I had to make some hard phone calls then.
It wasn’t lost on me that this is how it all started. How it all began.
That day a few weeks prior when the phone call reached me.
How easy it is these days. No need to dig for phone numbers scribbled out on scraps of paper or in tiny phone books at the bottom of a purse. No need to place an index finger in the numbered holes of a rotary dial and drag it heavily around its circle. No need to remember to dial a one and then an area code and then seven digits. No need to keep track of where you are in the dialing, wondering if you dialed it wrong.
No, that’s no longer necessary. There’s nothing to do that allows you to catch your breath or think of what to say.
All you have to do is simply swipe a screen and hit an icon.
Just like that. Doesn’t take much longer than the blink of an eye.
The signal that bounced around the atmosphere and landed in my ear that painful and fateful day was now mine to send.
I was now the one to make the call.
I cannot remember who I called first…I don’t. Yet, I remember what I said first thing to all of them.
Hello, __________. It’s me. I think you know why I am calling.
And if you ask me how they responded I could not tell you.
To some who were farther away both in proximity and in relationship…I simply texted.
Not knowing exactly what to tell them…I typed out words of what I thought everyone could absorb. Five words copied and pasted along the way.
Michael is with Jesus now.
Remarkably, that was hardest to do.
Because you see, even though I do believe in Jesus…I do…I had a hard time reducing it to words like this. It’s a little hard to explain and even harder still since I know that so many of those who prayed for us and who love us are strong believers and I realized that these words were what they wanted to hear. Not me. Not yet.
I didn’t want to make this a religious thing.
I didn’t want to lose the tremendous depth of what had just happened. Of what had happened during this entire experience.
This was more than just the idea of my son leaving this world and stepping into the presence of a Savior. So much more.
This was a Supernatural Encounter. Something bigger than human words could ever convey. Something far, far more beautiful.
Something that I did not want to be lost in the translation of simple words. Because it wasn’t that simple.
I didn’t want to chalk this experience up to that one idea. Reduce the entire experience to a platitude…with Jesus.
Yes, I’ll bet being with Jesus is glorious. More than we could ever imagine. Yet…we are so human that we only go so far with it. I believe that if we knew…truly knew the experience of the afterlife…we would not be so quick to define it with a few simple, easy to absorb words.
I believe we would be totally dumbfounded. Speechless.
I’ve heard it a thousand times before and have heard it since. And kick me…I have probably said it to others myself.
It’s what people say when they don’t know what to say. It’s what most religious folk believe brings a Momma comfort at a time like this.
So I guess I wanted to beat everybody to the punch. Yes, I already knew that.
Michael is with Jesus now.
After all was said and done. After all calls and texts I thought necessary were made.
I sat a minute beside him.
At that moment it wasn’t the best place to be.
I could do it when he was living and breathing.
But if I sat there long, I would fall apart.
Here before me laid my son! My boy!
And he was dead.
The body I brought into this world. The one I grew in my womb for months and months and fed with a cord that connected us in a way that is more intimate than anything else in this entire world. That body now laid there an empty shell.
How does a Momma do it? I mean, all I’ve ever known is his heartbeat.
If I sat there long enough, I would want to die, too.
It was then in all of that quiet that I heard it. Became keenly aware of it. The sound of my own heartbeat deep in my ears. That throbbing whoosh of blood as it pulsated through my body.
Looking back on it, that sound rang out loud and clear during those weeks when I was alone and all was quiet enough. I believe now that it was trying to tell me something.
I took note of it. Sat there listening to it. Embracing the irony.
I thought of how it always sounded the same. Even if it was broken into tiny little pieces. It never lost its rhythm.
I was alive. I had lived through this (oh! how now I am shaking my head as the tears of reality run down my face).
I had no choice now. None.
I had to let this heartbeat of mine represent the both of us. I’d have to carry my son in the womb of my heart now. Allow every single heartbeat of mine to remind me of his.
I would have to do my son justice. I would have to represent him well. For the rest of my life.
Just about then I felt my phone signal incoming texts. Those I had called were coming through the curtain.
So I squared my shoulders and stood to greet them.
We had to move forward now.
This broken heartbeat and me.