Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Perspective on New Years

By Bethany Conkel

It was the end of 2012, time to turn the calendar page and welcome a new year. The world around me was fully energized to ring in the New Year, ready to embrace the future. A fresh start. The exciting unknown. Yet, I sat petrified. I dreaded turning the page and fought the idea of leaving 2012. Yes, it had been a crazy, whirlwind, roller-coaster of a year. The type of year I do not want to EVER repeat… but, leaving 2012 meant leaving HIM behind.

My sweet boy. My precious baby. His entire existence was in 2012. How could I ever leave?

We had learned we were pregnant at the end of January and in a flurry of excitement told all our parents and siblings that very day. February was a blur of exhaustion and nausea, yet joy and ignorant bliss. March brought a flood of tears and heartbreak when we learned that our baby was not meant to stay with us. Our world was rocked and we felt devastated. April and May we adjusted to the “new normal” and thought of ways to celebrate our little one. June and July were filled to the brim with memory making activities and outings. Sweet summer days full of loving on our baby. August was spent planning, some of it joyful and some of it horribly painful… After all, who wants to plan a funeral for a baby that you can still feel kicking inside you? Then it was September. Time to meet him. Time to finally hold our precious boy in our arms. Time to look into his sweet eyes and tell him how much we loved him. It was such an amazing day. Love overflowed from our hospital room and spilled out into our community touching family and friends both near and far. Then in a blink we said goodbye. Our hearts shattered as we let him go. The pain cut deep, and forever imprinted itself on our hearts. Oh, the amazing power of loving a child. October and November we readjusted once again, learning another “new normal”… a new normal without out our baby at home, yet loving him just the same. December we juggled various emotions and survived the holidays.

And then… before we knew it, the year was over.

It was time to move on. It was time to let go of 2012 and embrace 2013.

I did not want to move on or embrace it. Moving on felt like leaving him behind. How could I go into a new year without him? How could I welcome a year that would never know my sweet boy? Would anyone remember him? How would he be able to make a mark on 2013 if he were no longer around? My momma’s heart was overwhelmed and just the thought of starting a year without my sweet baby in it was petrifying. Just petrifying.

Then I realized, although the rest of the world was moving on to 2013 – leaving 2012 behind - I did not have to move ON; rather, I could move FORWARD into 2013 while still taking the best parts of 2012 with me. I could carry my son’s memory into the New Year and introduce the New Year to him. I did not have to let him be forgotten. I could continue to parent his memory and build his legacy. He could still have an impact even if he was not physically here. The choice was mine. The world may move on, but I did not have to let him be left behind.

And so, when the calendar page was finally turned to read 2013 we began a new journey. The journey of building our sons legacy and allowing the Lord continue to use him to touch others. I came to realize the story of who our son is, who he was, and what his legacy would became was planted in 2012. PLANTED, not ENDED.

As 2013 unfolded, I was mesmerized to see that tiny seed bloom. My fear of him being forgotten was proven wrong a hundred times over. Although his physical existence had been contained to just one year, the meaning of that existence was definitely not. His legacy grew and produced beautiful flowers that year. I think I can honestly say that he had more of an impact on this world in 2013 than he ever had during his time with us in 2012.

I can also say with a joyful heart that during 2014 his impact blossomed even further and his legacy has reached even further and we pray that it will be the same for 2015.

As each New Year approaches I am no longer petrified. Instead I greet the New Year, eager to introduce my son to it and watch his impact continue to grow, blossom, and have its sweet fragrance embed itself into that year. Time will always move on, but as a momma, I move forward, taking my son with me.

I would like to encourage you, as we face the New Year, regardless of where you are in your journey; find a way to bring your baby with you. Do not let the changing of the year discourage you. Do not let others tell you it is time to move on. Water the seed that was planted when your baby came to be. Care for your little one’s legacy and watch it bloom.

From Lost for Words, 2013
~ ~ ~

Bethany Conkel lives in Ohio and is married to her wonderful husband, Eric. She is the mommy to two amazing children – one who is in heaven, the other here on earth. Bethanycarried her precious son, Amalya Nathaniel (meaning: “work of the Lord”, “given by God”) to term after receiving the diagnosis of anencephaly when she was 11 weeks pregnant. Amalya lived for 1 hour and 20 minutes before taking hold of the Lord’s hand. After he passed, his liver, pancreas, and whole body were donated to scientific research.Bethany has since created a website about neonatal organ, tissue, and whole body donation called Purposeful Gift to help other families explore the option of donation. She is also a certified Birth and Bereavement Doula through and serves withSufficient Grace Ministries


Paula said...

Beautiful words of hope. Thank you.

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