The sister and I took a day trip to the doc today, getting all kinds of tests taken and blood vaccuumed from our veins.  Next week is the return trip to see how healthy/not-so-healthy we are.  Let’s hope it turns out better than today’s extraordinarily long day–maybe she will allow me to tell you about it later — however, we did swear each other to absolute secrecy.

But the whole point of that little intro (because we talked about them) was to bring up my nephews, Jack and Sam.  I’m sure I have mentioned them before and maybe even why they are so special to me, but today I am going to tell you again because today I am counting them as one of my greatest blessings and am most thankful this month for the little boogers.

Sam and Jack Easter 2011

The year 2001 at approximately 5:00 in the evening on March 12 my husband died.  And I was devastated.  Exactly one year later, little Jack was born.  And here’s the story…

The week of March 12, 2002, I took off three days of work because I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate at work.  It was the anniversary of my husband’s death, and the year had been extremely rough for me.  In January of 2002 my mini-breakdown, as I call it, was only appeased by a trip to the Eagle’s Nest (another awesome story for another day).  By March I was back at the regular grind of learning to live without parts of me or, in other words, great grief.  The only way I can express to you how grief feels is to say it is like losing parts of your body, say, a leg and having to learn to live without that part, learning to walk all over again.  Knowing the days around March 12 were going to be tough ones, I prepared and took time off from work.

My sister’s daughter-in-law was pregnant at that time, due the middle of April, but on March 11 Darla calls and says, “Julie’s water broke; we’re going to the hospital.”  Oh, my!  That’s at least five weeks early!!  I jumped in my vehicle and met them on the highway, being the lead vehicle, honking at people to move their slow butts out of the way (the contractions were getting closer and by golly she wanted that epidural!).  We had to get there in time for the epidural!!  It just so happened that the 11th came that year on the same day of the week that James died, not the date, but the day of the week.  I had been reliving all the events.  Until Dar called.

As we raced to the hospital and waited for him to be born, I forgot about everything else.  Wes, the uncle-to-be, was there with the video camera interviewing all of us.  “What do you think it’s going to be?  Girl?  Boy?”  Davy and Julie had chosen to be surprised at birth instead of finding out from the sonogram what the sex would be.  That made it doubly exciting!  Wes had all sorts of neat things on that video, fun things, and we were all so eager.

Not until it was all said and done did we realize that little Jack had been born at the same time my husband had been dying only a year earlier.  What had been destined to be a heart-wrenching evening had turned into one of joy and thanksgiving.  A gift from God to me.

Jack summer 2009

From the first moment that little fella was put in my arms, he loved me.  He wanted me even when his Momma was around or his Mawmaw.  And even though Jack was my sister’s first grandchild, she gave him up to me, letting him love on me instead of her many, many times.  And even though Jack was his Momma’s first-born son, she gave him up to me, to let him love on me many, many times.

How can I express my thankfulness to God for these women?  How can I make you understand how special a gift that was to me in a time I was losing every person I loved to death or mental illness or drugs?  What can I possibly say to convey the depth of aloneness that was relieved by this little baby’s hand grasping mine and his great love and longing he had for me?

My gratitude to God for this precious gift He gave me, even though his sweet Momma had to give birth five weeks early for me to get it/him on the day I needed, is deep.  I will not understand this life until I get to Heaven; it is too complex; there are too many contradictions.  Why does something bad happen or something wonderful happen?  When I was yelling and screaming and mad at God, He finally had a little talk with me, through chapters 38-41 in the Book of Job, and told me to stop.  I’ll let you read it and see what He said.

Tomorrow… Sweet little Sam.

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