Thursday, January 16, 2014

Butterflies at Night...

I still have it.  The Mommy-Radar.  I can hear a burp - a cough - a muffled cry - a whimper.  My eyes jump open and I'm there next to them... to hold, to soothe, to fix whatever ails them.  I love this part of being a Mommy.  "The fixer" part.  Even if I'm only half awake.

Lately, Hope has been going through a bit of a growth spurt and wants to nurse much more frequently. This means I'm up more frequently through the middle of the night.  I go on auto-pilot.  I can sleepwalk to her... sleepnurse through the feeding...sleepchange her diaper... it all just magically happens.  And most times she magically goes right back to sleep.

Hope really doesn't like getting her diaper changed.  And typically that's the time that she's inconsolable.  I've stopped trying and generally just motor through the diaper change and hope Ed can sleep through the noise.

She woke up at 1:30am this morning.  I had fallen asleep well before 11pm and was really out of it when she started to stir.  Bleary eyed - I picked her up and, in a daze, walked to the changing table to get her a new diaper before I nursed her.  I will confess that I couldn't wait to get this changing/nursing/burping/back to sleep session over with.  I was just so tired.

But as I put her down on the table, something happened... to both of us.  I don't even know how to explain it... and I'm sure this will all come across as quite loony.  

Suddenly, we were both wide awake.  Under the glow of a mini flashlight that lays on the table for these middle of the night changes, I could see Hope looking straight up and smiling.  And in that moment I felt completely awake - like I had been well rested for days.

Usually at night we are both half asleep and often just going through the motions.  And, as I mentioned, Hope is usually screaming through these insulting diaper changes.  She's never calm enough or awake enough to notice her butterfly mobile, I thought as I stood there.

But there we were... the two of us wide awake.  I gave her mobile a little spin so the butterflies danced above her and just stood there watching her.
She was cooing... and kicking her legs.  She was smiling... and then started looking beyond the butterflies.  She even locked eyes with me several times.  And in that moment - I knew he was there.  In that moment, I was given the beautiful gift of alertness so I could spend time with Gavin and Hope.  I'm telling you - he was right there.  Any second, I expected to see him.  (I didn't - but he felt that close!)

I'm not lying to you when I say that we spent a half hour at that changing table.  It was after 3am when my head was back on my pillow.  I fell right to sleep with a smile on my face.

If someone you love has died - you are not alone.  Really - you're not alone!  They are there - around you - all the time.  Don't wait for a big, neon sign.  Don't wait for something grand or shocking.  They are in the small moments... the coincidences... the every day things.  I promise you - they are there.  And if you open your heart to that possibility, you will begin to notice the gifts they give you. 

Last night, I received a beautiful gift.  I stood there in the presence of my beautiful son's soul and felt so joyful - actually joyful! - as I watched Hope smiling at those butterflies dancing in the night.  
Sometimes the most profound gifts come from the most profound pain.



20 comments:

  1. Oh i know he was! That is so true the little moments the little fleeting feelings that flirt through your mind. Beautiful

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  2. I've totally had those moments myself. A former boyfriend suddenly died a week before his 21st birthday. Although he and I hadn't left things on good terms, I made my peace with him as much as I could, and attended his wake and funeral. It's been two years, and I still feel his presence, and had a dream about him that was so vivid, it took me hours to process. Time has healed my wounds, and I am now so grateful that he still takes the time to visit me and watch over me. I view it as his apology from above, and try to push the bad memories out of my mind, and cherish those moments he shares with me. Other people think I'm crazy, but It's just one of those feelings. So glad you boy visits you so often.

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  3. Tears are rolling down my face. Your experience is too beautiful for words. Thank you so very much for sharing. May God continue to bless you with these amazing and precious moments.

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  4. Just wonderful, love this! He was definitely there!! I know that my little man is here with us too.

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  5. How beautiful and I am sure that Hope could actually see him. They say that babies and very small children can see spirits ans they are pure of heart and free from sin. I am sure that Gavin was there with you both, enjoying some quiet time with his beloved Mama and little sister. I'm so happy for you :)

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  6. I totally agree with you. We can feel our loved ones. We just have to believe. What a beautiful moment for you and Hope. Chicken Soup for the Soul is currently looking for stories like this for their upcoming Guardian Angels book
    Angela @ Time with A & N

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  7. I just love this journal entry! So powerful.

