Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! 10 Months away

Happy New Year Ezra!!  We miss you sweet boy. I was just looking back at pictures from last Christmas. My mind imagines what you would have been like this year at all the family celebrations.  You left a gaping hole down here.  Though I miss you more than I ever thought possible, I know you are in good hands.  You reached the goal so much sooner than expected. Today, my son, we are 10 months closer to seeing you again.  You better get ready, because the kisses, hugs, snuggles, and attention we have be unable to give you this past year…..will come out!  Think tidal wave : )   My precious one, we adore you still.  We talk of you every day.  You are not forgotten and you are SOOO loved.  Enjoy 2017 in Heaven baby boy! #MissYouE

Well, we did it.  We finished the year of 2016. We made it through ALL the family gatherings, all the opening of presents, family photos, and triggers.  We walked through all the things.  We are on the other side of the holidays.  Easy...no.  Completed...YES.  The past two months have been like a sprint.  We have had….2 Eating 4 Ezra events in two separate towns, Ezra’s 2nd birthday, Thanksgiving, and then 4 family Christmases.  Whew.  That is 8 firsts in 60 days. That is not an easy road.  That is a HARD road.  They are behind us now.   

Emotionally exhausted in ways I do not know how to describe.  Empty down to the core.  “Dig deep” is a phrase we practice every day.  So we will take a little time and refuel.  Recharge for the next thing.  (Psalm 23:3)

 I had mixed feelings saying goodbye to 2016….ecstatic and MORE Ecstatic!   Seriously...this year has been a doozy.  Not just for the Smiths.

In 2016 we...
*Ezra unexpectedly went to Heaven
*Planned a funeral for our baby
*Picked out a plot for Ezra
*Read my 1st and (PLEASE GOD) last autopsy report for a child.
*Walked and sometimes trudged through the valley of death.

BUT also in 2016

*our friends said goodbye to their babies without even getting to hold them.
*our friend said goodbye to  her Daddy way too young.
*our friend said goodbye to  her Momma.
*our friend said goodbye to  her nephew unexpectedly.
*our friend said goodbye to  his wife.
*our friend were forced to say goodbye to the toddler they were adopting.
*our friend was diagnosed with cancer
*our friend said goodbye to her daughter who had cancer.
*So many more hardships that landed so close to us this year.

SO 2016...Good-bye...Don’t let it hit you on the way out.

In 2017 I pledge to..

Love more intentionally.
Dig deep into the Word.
Extend more grace.
Pray more.
Use my words to encourage and build up.
Continue to do the hard and uncomfortable things.
Hold tight to the things most important to me.
Let go of the things that are not important.
Stand on all the promises God has for me.

2017...never in my life have I been more ready for a new year!  I am ready for a year of abundant life. Bring it on.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Happy 9 months in Heaven Ezra!

Happy 9 months in Heaven Ezra! 276 days since I have held you and kissed your sweet face.
23,846,400 seconds
397,440 minutes
6624 hours
276 days
39 weeks and 3 days
75.41% of 2016
When you break it down into numbers, it is staggering to me how long you have been in Heaven. I feel your absence everyday. I think about how things would be different with you here. I think about what you would be doing. I look at other two year olds and smile (and then cry later) at all the fun learning they are doing. 😢
Today I just wanted to stay in bed. I wanted to pull the covers up over my head and not even attempt today.
Under the covers it is quiet.
Under the covers it is comfortable.
Under the covers it is warm.
Under the covers is a haven.
BUT I promised you I would be a better person in any and every way I can think of.
AND your brother wanted breakfast. 😜
And, as I am coming to find out,life is not quiet.
Life is NOT comfortable.
Life is not warm and cozy.
Life is not a haven.
We were unprepared for your Earthly departure. There were no clues, no warning signs, no sickness. Nothing. We blinked. In that blink you were gone, and we were hurled off a cliff. I'm not sure where we landed, but it is foreign territory. This land is uncomfortable. It is not routine. This land is like going through an obstacle course you've never seen before….blindfolded. We know there is no way through it but forward. We can't see what's ahead. We trust that there is good ahead.
We walk one step at a time..searching for solid footing. Finding our footing, we take another step.
Sometimes there are several steps forward in a row.
Sometimes we fall onto an obstacle.
Sometimes we fall off an obstacle.
Sometimes we fail an obstacle.
But each time, we get back up and go again.
And we will keep getting up.
Life is not quiet BUT “He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.” Psalm 23:3
Life is uncomfortable BUT He is the “God of all comfort.”
AND if I know that "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
AND if I know that “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
THEN
I can stand in uncomfortable places,do uncomfortable things, have really uncomfortable conversations, and take another step.
BECAUSE
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John‬ ‭3:16‬)
I will see you again my sweet boy! I will see you forever. ❤️❤️
So this is a really long way to tell you I didn't stay in bed.
-We “helped” Daddy do some jobs on the road.
- We did our RACK for December 1st ( Random Act of Christmas Kindness) in memory of you! 
- And I made special memories with your brother and a $.99 ball
-We lived.
I love you son! We are one month closer to you. ❤️ #MissYouE

