Catching Fireflies 

That night when I closed my eyes, I saw her. A beautiful, innocent little girl. Running through her yard on a crisp night, catching fireflies with her brothers. Laughing, smiling. She didn’t know pain, she didn’t know heartache. To her the world was bright and beautiful, full of light.

That little girl was me.

Oh, how I wanted to scoop that little girl up in my arms and beg her to stay little forever. I wanted to warn her of the heartache that would be hers if she grew up. She was still so innocent. She believed good things happened to good people. She believed the world was a good place, a place with endless possibilities and hope. She knew nothing of heart wrenching pain.

She was safe.

Her world was wonderful.

If I could only warn her, tell her. Explain to her that life isn’t always roses and butterflies. That sometimes life is so hard. Sometimes the unthinkable happens. I wanted to tell her that the unthinkable does happen, to her.

I wanted to tell her that one day she will sit in a NICU surrounded by her husband and family and by what seems like a million doctors, holding her beautiful, perfect son as he struggled between holding on and letting go. She would struggle between making a decision to leave him on life support or unplug him. She would sigh a breath of relief when she didn’t have to make that decision. But she will feel heart wrenching pain at the decision God made for her.

I wanted to tell that innocent little girl that one day, not to long from now she would have her rock bottom moment. The moment when nothing in this world seemed to matter. She would crawl into her bed, wishing she could just waste away. Her heart would be broken, into a million pieces, and everyone who loved her would try so hard to help her piece them back together. But it was broken. There was no piecing it back together.

I wanted to forewarn this little girl, so maybe she would be prepared. But I just stood there. Motionless, in the shadows as I watched the little innocent girl run around with her brothers.

Catching fireflies.

I had reached it. My rock bottom. Sure, I had plenty of bad days after I lost David. But this night, this was the worst night by far. I sat in the corner of my bathroom. Clutching my sons hat. It still smelled like him, like oranges. Hot tears were streaming down my face. I had an ever present lump in my throat. My husband stood in front of me. I could see the pain in his eyes. He was hurting, he wanted to help me. But no one could help me. I had reached that moment. That moment when I questioned every single thing I ever knew. I questioned if there was even really a God. I yelled, I screamed, I cried. I tried to find some kind of answer to all my many questions. There were no answers. After many hours my husband finally coaxed me into bed. I lay there clinging onto my sons hat. Willing him to come back to me. Sleep wouldn’t come, and in the dark hours of the night, I came to the conclusion that if I couldn’t have my son then I didn’t want to be here on earth anymore. I wanted to waste away. Lay in bed and never get up.

The next morning was Sunday. I didn’t sleep much the night before. My heart was too broken, to heavy. “Get up, get ready, we are going to be late for church.” My husband said. “I’m not going, you aren’t going to change my mind, so you might as well not even try” I snapped back. He left. I could see the heaviness in his eyes. We couldn’t help each other. It was too hard. I laid in bed for what seemed like an eternity. I couldn’t will myself to get up. It was to hard, pointless.

I closed my eyes and saw my younger, more innocent self again.

Catching fireflies.

I wished I was her, that little girl didn’t know pain. She thought everything was safe. I wanted to be her again. I had lost my innocence. Good things didn’t happen to good people. The world wasn’t bright and happy.

A while later I heard my door open. I didn’t even attempt to get up.Someone crawled into bed with me, She wrapped her arms around me and I could tell by her perfume and strong loving embrace that it was my mom. Tears came, they wouldn’t stop. I bawled for what seemed like hours. She let me, she cried with me, and held me like I was that little girl again.

“I don’t know where to go from here, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.” I said as I wiped tears from my eyes, it was a pointless venture, tears just kept coming anyway. “You get up, you get dressed, and you come with me so we can go eat.” My mom said.

And I did.

I have had many more bad days since that day. I still continue to have bad days. Even after having my daughters. I miss my son. I still question, why. But if I knew why, would it make the pain go away? No it wouldn’t.

The pain would still be there.

This big empty hole in my heart.

The empty chair at my table.

The missing person in all our family portraits.

The missing car seat from my car.

The missing room and bed.

They would all still be there.

I have had many people try to explain this to me, but you can’t. You can’t explain the unthinkable. You can’t explain away this pain. This pain is the type of pain that only someone who has also lost a child somehow, someway could understand. I wish that everyone could understand this pain. Then the explanations would stop. But you can’t, unless you have been there. And I would never wish this kind of tragedy on anyone.

Because with this kind of pain comes loss of innocence.. With this pain comes the emptiness. With this pain comes the worst kind of reality, the reality that good things don’t always happen to good people, that sometimes there is no explanation. The kind of pain that makes you wish you were that little kid again.

The one catching fireflies.


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