I don’t talk much about my journey or for the fact of matter, our journey’s. When you experience loss, it’s something you rarely want to discuss. However, Joshua and I didn’t just experience losses, we experienced tragedies.
Seven years ago I lost my first born due to nurse’s not listening to me while my son was recovering from a surgery that was supposed to give him a higher chance of survival. He was severely dehydrated and needed a blood transfusion asap and it sent him into cardiac arrest, for 45 minutes, while I sat there and watched my son fight for his life. That put him on life support for three weeks where we believed he was going to make it and was making plans to go to Pittsburg for more medical support. Only to find out he had extensive brain damage with three huge brain hemorrhages that shifted his brain. With much medical advice and opinions, it was damage that meant my son had low chances of ever having a normal life. Pittsburgh got cancelled because they wouldn’t give a baby in his condition a new liver or kidneys knowing he most likely didn’t have a chance to live a “valuable” life. So I had to make a decision. To push through it all and find out if he would be normal only to watch him slowly die due to his bad liver and kidney, or to pull his support then.
How did he end up there? He was born with a birth defect called gastroschesis, a term that means your intestines are on the outside of your body when your born. My son at just one week endured three surgeries, a total of 7 major surgeries and several mini procedures, and he passed away at just 8 months. We lived in the NICU the first three and a half months of his life. Not ever knowing what was outside of a hallway, a tree or even what grass was. Not knowing the feeling of fresh air, Sun rays, or what dirt was. My son lived a tough life but you would have never known it because he had a very beautiful spirit and a great smile. Sick kids always seem to have that gift don’t they?!
Joshua had a tough upbringing and didn’t see a flash of light until he met his first wife. They spent seven beautiful years together where she showered him with love, compassion, and gave him meaning and purpose to his life. She was tragically ripped away from him one ordinary morning, spent like every other day, when a young girl ran a red light and had a head on collision with his wife just one light away from the where they worked. It killed her on impact. Just imagine you are blindly in love, and you have so much love being poured on you and you’re pouring all of that same kind of love back onto them and then, BAM! You not only stop receiving it, but you also no longer have anyone to shower.
Nothing can, nor nothing will ever take away the pain, anger, or holes we have from our tragedies. People tend to think you can get over things, but you don’t ever get over losses, no one does. You only learn to live with it. You learn to manage, you learn all over again who you are going to be with half of you gone. Time does indeed heal you only because in time you heal yourself. It’s a constant battle, it’s not an easy one, it’s a struggle of your life.
God has a funny way however of making miracles happen, even to the most unfortunate, and undeserving. Our past had sent me to being a single mother at 23, struggling to be on my own, working in nightclubs downtown and him moving to Austin to run away from the pain and drink his sorrows away. We weren’t proud of who we were. How could we be? We were still very angry with the world. I questioned God everyday and for Josh, he had no desire to make it to his forties. The thing that people don’t realize, is when you have significant losses like this, meaningful people taken from you, life and people lose all flavor and all your patience. When I say meaningful, I’m not talking about a mother, a father, or grandparent. Now, let me say, yes those are hard, they ache the heart body and soul. Statistically speaking though, losing your spouse is the highest ranking life changing event that sends you to depression. When you take stress test they ask you questions and then they rank them by points, losing your spouse is the highest amount of points. A child is right below. Losing your parent or a grandparent allows you to keep doing the same daily things in your personal life, losing your wife or a child alters your daily events immediately. You are hit with a harsh reality very fast. Your purpose…no longer exists. You wake up in the morning and go to bed constantly being reminded your alone.
Our lives changed when we met one another. We saw something amazing the first night we met, we talked for hours about our losses and we knew we understood each other. For the first time, we met someone who thought like ourselves. This world around us was meaningless, yet somehow with each other we had meaning. Then we discussed further and found out we had experienced some same things in our upbringing. To top it all off I fell in love with Josh that night because I asked him if he had children, his answer, was, “Nope, no trophies.”
My heart just skipped a beat.
Did he just call kids trophies, and he never even had one!?!?!
My soulmate had been found! Within four months he met my son, and fell in love with him. He treated him like his little friend from the moment he saw him. Their friendship blossomed into something I thoroughly enjoyed watching. Ayden learned to trust Josh, rely on him, and love him. It was truly beautiful, even if that meant he picked him occasionally over me for rides, cuddles and bedtime stories.
In the four years we have been together we have had two more trophies added to our trophy shelf and we currently have one in the making. We got married on 11-11 of this year and enjoyed a happily ever after themed wedding.
It seems like the perfect ending to a horrible story, well two horrible stories, but honestly it took work. It took both of us a many of days of reminding ourselves to count our blessings, to remind us that we aren’t just lucky, but that what we have are little lessons living around us everyday. The main lesson I think we both can agree on, is that it’s natural to want to shut everything and everyone out after you lose your world. We both pushed God away at times, and both had moments of giving up. It sounds cliche but you really never know what God has in store for you when you finally push through and finally fight through the darkness. For me, I honestly felt like I had God pulling me out of the darkness. My image I have always had is me laying face down on the ground and God literally dragging me by my arm, telling me I’m not done with you yet.
When I was at my lowest, I went to go see my pastor, I needed help. This was at a time I got tired of everyone telling me how I should be feeling and what I should be doing. He was different. He looked at me and said I have one question for you, “Are you still hurting?” I laughed sarcastically, how could he ask such a question?! Of course I am! Angrily I answered, “Yes!” His response is one I hold dear to this day, “Then hurt, let it hurt, I know you feel like you’re in mud and you can’t move. Stay stuck in the mud. Feel sad, trudge through all that pain and let it weigh you down. Remember every feeling of it. Just know though, you can’t always stay there. At some point you eventually have to get out of the mud.”
I told Josh that same thing in our second month of dating when he didn’t answer my phone calls for two days. He finally called me and explained it was rough for him. He couldn’t stop thinking of his wife and knew we were growing together fast in our relationship and he didn’t know how to handle it. The response I gave was one he wasn’t expecting, but it was one he needed to hear. It was a moment that we built our friendship upon. Again, our relationship was one that was not always easy, healing is hard! We just want you to know don’t give up!
Don’t ever give up!
Life is hard, it sucks! Royally! You never know though when it’s time to step out of the mud and watch miracles happen in your life. You never know when God is wanting you to step up and speak your story.
“And we know that in all things God works for the Good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
That verse was read coincidently twice at my sons funeral, I knew it meant something then. Five years later I found a sign while Josh and I were house decorating and I knew it was perfect for our home. It’s perfect now for this blog. Good faithful servants, times may suck now, but even in the darkest of stories when you are at the rock bottom, God has not forgotten you, nor forsaken you, he has plans for you. Don’t give up! You never know, you may end up with a story like ours, one we both never expected for ourselves, one full of many, many, many, little blessings…and lots of trophies!
Push on and believe in miracles.- The Williams family