one day those should have beens will be a joyous going to be. I know that he is at peace in the presence of his Creator and while that does not fill empty arms here, it is the only peace, for this part of my life that I can cling to. I am proud of Joel and Meghan for continuing with strength, for pouring into each other and not running away from the challenge they have to face. I am glad they have continued to honour each other through this journey. They have protected each other, loved each other, held each other up through a journey no parent should have to face. I am thankful that we have been able to walk beside them through this and will continue to do so wherever their next steps take them.