I’ve said from the beginning that God kept much of Elijah’s diagnosis from me until we got to the States because I wouldn’t have picked our family as his. I would have used countless excuses and reasoned away why we weren’t a good fit for him. I am so incredibly grateful that I didn’t. I’m thankful that we didn’t reason away the incredible gift God gave us through our son.
On the day of his shunt surgery, we found out that Elijah had a rare condition in which his hydrocephalus was combined with the fact that large parts of his brain were missing.
It was not until last Wednesday when I spoke to one of his therapists, that I realize this condition came with a shortened lifespan. She attempted to console me with the fact that she knew a child who lived to 9 years old and I almost passed out from what I was hearing. I contacted our primary care physician who informed me that many children do not live past 1 but for those that do, 4.5 years on earth was a good average.
I spent the next few days feeling as if the rug had been pulled out from under me and prayed as hard as I could. I grieved, told a very select few people and clung to Jesus & my husband.
I questioned God, cried and came to the conclusion (during the fits of anger, sadness and confusion) that my job as a Mother is to guide my children and help them figure out how to fulfill their chosen plot in life. As a Mom, we are blessed with a small window in which we help to cultivate the good, help them deal with the bad and shoot them out as arrows into this world. In the midst of my sadness, I vowed that I would help Elijah be the best that he could be with whatever time I had.
After meeting with one last specialist, we received hope that with proper care, Elijah could potentially live to be a teenager, but of course, there were no guarantees.
It is with this hope that I went to sleep on Tuesday night. It is this hope that made finding that my boy had gone peacefully in his sleep seem like a horrible nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from.
But in the midst of it, I want you to know that it was worth it. As hard, as unfair and as painful as the road has seemed, the gift that God gave our family in Elijah’s life is one that is beyond compare. He taught us to look past looks and diagnosis and all the things we normally see and live in the moment. He taught me that motherhood is so much more than I realized it was before.
Our family is better because of our little warrior.
Monday marks 3 years since God brought him to the Earth. 2 1/2 years ago, he sat nameless, in an orphanage awaiting his death. 2 years ago, we fell in love with his sweet cheeks and those eyes that burned into our souls and in our hearts, and we knew we had found our son. On Wednesday, May 14 (5 days shy of his 3rd birthday), our angel got his promotion. We take a tiny bit of comfort in knowing that he died surrounded by those who loved him more than life itself. He died with so much more than just a name.. He died a son, brother, grandson, nephew and friend.
He is mourned by much more than just a few nannies in an orphanage. He is mourned by a community of people who loved him and cheered him on.
I am ever thankful that God allowed us the opportunity to be his family and (like my cousin reminded me), he is now in heaven running away from my Grandma who is chasing him to pinch his cheeks!
RIP our warrior angel. Mommy, Daddy & your sisters are so thankful for you. You were a gift to us.