Monday, November 21, 2016

Happy happy birthday my sweet boy!

Happy happy birthday my sweet boy! I am writing to you on Saturday...tomorrow will be busy. What is it like to be 2 in heaven? Is it a party? Is there cake? Are you running or still waddling? I am sure you are talking. Probably even still a little bossy.
What I want more than anything I can think of is to hug you. Get my last hug as a one year old tonight. And the first 2 year old hug tomorrow. The truth is I got my last hug on March 1st. That was the last earthly hug I will ever get from you. There is an ache there. An ache to hold you. An ache to know every.single.thing. you do each day. Every.single.
I knew your birthday would be packed with Eating 4 Ezra, so I went out to your cave (as Izzy calls it) to spend some time alone. Izzy gave me some toys for you. (Side note: Your brother misses you like crazy. He talks about you, he talks to you, and he talks of going to Heaven to be with you daily. )
I have been trying to gather my thoughts about your birthday all day now. I try to imagine what you would be like, but how can I? The truth is today I am spent. I am exhausted. And I miss you. We all miss you.
Happy birthday Ezra! We will celebrate and honor you all day with many others. Party with Jesus little one! I am confident that Heaven throws better birthday parties than Earth ever could!
Love you so much I could burst baby boy! ❤️

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Elections & Emotions

The last couple of days it started.
My heart is heavy.
Dread fills me.
Overwhelming sadness accompanies me.
I just could not figure out what was going on. Why was I feeling dark, heavy? It would come and go during the last few days.
But TODAY...today it has been HEAVY. So heavy. It didn’t make any sense
It is NOT the election..I am at peace with the fact that my GOD is still King no matter the results...
It took me till 2 pm to figure out what it was.
It’s election day.
It’s Tuesday.
Ezra died on March 1st. He died on Super Tuesday. He died on the last big election day. Primaries. So every single sticker that says “I Voted” is triggering something I didn’t even know was there to trigger. It’s the symbol of the day when my life turned upside down.
When all my friends were voting (and yay that they do that), I was leaving the hospital without my baby.
Forever.
How does one even do that?
So when you were watching election results, I was being investigated. I was telling my kiddos that their brother with Jesus.
While you slept soundly that night, I was up all night desperately making sure the kids were breathing, listening to the guttural moans of my husband, and holding the shaking, shock filled body of my oldest.
So today the grief is heavy, the flashbacks frequent, and the tears continuous. And that is ok.
I will...once again… give it all over to the ONE who holds my heart in HIS hands. ❤️
#MissYouE
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ezra, the Adventure [8 Months]

How repetitive is it if I say “How can it have been 8 months?’ I just can not believe how very fast time is flying by. I wish I could pause it. I feel like we are on a runaway train with no brakes. Life, the train, keeps gaining speed and I have no control over that. You, my boy, are missed fiercely. You are talked about and prayed for every. Single. Day. We are different people because we have loved you and have been loved by you. We have holes in our heart for sure. BUT we are braver, stronger, and kinder too. We are purposeful in walking through fears that creep up now. Life is too short to let fear rule. (And there are the 100’s of times that God says fear not in the Bible.) You have changed our behavior forever sweet one. We are thankful for that.
This past month was eventful around here. I turned 40. Your siblings say that I am “over the hill”, but how about if I am just on top of the hill? I’ll hang out on top for the next 40 years. Surely, you can stay on top for a while and don’t have to go straight over the hill :)
We made it through the entire Dittos week without a complete life altering experience. I call that victory.