    When my daughter was an infant I would always feed her the last bottle of the night in a chair that sits in the corner of our living room. Usually I would quickly burp her and off to bed we would go. Well one night (and many more to follow) she lifted her head while being burped and looked over my shoulder. Her eyes locked on something and she would get really animated. The first night I didn't think much of it, but the more it happened I realized that she saw her brother. My angel who had passed away two years before. I just know he was there with us.

    You are so right - we are never alone. We are never without our loved ones.

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  8. Today would have been my mom's 66th birthday. This morning I woke up and said happy birthday up to heaven and went on with my day. I started seeing my first patient and for the first time that day I heard the music that was on the radio. It was the song my mom used to sing to me when I was little. She was there! !

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  9. Amazing! I firmly believe that Gavin is always with you guys.

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  10. I just KNEW when I started reading your post that is was going to be a sign from Gavin! It just gives me goosebumps & I wanted to keep reading about it over & over again! My husband's little girl died in his arms 24 years ago and the moment she died, he physically felt Jesus 'lift' her soul and take her and she told him "I am ok". I know some people think that sounds weird or crazy, but the only reason I even know that, is because he gave that testimony to our Church congregation 15 years ago for people who were 'on the fence' about a God & heaven. My husband is a very quiet, reserved man and we had NO idea he was even going to speak that day. But I know that knowledge is how my husband is ok today. Anyway, how happy you must feel about Gavin still being so near. Rejoicing for your precious moments together with Hope and Gavin!

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  11. I love when we are able to feel our loved ones near! What a wonderful moment for you. My daughter, also named Hope, was 6 months old when my mother in law passed away. At the funeral, my Hope was completely engaged with the empty chair next to me. I have no doubt that my beloved mother in law was there entertaining her. Then on two separate occasions, when Hope was about two, she was playing in her room and talking to someone and I asked her who she was playing with and both times she said Granny, and I have no doubt that she was.

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  12. I love listening to my youngest son on the baby monitor talk an laugh in the middle of the night. I KNOW with out a doubt that its his big sister come to visit and play. :) Nothing makes me happier knowing that while he was never able to meet her this side of Heaven he still has a very real connection to her!

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  13. Magic. Blessings. Love. Faith...and of course, Hope.

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  14. Oh how sweet! I know it might sound crazy to some, but I totally believe. When my first grandson was born, just 4 months after my sweet mama had died, there were several times that I just KNEW she was with us. And further more, I felt confident that my infant grandson could see her. Your Hope is a special blessing, and God is so sweet to give her to you and your family. Hugs!

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  15. I don't think this is crazy at all! I was very close to my grandmother, who passed away several years ago. I swear I feel her presence at the oddest moments. She had a song she used to sing to us as children, when we would visit and knock on her bedroom door for a snuggle in the mornings. It will randomly pop into my head at the strangest times, and I know, without a doubt, that she is there with me at that moment. If you have even the smallest belief in God and in heaven, how can we not believe that our loved ones are not there with us?!

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  16. I'm so glad you felt him last night. You are so wise. I have been struck by how many of your readers have lost a child and feel such compassion for them. That you are so open and aware means your connection with Gavin will always stay close. It's not an 'in your face smack of recognition'. It's the whispers. I love that little boy so much. And his wonderful family.

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  17. I was told once to never write off a coincidence, because it is never that :) The morning my Nan passed away both my son and my best friends daughter stopped in their tracks and looked up at the sky at the same time (they were in seperate cities at the time) and both said "Nanny" at the same time, there is no doubt in my mind that she went to say good bye to her babies. The other night while I was cooking dinner, my 3 year old son came in the kitchen and repeated a sentence to my husband and I that my father in law always used to say (my father in law passed away 2 years before my son was born) We knew he was there with our boy <3

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  18. I got chills as I read this. What an amazing gift Gavin gave to you and Hope last night.

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  19. Kate, I read this today because as life would have it, the day this was published I was getting induce to have my second son and it happened to also be a year a 5 days after I lost his big brother. I couldn't agree with this entry more. My baby is now 3 months old and almost everyday I catch him looking up at his big brother's alter in my room (where his ashes are) and smiling. I swear he has done it since the day he came home. Maybe not the smiling but the total focus & intrigued staring. It is in those moments I know my Scottie is there in the room with us. I always talk about him to his brother, I am sure they knew each other in Heaven and I always tell my baby that it was his brother who sent him safely to me. Its those moments (although fleeting) that permanent hole in my heart gets temporary webbing, and I feel semi-whole.

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