It seems that the "news" that we had planned on sharing is actually just common knowledge now on the streets of Floyd. Nevertheless, we feel more comfortable sharing today, after our first appointment with the doctor, that we will be having our third child around or before December 5. (Joshua told us before last Christmas that he wanted a baby. A.J. never said anything like that, but let's hope he's okay with it....) We are happy to report that everything looks fine so far.
When we informed A.J. this morning that we were going on a visit to the doctor, he said to us very certainly, "Doctor for Jo-Josh?" We were astonished that he would think of this, and also saddened, as you can imagine. Two things crossed my mind after he said this.
1.) How I hope that A.J. does not only remember his brother being in the hospital. It would be fine by me if none of us had to remember, but especially him. Running circles around our dining room table; piling on top of Daddy; riding together in the Radio Flyer: these are the things that A.J. should remember about his brother. These are the things that Joshua was really about.
2.) I can only assume that it is natural for A.J. to bring this up in his limited communication with us-- after all, he just wants a concrete explanation of where his brother is, and he seemed almost relieved to hear that we were going to the doctor to check up on his brother. This is not unlike the rest of us, I suppose. I catch myself saying sometimes, "God, I know he's okay with you, but what is he doing right now?" It is still such a natural need for us to know what our loved ones are doing... even when I know he is with the greatest babysitter in all the world-- indeed, with his true parent.
That's just the thing about death: it separates us. To Travis and me, Joshua's memory is everywhere, everyday. He will always be a part of everything we do. It is still his younger sibling that we went to learn about today; it will always be his favorite rock in the backyard; and to be sure, his voice and his funny little sayings like, "Well, actually..." are forever engrained in our minds. However, even though we speak of Joshua to A.J. and say blessings for him and everyone in our family during bedtime prayers every night, A.J. might find it more of a challenge to hang onto his brother.
I am encouraged and discouraged by something that David said upon the loss of the baby Bathsheba bore to him: "I will go to him, but he will not return to me." (Samuel ) I remind myself everyday that "when I get where I'm going" (in the words of Brad Paisley), I will find Joshua there, and so will his daddy and A.J. The great thing is, Joshua has made it where we all want to go. The obstacle is that we are still here.
We are praying hard for Chance, Kassidy, and also Nathan back at Duke. God bless these families who are on the frontline. All of us who are "still here" need lots of encouragement, don't we?