Last week we went to the pumpkin patch. Without you. I have been dreading it like crazy. Last year’s pictures are some of my very, very, very favorite. Even the outtake ones….hilarious. Instead of corralling an almost 2 year old and cajoling you to look at the camera, we carried an 8x10 of you around. It was your sister’s idea. They all picked out which picture, and we framed a picture of you. We are now those people. People that make people uncomfortable. We talk about death. We talk about Heaven. We carry photos of you wishing so greatly that it was actually you.
If that wasn’t enough overcoming, we had the 1st Eating 4 Ezra event. You, sweet boy, were honored all day long. You are helping to raise awareness of SUDC and funding for research. Thousands more people know about SUDC because of you. Helping even one family is worth ALL the feelings involved.

Your pregnancy was an adventure.
Giving birth to you was a BIG adventure.
Your life was such an adventure.
And still, you are an adventure. Even still.
1 month closer. Dance with Jesus little one. You are treasured. #MissyouE
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
We are overwhelmed friends. We are awed at the way you stand with us. We are thankful that you say his name with us. We are strengthened by the way you lift us up to the Father. We pray blessings and blessings upon each of you.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Happy 7 Months in Heaven



Happy 7 months in Heaven my sweet boy! I probably say this every time but how on THE world has it been that long? Time seems to be simultaneously crawling by ever so slowly and barreling by like a runaway train with no brakes. Ezra, I dreamed of you last night. I don’t remember having done that before (but it is totally possible). I don’t remember anything about the dream except for your sweet face. Your blue blue eyes. You kinda had that pouty face that happened when we weren’t feeding you fast enough! I miss that face. Who am I kidding? I miss ALL your faces. What a gift that dream was.

As I type this, I am sitting in Sugar’s house. I am sitting here, the very place where you took your last earthly breath. We are back for Dittos. The same thing we were here for in March. My anxiety and trepidation are through the roof. The memories of you are everywhere. Every. Single. Room. Tears fall freely. Stopping them is not really even an option.

When I am in the master bedroom, I remember waking you from your nap. And the realization that we were in big trouble with your still body and discoloration.

When I am in the living room, I remember the paramedics whisking you out the front door on a stretcher or something.

Also, in the living room, is where we sat and told your brother and sisters that you were in Heaven...you did not wake up.

When I am in the front bedroom, I remember Izzy lying in a ball on the floor crying and asking the question “Is he breathing yet Mommy? Mommy, is he ok???”

When I am in the back bedroom, I remember crying the entire first night and checking Israel’s breathing every 10 minutes.

When I am on the porch, I remember the interview with cps.

When I look to the road in front of the house, I remember seeing your Daddy for the first time on March 1st.

But when I am in the kitchen, that’s the hardest one. That’s where I remember doing CPR on your sweet body while talking to the 911 operator. The kitchen is where I breathed for you, prayed for you, and watched all your siblings enter into a nightmare. The kitchen is where I saw the paramedics cut off your onesie as they worked on you.

The triggers are everywhere. They hit me from out of nowhere. Hard, fast, intense.

But for you, my boy, I will not allow myself to stay there. For you, I will look past the memories of that ONE day. I will force my brain to remember ALL the other memories you have made here.

When I am in the master bedroom, I will remember changing your diaper 100’s of times. I will remember nursing you. I will remember tickling you there and your huge grin!

When I am in the living room, I will remember you learning how to pull up, throwing the toys everywhere, and chasing your brother with the plastic kid baseball bat laughing hysterically!

When I am in the front bedroom, I will remember bath times, your love for the water, and you trying to escape every time I tried to dress you!

When I am in the back bedroom, I will remember chasing you there. You squealing. I will remember you and Daddy tickling on the back bed.

When I am on the porch, I will remember you playing outside with the trucks and you looking out the window longingly to play in the snow over Christmas.

When I look to the road in the front of the house, I will remember your excitement every time we arrived at Sugar’s house for a visit. I will also remember how great of a traveller you were.

