Monday, April 4th is my Astyn’s birthday. She would have been 37 years old. That’s weird to me. In my mind she will be forever 14 years and 4 weeks old. She was due on Easter Sunday in 1985, but my doctor asked me to induce so she wouldn’t come over the weekend. She was born on Thursday the 4th even though she was due on the 7th not only Easter Sunday but my brother’s birthday. There was a small stuffed bunny in her crib at the hospital and she was forever my little Easter baby.
It’s a strange thing, losing your child. You lose part of yourself. You lose more than you realize. I lost being called ‘Astyn’s mom.’ I lost a group of moms I sat with at events. I lost her friends in my home. I didn’t need SpaghettiOs or as much peanut butter. I just left that part of my life without having time to prepare or consider how difficult it might be. I lost her part in our family. Oh, my, the crazy but brave youngest of four child – how she tested me but how she taught me to love in a whole new way. How very uninhibited she was, how anxious she was to be as old as her sisters, how very tender she was. Many times, as I learned to hide my grief from the rest of the world I missed her again. She had that empathetic eye that would have asked me, “What’s wrong, mama?” when no one else could tell. It was strange to miss that and realize the reason I grieved was because ‘that’ was missing.
As I did a big cleanout one day I came across a large trash bag full of troll dolls. Yes, she loved them. I missed her playing with them and thought to myself, ‘I’ll save these for her children.’ Wow! I had to shake myself. It was just one of those slips of the mind, one of those moments when the real isn’t real. One of those moments when you feel it like it just happened. I lost putting a wedding together and seeing a bride’s smile. I lost watching her be a mom. I lost rocking her babies and being their MaMa. Would she have followed through with life goals or would they have changed? I would have cheered her on either way. I lost a life that day…and part of it was mine.
As I tried to reconcile myself to being here without her, Father held me so close. I cannot even explain the feeling, but much more than a feeling. His very real presence let me know that He was grieving for me too. I don’t know how anyone can do life without God. I don’t know how God let His Son go for 33 years and let Him die for my salvation! But I am grateful! I am so very grateful. As I miss my child I realize that Father let His go so I could have mine back. No one has ever given me a gift like that. No one would.
Bunnies and eggs in the store mean it is my Astyn’s birthday. Her last birthday here was on Resurrection Sunday. All that Easter is burns inside my heart. As I think on this very special gift and this time we set aside to especially remember, I am brought to my knees in adoration and humbled with deep humility. Jesus rolled the stone away. He gave life where there was no life. He opened the doors of Heaven…and He escorted a sweet smiling girl to the land of eternal day. At the same time, He counted each of my tears, held me close and gently whispered, ‘don’t cry, Diane, she is not dead but only sleeping and I have brought her in to my fold. She joyfully waits for you there.’
Luke 8:51-56 John 3:16-17