July 5, 2012
Dear Sweet Michael Maximilian,
Five years ago today, my alarm sounded for daily Mass, I rolled over, took my temperature, and thought, "Huh...still high." We had been trying unsuccessfully for months to conceive you. I decided to take yet another pregnancy test, pretty much just for fun. I was not expecting anything other than another negative result. I went through the routine of peeing on the stick and then squinting every which way to see if I could make out any sort of double line. To my great shock, as I tilted the strip to the right in the morning sun, I saw it. I saw the faintest hint of a second pink line. I frantically began tilting it in other directions, rubbing my eyes, and checking to make sure I wasn't just making this up. Nope. It was there. Barely visible, but there. I was pregnant.
I continued to get ready for Mass and let Daddy know the good news before I left. He was still asleep and I kissed him and said, "WE'LL be back." I waited and after a few seconds my words penetrated through the fog of sleep and a giant smile spread across his lips. We were so grateful for the gift of you. At Mass I was overcome with gratitude and imagined all the wonderful graces you were going to be receiving in the womb since you would be accompanying me to daily Mass, rather than just Sunday Mass as your older siblings had done. As it turned out, we did make it to Daily Mass and I am certain that the graces received during those Masses are what carried me through losing you.
When we found out you were gone I was devastated. I felt guilty. I knew I had spent much of our precious 20 weeks together moaning, complaining, and praying for the days to pass so I would not be sick anymore. I am sorry for all of the time I wasted when you were with me, and for all the suffering I wasted. I took you for granted. I am sorry. I realized this about a week before I learned you had died. I remember driving over the bridge realizing that I had been wasting all of my suffering and wondering if I could offer up suffering that had already passed. I made a mental note to ask Father, when I got a chance. I started thinking about how easy I had it, having to have c-sections and wondering if I was somehow "cheating" the burden given to Eve after the fall. I was wondering if my easy deliveries were to blame for all of my morning sickness. Within days I no longer had to worry about not having enough pain in childbirth, or about any wasted suffering. God gifted me with an enormous cross in losing you and in the pain of going through my first real labor and delivery, knowing that at the end of the pain, there would be no joy, only more sorrow. There was a fearful anticipation about that moment. I desperately wanted the pain to stop, but at the same time I never wanted it to end, because I knew that once you were delivered that was it. I would truly have to face the fact that you were dead. I could no longer hold onto any sort of wild fantasy that this wasn't really happening. It would all be real. I was petrified at the thought of seeing you and at the same time wanted nothing more than to hold you and meet you before we laid you to rest.
I remember laying in bed the night before your ultrasound and being struck with guilt because I had been so busy worrying about worldly problems that I had not been focusing enough on you, or praying enough for you. I remember I committed to do more praying for you that night, but it was too late. You were already gone. I am sorry for all of the times I ignored your presence and neglected your needs of prayer.
I remember the week I learned of your death and the days when I waited to deliver your precious body. I woke at the same time shortly after the 4:00 hour each day. I would lay there and pray and cry thinking of you. When your body was finally free from my womb the time was shortly after 4:00 AM. I knew immediately that it had been you waking me on those days, allowing me some time with you, to mourn the loss of you, and to pray for you. It was a confirmation that God is in charge of all things and that this was a small gift to me, from Him, showing me that He has worked out every detail. Thank you for those visits.
When you were in me, I did not feel a great connection with you. I worried about this on that same night before your ultrasound. After I learned of your death my relationship with you changed. I felt a very strong connection with you, and no longer did I feel like someone who had failed in taking care of your needs, but rather I had a realization and a knowing that it was I who now needed you. I do not think of you as my little baby. I think of you as my mighty warrior. Someone far above me. Someone far wiser than me. Someone much stronger than me. Sometimes I do wonder what you would look like with each passing year, and think of what kind of personality you would have, but nothing I can imagine could possibly compare with the reality of who you are. If this faith that I cling to is for real, which I know it is, than I trust that you are in His Presence, and therefore, much more beautiful and perfect than I can even begin to imagine. You are His. You have always been His, from the beginning, you were just on loan to us, but it doesn't change the fact that I still mourn the loss of what would have or could have been. This is my human nature, but when I look at things through the eyes of faith, I know that I should not mourn any loss of you, but rather rejoice because I trust that you have already made it home. He created you (and all of us) to be with Him. We don't all make it there. In His mercy, He allowed you to bypass all the worldly temptations and opportunities those of us left here have to battle on our journey to Him. You made it! You are already with Him, or at least in His care. So, my sweet Mikey, pray for me, and for all of us, to keep our eyes on Christ, and our feet along the narrow path, so that someday, in His perfect time, He will allow us to enter into His Presence. May we all become the men and women, boys and girls, that He created us to be. May we complete our missions here on earth in ways that please Him, and may we someday enjoy the rewards of heaven. I love you, I regret the times I took our days together for granted, and I look forward in hope, to meeting you again someday. In the meantime, keep tugging on your Mama's skirts and prompting her to watch over me and guide me, leading me always closer to her Son.
“I give thanks to Almighty God that He has not considered me unworthy to be the
mother of a child admitted into the celestial kingdom. Having quited the world
in the white robe of his innocence, he will rejoice in the presence of God
through all eternity.” St. Clotilde