When I am in the kitchen, I will remember so many things. 1. Baths in the sink. 2. Feeding you bananas for the first time and you trying to pull the spoon away from us and feed yourself! 3. You finding the Tupperware drawer and emptying it in record speed. 4. Eating. So much eating.

You are worth every single effort I have to make to remember the BEST times. We miss you every. Single. Day. All of us. You are a blessing. I am so thankful to be your Momma. I love you, sweet boy. Dance with Jesus, Ezra. We are one month closer to you. #MissyouE

I am SO SO thankful Lord that we will see him again. I am so so thankful Jesus made a way. I am so so thankful that you hold our hearts as we heal. I am so so thankful that you hold us up as we take the next step we don’t think we can take.

1 Corinthians 2:9b
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Thursday, September 1, 2016

6 Months..already

September 1st. Here it is again..the first of the month. It is no longer thoughts of payday...now it is a marker. The time without Ezra marker.

It is unfathomable to me that you, my sweet Ezra, have lived in Heaven for 6 months. It is equally unfathomable, that we have lived 6 months without you in our home. 6 months. I miss you so much I can hardly breathe sometimes. I am not sure how it is even possible to miss you more now than I did in March...but it is true. We packed a whole bunch of activity/travel into this summer. We traveled, we laughed, we played, we explored, we stayed out late, we stayed up late, and we flew by the seat of our pants. We made memories. But every single day, at every single activity, we missed you. You were missing. I thought about you at every turn. “E would have loved this!” “We wouldn’t have even attempted this with E” “What would Ezra be doing here?” “How would it be different with Ezra here?” “Are you sure I don’t need a stroller, a diaper bag, tons of snacks, toys, cups, and paci’s for this 2 hour activity?”

All that to say we miss you so. We all do. I know that you are lighting up Heaven. I have never in my life been so thankful for Heaven. For Jesus. For the cross. For the stone rolled away. For forever. For the peace I have knowing where you are right now. I think of you there, E,having a blast. Learning, growing, exploring, worshiping… and it fills me with joy...painful joy (is that even a thing?) I LOVE where you are. That is always the goal. My mama heart just wants to be holding you, caring for you, chasing you, feeding you, teaching you, learning from you, helping you, hugging you, kissing you. THIS is a mama’s job. It is a mama’s joy.

This path we’ve walked since March 1st is unnatural. It is unwanted. It is rugged, windy, slippery, and unknown. It is not my choice. But, it is now my job. It is our road to walk now. To live without you here. To love you but not see you. To heal. We love you so much Ezra. We talk of you, about you, and to you all the time. Miss all of you. Every. Single. Part. (even poopy diapers but in all honesty Izzy does not miss that part! He told me a few days ago!) #MissyouE

Last week our 11 year old got out of bed, walked into the living room, and with tears running down her face looked at me and spoke these words. “Mom, of all the people in the whole world, why us?” Tears leaked down my face...because no one should cry alone :) Oh, how I understand what she is saying….where she is coming from. I get it. Totally. But what sprung to my lips was this:

“I don’t know. I don’t know why us. But, why not us? Jesus said that in this world we WILL have trouble. This is what it looks like for us. This is trouble. There are SO many types of trouble.

I have a friend who is fighting cancer. Trouble.

I have a friend whose husband walked out on her and her littles for another woman. Trouble.

I have friends that are looking for work, and don’t have enough money. Trouble.

I have a friend who is watching their best friend slip closer to Heaven and further from them. Trouble.

I have a friend that has lost multiple babies in her womb and longs to hold them. Trouble.

I have a friend whose family has been ripped apart by tragedy. Trouble.

I have a friend that struggles daily with depression. Trouble

I have a friend…..this list could go on and on. These troubles are not our trouble. So, sweet girl. All I know is this is ours to walk through. Everyone has something. Everyone. But Jesus has overcome the world. And as we “walk through our trouble”, we keep our eyes on the One who overcame it all.” (John 16:33)

It is a great reminder. We are all walking through something. Everyone. So we will show love, kindness,forgiveness...repeat. Walk alongside one another in the midst of trouble. Lift one another up in prayer. And press into the ONE who has overcome the world!