There are MANY people that are important in my life and what happened with Charlie has forever changed how I feel about everyone around me.
Let me start by saying yesterday and today were exceptionally difficult. They were again days that I needed to overcome and get through. They were actually not unbearable, just out of my comfort zone. I started school again full time and while I thought it would be hard, being with my students (aside from being with my twins) was the most exceptional part of the last two days.
Monday began as it normally does during the school year with a 5:45 A.M. alarm. It was a day I needed and longed for but I knew it was going to be one of those I can't think I'm so tired kind of days by the end. I saw friends at school, I smiled at people in the hallway, I talked about Charlie at lunch (just a little), and I began a new year with my class; I got back to the place that I love doing something that I love to do. However all day my mind wandered to Charlie and what life would have been like in each of those moments if he were still here. I would have been home with him. I wouldn't have come back to school until after Labor Day. I can't help but think about him and miss him all the time.
My heart hurt. I held in the tears for most of the day. After school I got the mail as I normally do and found amongst the bills from Children's and the one or two sympathy cards Charlie's death certificate. The tears finally came and once again the most dreadful (and at the same time encouraging) place in our house as of late, our mailbox, became the place for my sorrow to overflow. I read it as if I was uncertain of what it was going to say. I knew what happened. I knew why Charlie was sick. But I wanted to read it and rewrite the ending. Maybe if I read it again it would change. It didn't. Charlie's liver failed him. He had some type of genetic disorder that we are still uncertain about that caused his brain and liver to stop fighting the infection he had. He was sick and he didn't get better.
I went to school today after a long night of an upset stomach, with puffy eyes and a sore body to find my student's had quickly bypassed the "honeymoon" period we call it and had gone straight to their "normal" (which for six year olds can be pretty demanding on anyone). They are all extremely lovable. There is not one of them I would ever not want in our school family, but they are six and they need 100% of my attention 100% of the time. It's what keeps my job exciting and exhausting all at the same time. Today was little different though. It was exhausting in a whole new way.
I have a picture of Charlie on my desk. One of my students came up to my desk and asked me who it was in the picture. I told them it was Charlie and left it at that. Maybe they knew. Maybe they wouldn't ask anything else. Another student quickly followed with "How old is he now?" Obviously the picture of Charlie was when he was first born. I knew I couldn't avoid talking about Charlie with my class, so I explained to them quickly that Charlie got sick this summer after he was born and he passed away. Several students after that said, "My mom told me about Charlie, but she said not to talk about it because it would make you sad."
At that instant I realized it can't be about me. So many people are looking out for me; they are worried about me, they are praying for me, and they are thinking about me. I am so beyond thankful for all of the people praying for me and thinking about me. I am certain I couldn't make it through a day without every single one of those prayers, but what about everyone else? As I continue to go to work and come home to my kids I have to realize it's not about me. Charlie isn't here with us anymore and while I desparately want to change that I can't. What I have to make myself realize now is that there are people that are here and now those are the people in my life that I need to love. Those are the people God wants me to serve.
1 John 4:8 says, "...let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love-so you can't know him if you don't love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about."
I know it's about my husband. Did I ask him how he felt today? Did I think about what I could do for him? Was I willing to do him a favor when he asked? Did I tell him I love him?
I know it's about Macy and Johnny. When I got home did I give them a huge hug? Am I really present when I am with them? Do I think about what is best for them at all times? Did I put forth my best effort for them even if they don't fully understand what I am doing for them yet? Did I put them before myself?
I know it's about my family and friends. Did I call to check on them? Did I stop into their classroom or office at school to see how they were doing? Did I remember an event or something that was important to them? Was I pleasant when I was with them?
I know it's about my students at school. Was I patient with them when they weren't following directions? Did I remind myself they are six and seven years old when they ignore me? Was I considerate of the morning they could have had at home? Did I think about their feelings when I spoke to them? Did I sit with them when they were unsure about how to complete the work I asked them to do?
My prayer as I move forward is that I keep others in the forefront of my mind. I want to love others well. I think the simple reminders I have daily of Charlie are also meant to be reminders that while I am here I need to love others the way Jesus is loving Charlie right now; completely selflessly.
So as I finish up this post I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for caring for us, sending us cards, sending us gifts, saying hello, asking about Charlie, acting "normal" with us, and for helping us; and I want to also say, please do not stop. I still need you to pray, but I want you to know that I will also pray for you and for all those stinky things satan throws in our paths. None of this is easy alone. It's a good thing God knows that and we can make it through it all together.