This post is part of a series. (Read Part 1 HERE)
Please note that there are some very raw and heartbreaking photos at the end of this post. There are many folks who’s hearts cannot handle looking when they are hurting so much themselves. We wanted you to be fully aware and make the best choice for your heart and grief process.
The drive home was quiet and almost a fog. I wondered if anyone in the other cars knew what I was going through. Walking into my home for the first time was gut wrenching. Brenden’s nursery was in our room, there was no “shutting the door” to make it all go away. Bill and I went to bed that night in each other’s arms sobbing till we actually fell asleep. This is not what we thought our first night home from the hospital would be like. The next days and weeks felt the same. There was too much silence, there should be a baby who is crying while I’m trying to figure out what he needs. There should be no time to clean the house and do dishes. My house was spotless and perfectly quiet. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Empty.
My parents flew down that weekend to spend some time together. Time to weep, time to hurt for this loss, and in that time it brought healing. There was a lot of brokenness that surrounded the news of Brenden. I was raised that there was an order to things, that God has an order as to not get hurt, protection of sorts. Brenden was out of order but he was loved the same. I may have not been perfect but Brenden was. When my father saw me that first time in the driveway after losing Brenden, he knew this was not what he had wanted. This was not what he wished when he asked brokenheartedly how I could have done this upon hearing the first news of Brenden. Brenden broke each and every one of our hearts so badly that we couldn’t worry about who was right, it was about how the only way any of us will make it through this is by holding onto what is left of each other.
I often think of the two other women on my floor that night. There were eight of us total and 3 of us had lost our children, that’s almost half of us. What their hearts must have been going through as well. Were they blessed enough to have the nurses that I had that night. Ones that cried with me and let me know I was not alone in my sorrow. Ones that let me talk about him and what the idea of him truly was to me, to us. I pray those women found peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding. The only peace you could ever find in this vicious sorrow filled storm. The peace that God is good.
I had shared throughout my pregnancy wonderful moments and now memories of life with Brenden. I felt it was only fair to post about him and our loss. The response was mind blowing. I couldn’t believe that his precious little life without a single breath had touched so many lives. People went home and hugged their children tighter, appreciated that there were children to spill the milk, and made sure to tell their children that they loved them when they decided to tuck them in that night. I know this because they told me, people spoke up and wrote messages of change and love inspired. I couldn’t have asked for anything more, to know my son had an impact on this world, more impact than I could ever make. He touched parts of people including myself that needed to be awakened.
Awakened in its best form. Though there is an empty crib and silence, God is doing a work in me. Learning this new life has been a challenge and it’s not anywhere near over. Not a career woman any longer but also not a fully functioning mommy. God has shown Himself in those moments of complete desperation, that above any title I am His. You don’t get over this type of loss, you learn to survive each day until the overwhelming ache hurts just a little less.
People have asked me how are you so strong, you seem to be handling things so well, ask how I am not mad at God for allowing this. I mean it’s a valid question and everyone is allowed to travel their own journey of grief. But in response, I ask them to envision being on the tiniest boat in the biggest storm of your life, would you throw out your one and only life preserver? God is the only One that can keep my head above water in this most painful storm of life.
Brenden taught me so much through this life experience. I choose a life of less frustration. I think after you suffer a loss of this magnitude nothing is worth getting upset over. On a comparison scale, nothing matters. I think of my father and how he felt when he was told I may have not made it through that night. Then magnify that by a thousand because my son actually did die. And there you will find a barely beating heart, that is bruised enough to know that not every battle has to be fought. You must save your strengths for true battles, ones where God puts you so low that had you wasted your efforts on mere frustrations you wouldn’t be able to see Him in pure darkness.
Everyday there are gentle reminders of my boy; these reminders come with tears and joy but mostly they come with hope, hope that life does goes on, hope that this pain does not define me. I’m just a different Britni now, a better Britni because of Brenden.
Looking back I am grateful that God ignited that love inside me for this child. God knew the whole time that He was going to allow this loss and I am just so honored that God made me grateful for the time I did have with my son. Loss burns away all things that are no longer essential to our lives. I have learned a lot through this journey so far, mostly to love uncontrollably, love in every form possible.
Brenden, if I knew every ounce of what I now know, the absolute tragedy of your death, and immense heartbreak not having you has brought; I would still choose you. A thousand times over, I choose you.
This has been written in hopes of letting other women and families know they are not alone. It is true when they say no one gets it until they themselves have unfortunately gone down this awful road as well. Not only are you not alone but you are blessed to be given this gift. So many woman ask themselves in a saddened way “what did I do to deserve this?” I ask myself the same question but in a very different way. God is good, God is faithful. The love that God has poured down on me through this loss even when I didn’t want it, the healing that he brought to my family when it seemed all hope was lost, the tenderness that has transformed my spirit and outlook on life, the true question is even within my tears, “What have I done to deserve this, thank you Lord.”
Written by: Brenden’s Mommy – Britni Lyn Pemberton
Pictures of Britni and precious Brenden. See below…