I called my wife on the phone this morning and was met with a sobbing voice. When I asked her what was wrong she answered me with “I am total basket case this morning. I can’t believe it has been six months already.”.
Time flies even when you’re not having fun
Today is a day with sad undertones to it. It’s a day like any other day. It’s a happy day, being my third daughters fifth birthday, but today also marks six months since our best friends’ fifth child, John Joseph Huber, went to be with the Lord.
It seems like yesterday that we found out CeeCee was pregnant with baby John. And it seems not so long ago that we found out that he was going to have some problems when he was born. But for some reason it seems like an eternity since he left us. Maybe that’s a defense mechanism. Or maybe we just don’t want to remember the pain we felt when we got the phone call early in the morning on March 26.
Remembering – The first step toward healing
I am a proponent of the principle that if you ever expect to get through an emotional trauma that you need to be able to confidently speak of the event without fear of reverting back to the moment (emotionally) that the event occurred. I can say with experience that if you refuse to speak of an emotionally devastating event you are sentencing yourself to years of unnecessary turmoil and emotional scarring that could leave your heart callous and cold. If you cannot speak of it then you are not ready to confront it. And if you can’t confront it you cannot overcome it. I choose to overcome, so I choose to confront, so I choose to speak, or as is the case of my blog, write.
I remember hearing the initial reports of John’s potential upcoming battle and praying with my wife and kids for the Hubers. No parent should have to go into the later stages of pregnancy knowing that your unborn child might not be born alive. I remember holding out hope that God would perform a miracle and allow baby John to be born healthy and prove all the doctors wrong. I believe that God still performs miracles. But I also believe that God has a bigger agenda for us than He will reveal to us and that if He has need of someone or something He will use it to His glory.
I remember when John was born, the joy I felt for my friends and immense grace I felt poured out on my friends for God sparing them the heartbreak of giving birth to a lifeless child. I knew when John was born, as we all did, that he was going to have one heck of a fight ahead of him. But I also knew that he was a fighter. He proved that just by being born with a heartbeat.
I remember going to see John after a few weeks of being at home. We didn’t want to intrude on the Hubers, who naturally had every friend and family member thrust themselves upon the Huber house in an effort to provide support and assistance. And I remember that the boy was absolutely amazing. I don’t know if you have ever had the fortune of looking on a miracle of God with your own two eyes, but I can say that I got chills up my spine shen I saw him. Just the fact that he was alive was a miracle; but seeing him there, looking very similar to the way one of his older brothers looked when he was born, made his birth and life such a real event for me. He wasn’t some medical oddity to be explained in a medical journal or teachers curriculum somewhere down the road. He was a baby. A sweet, innocent, little boy that God chose to grace the world with. He was a blessing, a merciful and tangible dispensation of the work that God can do when faith and action meet.
He touched lives with the sheer amazement of what it took for him to join us here. God manifested Himself in the birth of John and showed Himself omnipotent by allowing John to come into our lives, albeit for a short time.
Into Your Hands
Six months ago this day God had need of John Joseph Huber. Looking back on the last six months it has become clear to me that God can do more with six weeks of life properly watered with faith and prayer than people can do with a lifetime of works and presentation. Never before had I seen a family come together in complete unity as I did when John was born. And never had I seen a family as closely knit as the Hubers as when John died.
I remember the funeral like it was yesterday. I remember all of the people, all of the flowers, all of the sorrow and sadness. I also remember a very strong Ray and CeeCee standing tall, offering condolences to others that grieved for their pain. I remember wanting so bad to get up when the microphone was offered and telling everyone to take a good look at these precious people of God who, having just lost a baby, managed to hold it together enough to get through all of their friends and family completely losing it.
And I also remember my seven year old Godson James, how devastated he was at the thought that his little baby brother was no longer a living part of the family. I remember sitting outside the chapel trying to keep him calm yet allowing him to grieve, cry, feel the raw emotions of this terrible event. I remember the questions of a child starting even then.
Relinquishing – Moving closer to healing
Anyone with half a heart would know that John’s death killed a part of the Huber family that day. The magnitude of the sorrow felt by that family is immeasurable and completely foreign to anyone that has not experienced it. So I cannot say from experience that turning over this suffering to God will help it get better. I don’t know that for sure in this case because I have never had to experience the loss of a baby. In fact, even as an innocent bystander to this entire situation I am still having a hard time letting go of the questions and confusion surrounding this.
And questions are still swirling in their family, I’m sure. How do you explain to a six year old child why his new brother isn’t around anymore? How do explain to all the kids, all under ten years old, what happened? How do you console a wife with a broken heart and no relative outlet for the pain and anguish she is feeling? How, as a father, do you continue to go about the daily duties a dad performs when everyday that you wake up you know that there is a part of your being missing? How do you turn that over to God? I suppose of that were a one sentence answer there would be no anger, depression, confusion or frustration in the world today.
Recovery is a long, dark road
As I sit here at my computer I begin to think of what my life would be like without one of my kids. I think of my wife, who during this whole ordeal felt guilt at being pregnant and NOT having anything wrong with our baby. I remember how unfair she told me it was, that she was allowed to carry our child and CeeCee had to carry John knowing what was coming. This was, and still is, difficult for a lot of people.
My heart grieves over the death of baby John. I myself am at a loss for the words to use when my kids ask me why John died. I have a very hard time telling them that the same loving and merciful God that gave them to my wife and I called upon John because He had a need for him. But at the same time I try to relate to my kids that the very same God delivered His own son into the hands of destruction because He had need of Him. I know I don’t have the answers and I am certain that God knows what he is doing.
I am not of the mind that I should ask God why but more that I should ask God what I can do now to bring about a witness to His name. Part of me wants to reach out and give the Hubers a great big hug until the pain wears off. Part of me wants to scream out with them as they continue to push through this living hell they are going through. And part of me wants to just sit down and love on my wife and kids for the mercy that God has shown me through them. Either way, my spirit still grieves as I think back on the short life of John Joseph Huber. Yet I count it all joy, even in the trials and tribulation. And I lift up Ray, CeeCee and the kids to the Lord that He might show Himself true to the grace that only He can offer and shed that grace upon their entire family. God will yet have His will done. And I am at peace with that.