The Best Year Ever

Well, 2016 has arrived. It is hard to look forward to a year without our Mighty Max. 2016 will certainly be a year of healing as we try to move forward in the wake of our loss.

My feelings about this new year are so torn. I have hope in seeing what this year will bring us, but I'm feeling so sad now that 2015 is our past. I mean, try as the years might, I cannot imagine how any year will really ever top the pure joy that was 2015. Truly, this last year was the best of our lives! Interestingly, I have found that some people are so surprised to hear me say this. 

Yes, just two weeks before the year ended we held Max tight in our arms as he took his last breath and his spirit returned to our Lord. Yes, our hearts broke into millions of tiny pieces when he was gone. Yes, we miss him more than words could ever try to convey. But that is just one part of an entire year of miracles, joy and triumph. And, truthfully, even that one part was a miracle. For us, even Max's death was a beautiful blessing.

Surprised? Let me explain...

Even the sadness of Max's passing could never erase the joy in his arrival. I can't imagine how any future moments will possibly compare to the joy of finding out last April that I was miraculously pregnant. No doctors, no shots, no medications, no positive ovulation tests; yet, somehow I was pregnant! And then, on November 17th, 6 weeks early he came into our world AND HE LIVED! Despite what the doctors expected, despite what science claimed impossible, despite not even breathing at birth HE LIVED! And despite discovering that his condition was even worse than they had anticipated before birth he lived for five whole weeks. I mean, really, our joy was overflowing! Those 5 weeks with Max erased all the heartache of infertility. The miracle of Max brought a light to our lives that even death could not shadow. 

Max was so incredibly special. His spirit radiated a glory that is beyond description. Every day we were with him our faith grew, our testimonies expounded and our hearts were made strong. This amazing little baby touched the lives of people he never met, of people that Tyler and I haven't even met. How incredible is that? How incredible that the Lord thought we were good enough for him! I still can't believe Max picked us to share his journey. 

When, at last, the doctor and nurse removed all the chords and his breathing tube I finally got to hold my baby boy like I'd always hoped to. I snuggled him close and kissed his face without worry. He breathed and cooed and stared at Tyler and I with his one open eye. And despite knowing that this moment would be our last with him, I was fulfilled. I knew he would soon be free of the bonds of his mortal body. I knew that soon he would be surrounded by our loved ones already passed. I knew that he would go straight from my arms into the arms of our Savior who would proudly say, "Well done my good and faithful servant. You have fought the good fight. Now enter in to my rest."

What more could a mother ask for? What more could a mother want for her perfect, precious child?

So, yes, 2015 was the best year of our lives, because we had Max. We had Max and we saw countless miracles. We had Max and we experienced celestial glory. We had Max and we were humbled by the Christlike service of hundreds of loved ones and strangers. We had Max and we came to know our Heavenly Father and our Savior. We had Max and our lives changed. 

How could we be so blessed and turn our backs to God? How, having seen the heavens open, could we choose to shut ourselves off? How could we experience all that we did, but choose to be bitter just because Max died?

He came. At last, our son was here. Every day with him was a miracle, a blessing. He was strong and he fought so hard to stay with us as long as he could, because he loved us so much. We could never betray that love or dishonor him by defining 2015 by his death. For us, 2015 will always be about miracles, blessings and Max's life.