September 13, 2008

Jonathan's headstone...

We got a call on Thursday that Jonathan's headstone had been set. We have been waiting for this call, and were suprised that it came this soon. We were really anticipating it coming more towards the end of September, so we were excited to see how it looked. Thursday night was already full (more about the support group we went to in a bit), so Friday after work, we headed to Frisco to see it. I'm glad we got these pictures--as you can tell from the sky, the clouds of Hurricane Ike were already making the sky a bit darker.
The headstone is beautiful--exactly how we hoped it would look. It kind of took my breath away when we walked up and saw it for the first time. I'm so glad that others will know his name when they come to the cemetery, but it was very strange to have it so real--our son is gone, he is buried there, and he will never be in our arms again. The headstone makes all that final. But--I'm happy to have it there. Now everyone will know he was our 'small gift from God' and that we are thankful that God is taking care of him. His angel (from my mom) is still there also--hopefully it won't be a problem when they mow. I look forward to keeping his grave looking nice. I know some people don't believe in visiting graves, or might think it's morbid, but I want to do it. It almost feels like the only thing left, as Jonathan's mom, I can do for him.
The verse reference is our verse from the top of the blog, and the emblem on the right side has two hands together (like praying) with a cross, and words that say "in God's care". Isn't it beautiful?

Now for a bit more about the support group we went to Thursday night...The group is called MEND (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death) and they have a support group the 2nd Thursday of every month. I had been wanting to try it out and see if it would be a helpful group to be a part of. We went with another couple, our friends Yana and Jonathan, who had a miscarriage at 13 weeks back in June. It was an interesting night. There were about 10 or so couples, along with some moms with teenage daughters, and a couple women by themselves. We went around and shared our loss story at the beginning--some had lost babies after birth due to sickness, disease, or SIDS, some miscarriages, and some as a result of incompetent cervix, like me. I really could identify with some of them. The leader asked a question to start of the discussion, and then it was opened up to whoever felt comfortable talking. We didn't really share that much, but only because a few people kind of hogged much of the discussion. Some of the things that some people said, for me, gave me peace that other people had the same feelings, but some of the people just seemed kind of bitter. A completely understandable emotion, given the situation, but some of these people had lost their baby over 6 years ago, and still were really bitter. I don't want to be that way! I also got the idea that some of them continually brought up their child, intentionally, to friends/family members who were uncomfortable talking to them--almost in a spiteful way. As much as I want to remember Jonathan, talk about him with my friends and family, and not just move on and forget him, I want to be sensitive to my family or friends that it might be uncomfortable for. I know that we'll never forget him, that he will always be a part of my thoughts each day, but I understand completely that others move on with their lives and don't think about him as much as I do!
So all that to say that I don't think that this is the group for us. It does great things, and I'm sure is helpful to some people, but just not for us! Plus, the fact that it is south of the airport, about an hour from our house, makes me want to look for one a bit closer to home! I already feel like I have my own little support group already with my friends here that have gone through loss. I'm thankful for them and the help they've already been. We went out to dinner with Andy and Elisabeth on Wednesday night. We all really hit it off and spent about 2 hours talking. Elisabeth and I talked about each of our babies, and what happened to us over the last weeks. I know that she and I will be a support to each other--it is nice to talk to someone who really gets you. So many of our emotions, reactions, and experiences are the same. We both miss our babies more than anything, wish they were back with us, don't really understand God's plan, but we both trust Him. We know He is carrying us through--even through the hardest days.

Please keep your prayers coming--for us and for the Solomons. I know the prayers for us have helped us so much. I'm really having more good days than bad days as of late. Weekends seem to be harder than weekdays, since I'm not quite as busy, but so far, I'm doing okay this weekend. There are always things that will spark a bit of sadness though--I was driving down to the grocery store this morning, before the hurricane effects get too close to us, and I saw something that made me have a "I wish..." moment. A big tall guy was walking down the street with his little boy, probably about 1 1/2 years old, on his shoulders. The dad reminded me of Justin, and instantly thought, I wish Justin had gotten to walk with Jonathan on his shoulders like that. So things like that, reminders of what will never happen, are the hard things right now. But I know that Justin WILL get to walk with his children on his shoulders!! We will have more children! I'm praying that God would bless us soon with a baby! I know that we are to be parents to children here on earth!

