When life knocks you on your ass, do you ever feel like it just keeps kicking you while you’re down? Sometimes I just want to throw up my hands and say “I give up.” It feels like every week we’ve had something to “handle,” on top of the obvious. When you are grieving even the smallest things can creep up and feel bigger than mountains. I hate when people say, “God only gives you as much as you can handle” or “just remember, tough times will only make you stronger.” What if I don’t want to be stronger? I thought that I was strong already. What if God was wrong this time? What if I can’t handle this? What if I just don’t want to? I know that I may lose some people on this one, but I need to say it. I’ve been on some blogs where people say that they’ve gotten through their loss with God’s help and that God had a good reason for taking their child. Well, I just can’t get behind that, at least not right now. I don’t know that someone could ever provide me with a reason for Rylan’s death that I could understand or agree with–and I will never understand why any parent must be given such a wonderful gift just to have it taken away, and so quickly.
I’ve honestly been in circles about how I feel about God over the years. When I was younger I attended church with my mom, dad, and sister. I was really too young to retain much about religion by the time my parents divorced and we stopped going regularly. It didn’t stop me from believing in God–I just don’t have in-depth knowledge about the Bible the way other people do. I do feel like I’ve struggled with faith over the years–at least in the sense that God will always look out for and protect us. I think it’s mostly because I’ve always had a lot of “why” questions for God. I feel like my parents have struggled a lot. I witnessed conflict between my mother and father, and eventually their divorce. It made my whole family sad and it took a long time for everyone to heal. My mom eventually remarried. My step-father is a great guy who has also had his share of loss. His wife, 10-year-old son, and young daughter were in a car accident before we met; his wife and son died, his daughter was left with a brain injury that effected her ability to talk and walk. I lived with my mom and stepdad for most of my life and helped to take care of my step-sister, Jocelyn. My parents have always been such hard workers, balancing their jobs with taking care of us–and in Jocelyn’s case it was a lot more care than the average child. I prayed a lot as a kid. For my parents to have it easier sometime. For Jocelyn to get better–for her to call her father “daddy” again–even just once. It seemed like he endured so much that I just wanted a miracle to happen for him. Maybe it was silly for me to think that God would or could even change those things. But, I wanted to believe it. In any case, we grew older and Jocelyn passed away at 21 years of age. I had a hard time dealing with the loss and can only imagine how my parents felt–so hard to care for someone for so long and then one day, they’re gone. It’s like you lose your purpose. That’s how I feel about Rylan and I only cared for him for 9 months. Maybe God doesn’t have to “give” us what we pray for–although, aren’t most prayers about something we want? I never prayed for material things or other silly requests. But I guess you can say that I’ve often prayed for very big things. I guess you can’t expect God to grant everyone a miracle. The reason I’m telling you all of this is because being pregnant strengthened my faith. I felt so blessed–God gave us such a precious gift. One that I would cherish and protect for years to come. A gift that I felt would finally fulfill my true purpose in life–to be a mother–and to share parenthood with my husband. It sparked an interest in me to find a church that my husband and I related to. One to attend more regularly. One that we could eventually raise our son in–where he would be christened with God’s love. I was excited about that. And, I thought that my parents faith was going to strengthen through Rylan’s birth, as well. I use to pray to God every night before dinner with my husband (during our pregnancy). I’d thank him for the blessing that was our beautiful son, kicking around in my belly. I’d thank him for looking after my friends and family and for keeping us safe and healthy. I’d ask him to keep looking out for us and to guide us where he saw fit. And, it made me feel so good.
Fast forward to May 12, 2013. The day that everything changed. I’ve never prayed more than I did that night. Even before we arrived at the hospital I prayed to God from home. I was scared about delivery from the beginning. I asked him to look after us, to keep us safe. I told him that I was excited to meet our little man and that we’d always do our best as parents. Soon after our arrival at the hospital, the doctors told us he was gone. After my epidural set in and the severe pain subsided I focused. Focused on God. I prayed over and over to him to change our fate. I prayed over and over for a miracle. The kind you see in those books about people surviving horrific accidents. The stories you read about people who have died, gone to heaven, met God, and came back to tell the story. I prayed for God to give Ry his heartbeat back. To restore life in his tiny lungs. I actually believed, up until the second Rylan entered the world, that God would come through and answer my prayers this time. Well, he didn’t. I can’t explain how hard it was to swallow that reality. My hope of hearing Rylan’s cries that day were crushed, along with my hope for life. If I put my faith in God’s plan for my family, than why did he lead us here? I wish I hadn’t asked God to guide us where he saw fit. If he had a hand in bringing us to such devastation than I’m not sure I want to follow his plan for my life. Because I don’t want a life for Chris and I that doesn’t include Rylan.
When I believed in God more than I ever had in my whole life, he abandoned us. At least that’s how I feel in my heart. I know that it’s easy to trust God and have faith when things in your life are positive. If you can still have faith when the chips are down than you are a true believer, right? What if you believe in God but lose your faith in him? Can you be sure that it will ever be restored? It took a long time for me to get to a place where I felt I had given my world over to God–with open arms. I feel like he gave it back to me. And, it’s not even the world I knew before. It’s tarnished now. Everything feels different. I carry sadness with me all of the time. I feel like a piece of my soul has vanished and I don’t know where to begin to look for it. I feel like when you’re born you possess this beautiful innocence, with no concerns, no expectations for life. Untouched by the world around you. Over the years it’s difficult to sustain that purity. I feel like I’ve completely lost the innocence I had left–through one tragedy. For the first time I can’t grab that silver lining that helps us through hard times. People say, “you may never get over the loss of your son, but down the road you’ll feel better, things will get easier.” I’ve lost loved ones before. They’re right, time does ease pain in most cases. I’ve witnessed it first hand. But this feels different for me than my previous losses. This has so many other feelings attached to it. So many physical and emotional hardships to bear. I want to see the light at the end of the tunnel so badly. I want to believe what people say. But for now I just don’t want to hear it. I hope that someday I will be able to reassure readers who feel the same way, that time does heal your broken heart. That putting the pieces of your life back together after a trauma like losing your child is achievable. That hope and your baby aren’t gone forever. Because that’s what I wish someone (who’s been through the same thing) would say to me right now.