There are things as a mom, that make me cringe. Or angry. Or cry.
Like when the girls flushed the toilet nearly 100 times because it "wouldn't go down" and water flooded the bathroom. I think I cringed and laughed at that one.
When jelly-stuck hands smear across the couch cushions, I get angry.
When everyone is having a melt-down at 5:35pm, and Paco is running late, and dinner isn't working, and I'm stressed and exhausted from the day, I want to cry along with the kids.
Or when Wesley took his diaper off to smear poo on the walls. That made me angry, and cringe, and cry.
I remember that morning clearly. And when people say "enjoy them while they're small, it goes so fast" I pray it goes faster because that is the memory I think of.
I remember thinking nothing in my cabinet of "cleaning products" would be good enough to erase those marks. In the textured stucco walls of his room, dark brown streaks covered the wall behind his bed. The stench ungodly.
The scrubbing and effort and process that went into cleaning those marks away was lengthy, and taxing, and something I hope to never do again.
It's funny what grief looks like on the outside and how it compares to the reality of what actually transpires inside the process.
The questions and phrases from average people aren't the things that make you crazy. Maybe it's just me, but I'm almost numb to the "I'm sorry"'s and the "We are praying for you"'s. Not because I'm not grateful for the support we have around us, but because I've heard it so many times in the last two weeks that my ears are nearly bleeding from the sound, or that my mouth is forcing out the same few responses to those words, with clichés and redundancy that make me cringe.
It's the stupid, small, less obvious things that make me want to curl up and join my daughter, in the only place where there's no pain or tears.
I remember going to the funeral home and thinking I wouldn't be able to even go inside without loosing it. Ironically, it wasn't the location or the talk of "options" that made me sob, it was the questions for the death certificate, like "she was never married?" And "she never had a job?" That had me weeping and barely able to answer. Thinking of how my daughter, a frail, and innocent baby girl, would never get to go to school or meet the man of her dreams.
I remember thinking the walk from the hospital to the car would be hard. And it was. But it was a harder walk from the small infant bassinet in our room to my bedside at 2am, when no baby would cry or need attending to.
I remember thinking the day we told masses of people at church about Esther's life and death would be difficult and full of tears. But it was easier than getting the call from the funeral home to come pick up the remains of what had been burned of our little girl.
I know there will be a day when it happens, but for now I've been sending Paco into the local stores and shops we visit often. The places where people will recognize me and that I'm no longer pregnant, and ask about our new baby. I am trying to picture how my aching heart will tell them in such short passing time, of how Esther passed away and went to be with Jesus, without loosing my mind, and also while sharing the gospel with them and not making a fool of Him.
I was talking with my sister-in-law, and one of my best friends. She said something that hit home for me, as it was also doing the same for her: I was preparing and so confident of the miracle, that I am finding I have to deal with the loss all over again as if I don't know or didn't know it was coming.
Regardless there are things that make me more upset than others. And it's always a surprise. Like that day with the poo. Each of these parts is like smears, like dark and tough stains etched in my routine. They're etched deep and pain deeper, and seem so difficult to manage. The task itself seems more daunting than the reality.
Some of the things make me sad, and I cry. Some things make me lonely, and I retreat. Some things remind me of the faithfulness of God and I smile and am filled with exceeding joy. Other things make me angry, and mad, and full of rage.
Things like the words printed beneath "CAUSE OF DEATH" on the death certificate. It reads "ANENCEPHALY" as if to name a power source. Another black mark smeared in my face.
But the thing that makes me so angry with that, is knowing truth, and the Truth. While anencephaly is the medical word used to describe Esther's condition, it isn't the cause of death.
The source of death and destruction is in the pit of hell, and goes by the name Lucifer.
And seeing the type there on the paper, calling it something else, makes me want to "sharpie" all over the page to identify the true cause.
But all the black marks in the world won't cover or erase or fix what's been written or what's been done.
But red ones will.
The red marks of Jesus on the cross offer the hope and promise that says "Esther is home". And complete. And perfect. And healed. And resting in perfect peace.
If death is knocking at your door, or your child's door, or hopelessness and the black marks of sin or this world surround you- there are red marks for you.
The red marks that scar His hands are for you and I. And they offer life and peace and hope and joy.
While they don't fix the temporary and seen things of right now, they will redeem what's been lost in time. And one day I will see her again. I will hold her again. As McKenna says "Esther has already seen my crown!"
So when my heart hangs low, or triggers replay the few brittle moments I shared with my daughter, the red marks stay true and lift me to the place where I belong.
Who would've thought, that black marks covered by red marks make perfection?
See the black marks I have to face amidst this journey, have a stench far worse than that morning with Wesley and his diaper mess. They stink of rot and decay of hope. But the red marks that hold my daughter and my very own redemption erase them, with no effort, and freely. It takes the hard out of hardship. He is strength for the weary and power for the weak. And those red marks saved my life, and are the things that saved Esther's life too.
So instead of shying away from difficulty, I've learned to embrace it. I'm seeing red. And everything looks good that way.