Lately I have been missing Jack.
No one around here knows about Jack and in some ways that makes him seem less real. People see Adam, Megan, and myself and have no idea that what they see is an incomplete image of our eternal family. And what’s more, they do not know what we know of pain, heartbreak, and sorrow.
I am sure that in time a few people will become familiar with our story; it is hard to know when the appropriate or “right” time is to share such a story.
Anyway, this post isn’t going the direction I intended, so here goes.
I have been thinking a lot lately about what it might have been like had Jack lived, albeit with disabilites and delays.
When I was pregnant with Jack, the thought would often cross my mind “what if there is something wrong with this baby?” I imagine many pregnant women worry about the same thing, but it was very persistent in my mind. I don’t think that it was a worry so much that my son would be so sick that he would die, but more a worry that I would have a handicapped or developmental delayed child.
Remember, I had no reason to suspect that Jack would be born with problems. We had every reason to believe the opposite, that our baby would be perfect and healthy…like most babies are.
I told myself during that time that I wouldn’t be able to handle it if my baby was born with learning difficulties. I had never been a person who was comfortable around people who were “slow” or handicapped, and I knew I would really struggle if I was a mother to such a child.
And then Jack was born.
We will never know for sure (or maybe “someday” we will) but there is a good chance that Jack would have indeed suffered developmentally: had he lived.
Now, when I look around and see other boys who have developmental delays, I always think of Jack. I always wonder if that is what Jack would have been like.
And I wish that I would have gotten to raise him. Handicapped, delayed, slow, retarded, whatever: I could not care less.
Well…I guess there is part of me that is grateful that he didn’t have to suffer through a life like that. He does not have to endure human cruelty, or frustration, or a constant feeling of being incapable.
But my goodness no mom would have loved their son more.
And then there is the part of me that wonders if he would have been perfectly normal and healthy.
But again, we’ll probably never know. The “what if” won’t be nearly as important when he is in my arms again, so I don’t know if I will even care to ask.
Recently I saw a scene from a television show where a pregnant mother learns that her baby in utero will either die or will be born with learning disabilities. As they wheel her into surgery to try to save the baby’s life, she imagines what it would be like to raise a child with such severe problems. And she, like me, doesn’t think that she could handle it. But the dream sequence shows her how much she would just love her son, and how rewarding and wonderful such a challenge actually would be. After surgery, she is so excited about the prospect of raising such a special son.
In the end, however, her baby dies. And she is heartbroken. What might have been always haunts her and she is devestated.
It’s just a silly television show, but it had me in tears.
Because the dramatized pain she felt was oh-so-real.
At least for me anyway.
I’ve included a video clip of the scene from “youtube”. It is not the best clip, and the music is a little annoying, but at least you’ll get an idea of what I mean. The clip is only the woman’s dream sequence.