Today a friend of mine asked me if it has been hard to look at Charlie’s things. Babies don’t even have a lot of things…but all their things are adorable things. Painfully adorable things. Charlie’s teddy…is an adorable teddy. Charlie’s shoes are so miniature that they make you cry just looking at something so cute and tiny. In that sense…YES, it is utterly painful to look at anything that I had thought was going to belong to and be touched by my baby Charlie. Shoes his tiny feet will never learn to walk in. A teddy he will never cuddle with when he is scared in the night. A basketball he will never dribble, a spoon he will never hold, a kite he will never fly. So. Much. Pain.
But I was thinking today about the one outfit that Charlie did get to wear on his tiny body. Since I still had three weeks before Charlie’s due date, I hadn’t even gotten out Fred’s old clothes to wash them up for Charlie. It was one of the most painful moments of my life having to dig through the bin of Fred’s old clothes to pick out something for Charlie’s home going. But I knew instantly which outfit it should be. A tiny striped outfit with puppies on the feet. Every single one of our kids absolutely loves puppies. And since baby Charlie will always be one of us, and always match each of them, I decided a puppy outfit would be perfect for our baby boys Homegoing. Charlie’s. Home. Going. Even as I write these words tears stream down my face. There is so much meaning in those words.
Usually, an expectant mother lovingly packs a suitcase full of sweet, freshly washed baby things. A little knitted cap, a miniature outfit, and tiny baby booties. She imagines what it will be like to dress her little one in his new things, to bundle him up in the car, and to bring him home to his new life. This is how I wanted it to be. This is how I will always have wanted Charlie’s home going to be. But as I think back on the little outfit Charlie was buried in I am overcome at the beauty that I did kind of get to pick out his outfit for his Home going. I know that he had already died, but I will always think of the one little outfit that clothed my baby’s precious body as his special “Going Home” clothes. Going Home to His Savior. Going Home to eternity. To a far greater Place that was ready and waiting for our baby to come home to his new life.
I have often thought that if I ever had the sorrow of watching one of my children go to heaven before me, I wanted to be there with them during every moment of their dying. As I look back on Charlie’s last day of life I so wish I could have been with him in a different way. I wish I could have held his tiny hands and whispered “Goodbye.” I wish I could have told him every single thing I loved about him and how proud I was to be his mommy. I wish my eyes could have been the last thing he saw before he opened his eyes and saw the glory and beauty of Jesus’ face. So very much of this is not what I had wanted it to be. But what matters to me more than anything…is that when my baby opened his eyes for the first time (ever)…He was looking into Jesus’ eyes. JESUS was waiting for my baby at his going home party. This is a great comfort to my heart as I grieve today, because this is what we as parents long for more than anything. More than soccer games that I’ll never sit at, hugs I’ll never feel, and memories we will never make…my child is with Jesus for eternity.
And in that, I am sorrowful, yet rejoicing,