I have just two more weeks of subbing, which I'm glad about. I've really enjoyed being there, working with some great kids, but I'm ready to spend a bit of time doing some remembrance things with Jonathan's things and pictures. I'm planning on making a scrapbook, a shadow box to hang on the wall, and some other things. I'm ready to do that now, and am really looking forward to it. Plus, my brother's wedding is just 3 weeks away!! I'm SOOO looking forward to being there!

I just realized how long this blog is, so I'd better finish up! So far, Ike is just bringing us some heavy winds and some light rain. I don't think it should be too bad, so I think I'll use the weather outside to keep me inside so I can get my house cleaned!! Have a great weekend!


Robyn Kitchings said...

The headstone is just stunning! Thanks for sharing!


Bryan said...

I agree with Robyn, the headstone is just perfect! and yes, I also believe that you will be a mommy to more incredible kids! Continuing praying for you and Justin!
Love ya!
Jodi Sue :)

Joy said...

The headstone is really beautiful, but I guess it just makes it sink in deeper for me that this really happened, and it renews all those emotions. Seeing Jonathan's name spelled out on a gravestone makes it so final, and I just can't believe that my brother and his wife had to bury their baby.

We love you guys and continue to pray for you all the time. I am so glad you've had this teaching job to keep your mind busy for these weeks...God definitely provided that for you. :-)

Tena said...

Ditto to Robyn, Jodi and Joy. I've always felt a certain peace when visiting loved ones at cemetaries. It would be nice to visit Jonathan when you want...I've gone back once since his funeral and now I'll have to go back to check out his headstone in person.
Continuing prayers for you and Justin - as well as the Solomans.

Amy (Metz) Walker said...

Wow, that headstone looks amazing. I wish you'd never had to buy this, but at the same time, I'm so glad its as awesome looking as it is if this had to happen. I love you, sweet friend!

Aubrey and Jen said...

The headstone is beautiful, Alyson! I want to go by there soon and visit Jonathan & Estella. In the midst of 2 horrible tragedies...I'm so glad that you & Elisabeth have each other...what a gift! Love you, friend!


Riley Kai said...

Although I cannot even begin to compare our losses, I do feel a lot of the same emotions you do. I have a fear of being bitter, it is often hard to see people with their mom's or grandmothers with their grandchildren. You feel sad, then guilt for feeling that way. At the end of the day, I have to wonder with that support group, where is God in their lives. Have they opened their hurt up to Him? Everyone grieves differently and it sounds like you are on a healthy road. Know that some of us haven't forgotten Jonathan. I think of him almost daily, as I pray for you!

Cristina said...

I'm a little late in posting my comment and it looks like everyone has said what I wanted to say.... I just wanted to let you know that I am here and I try to check your blog daily. I know we don't have as much time to talk, but I think of you, Justin and Jonathan everytime I enter room 4604 and I say a short prayer that God is helping you to heal. I love you friend!

Jolene said...

Hey Al,

These pictures of the headstone are beautiful.


Gene Steiner said...

Mom and I are so glad we were able to be there for the memorial service for Jonathan Paul. We have been grieving with you over these last 7 yeeks. And the Lord is now beginning to restore our hope, and peace, and joy to our lives.

The headstone is a powerful statement of your faith in the Lord. Jonathan is being well-cared-for by the Lord Himself, and we will see him again - full of everlasting life.

I nearly cried just looking at the photos of the headstone. It is such a fitting memorial. In a few weeks we will be there with you to see it for ourselves and to give you hugs once again.

We honor you for honoring Jonathan in this way and for ultimately giving praise and honor and glory to the Lord each day of your lives. What a testimony! Aly and Justin, we know the Lord will answer your prayers!

Dad and Mom