Monday, December 31, 2012

Surprise

More than anything, I still catch myself off guard. A full year has come and gone without James, but I still find myself expecting him. I keep expecting reality to solidify and become made of more predictable fare, that kind that does not give itself to daydreams of toddlers and walking, speaking little boys named James; something to whitewash away memories of cancer and hospital beds, ports and tumors splashed on display screens.
I am surprised at Christmas without him. There is a palpable absence on my list of people to buy gifts for. I find myself looking wistfully at the toy aisles at stores and fighting an irrational desire to purchase a “big boy” toy to take home and put in his room. I wonder what he would have asked for if he could have asked. I wonder all of these things and I miss him terribly, with a sudden and fierce urgency that seems out of place.
The result is a sometimes lukewarm holiday cheer. I am fortunate that I have the love and support of many friends and family members. Caring, even without understanding, is a criminally underrated virtue. Yet I find myself more distant from the festivities than I might otherwise be, because I am experiencing them at a kind of third party remove, not fully committed because I simply cannot embrace them with the energy that I might have reserved for a celebration with James. It is troubling with the absence of one person becomes more important than the presence of another, but with the death of a child this is sometimes unavoidable. The family is not made to function without its parts.
Yet the world goes on. Holidays are celebrated, families grow and the calendar continues its relentless march towards the future. Immediately after James died, through the self-involved and insular lens of my grief, this seemed a great affront. The temerity of the world to continue on without pausing and recognizing how miserable it was without my little boy struck me as terribly unfair. More and more however, I take comfort in it. The world moving on means that there is always hope that good things may also happen. Though it came as a surprise in the first few months after we lost James, they do. The last year, while not without its challenges (James’ anniversary chief among them) brought unexpected joys as well. I have no doubt that the next year will as well. I look forward to those.
I will always miss him. And so, I suppose, I will always be surprised when we cannot do the things together that we would have if he were here. I will not allow that to tarnish the time we had together, and I will continue to cherish the memories we made together. More important than the fact that I will always miss him is that I will always love him. I am not at all surprised by that.
Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.

27 comments:

  1. it's New Years Day here. We are at the beach and I think about you and your wife often.Many of us care without understanding and I still think about James all the time. He was very special as is your love for him. It is incredibly challenging to be a parent without a child. I wish you peace and joy and strength for 2013. I know that something wonderful is ahead for you both this year. xxxx

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  2. For someone I have never met, I continue to think of and pray for you both. My heart continues to hurt for you. My hope and prayer for you is that this new year brings you peace and comfort. Keep hugging each other close and may God give you the strength you need to continue moving forward. Blessings in 2013!

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  4. Lots of luck and strength for you in 2013. Cherish the beautiful moments of you little man. Love Stefanie

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  5. I pray all the time for you and for your wife. At odd times I think of you both and lift you up to Jehoveh Jireh, the God who provides. I am praying He provides you and your wife with peace, joy, and many reasons to celebrate in 2013. Your sweet James will never be forgotten - even by strangers like me.

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  6. Please know. That you and your wife are fantastic.
    jeanne@beeskneesbungalow.

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  7. Your words strike the deepest chord of my soul, that of a parent who has brushed against loss. I pray that peace may come to your hearts, that they may be comforted in their brokenness and restored to wholeness when you meet your precious James again someday.

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  8. I hope Kara is doing well. I miss her words. I feel happy to see your posts get rarer and rarer. I hope it means you are healing. I have been following your blog from the beginning. I want there to be joy for you, as well as peace. I wish you the comfort of each other and the joy of another child. I know no one will ever replace wonderful James, but you two are too wonderful to not be parents. I wish you every good thing, Matthew and Kara .

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  9. Children are fragments of GOD
    Please join any anti-abortion campaign, and possibly fight also in person going in groups to protest right in front of the homicidal clinics and hospitals. God bless you all.
    giorgio

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  10. You both, Matthew and Kara, remain in my thoughts and prayers. I do pray you are finding God's grace sufficient for each day. May God continue to heal your broken hearts and bind your wounds. You are not forgotten. Neither is that precious, adorable, handsome son of yours, James. I know we don't know each in person, but I have prayed for you for so long, I feel connected to you. Please, no restraining order is necessary! :) I just want you to know people care about you and are praying for your healing and peace.

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  11. I agree that your fewer posts could be a sign of healing... only you know whether that is an accurate assumption. I hope you are healing. Of course, you will never forget your precious baby...but James would want you to be healing in the journey.

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  12. Praying for you all tonight. Your sweet James and the love you all have for him has touched so many lives. Know that he will never be forgotten, even by those of us that were never blessed enough to have met him during the time he was here.

    Much love,
    Stacie Smith

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  13. Thinking about you both often, hope the fewer posts means further healing. Sending love and prayers, Beth

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  14. My heart continues to hurt for you. My hope and prayer for you is that this new year brings you peace and comfort.

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  15. Still thinking and praying for y'all!!!!! While us out here are missing your writings of your precious boy, we all pray that the lack of is a sign of healing! We will never forget that beautiful boy! Love to you both!!!

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  16. Thinking of you and Kara, and James,know that your family is thought of, prayed for and loved.

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  17. Went to the Dallas Zoo yesterday and asked the zookeeper to point out Jamie....she walked over and we fed her some lettuce and said a prayer for your family. We are still thinking of you often....

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  18. Just checking in on you guys to see how you are doing. I visit your blog frequently just in case there is an update. I wonder how Kara is doing in school and if you have settled into a new routine. I know the 2 year mark is fast approaching and wanted to let you know I haven't forgotten. Not for a second. My thoughts and prayers are with the Sikes family.

    Susan from West Virginia

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  20. Your words are beautiful. After reading just the first post, i'm sending a prayer. I'll slowly be reading from the beginning. I find myself inexplicably drawn to your story.

    With love, your sister in Christ
    Rahne

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  21. I just want to let you know I have not forgotten James. I know another anniversary is on the horizon, and your family is on my mind. I will never forget sweet James.

    Christine

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  22. Thinking of you and Kara many times. Hope and pray you are doing well. Thinking of you. Caren

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  23. I have just recently discovered your blog and so glad I did. I always try to look for very meaningful blogs. I don`t think I could find a more meaningful one than yours. While i know that no words could even come close to comforting you. I guess that is why when something like this happens no one ever knows what to say.... What I can say is this, Your story has touched my heart. I did not know James, but he is remembered through your words. Because of your touching sentiments, we will never forget this precious little boy. May your family find some peace. My prayers and thoughts are with you.

    Khadija Lynn

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  24. I have been following your blog for a long time now too, as well as MANY other people. We will never forget James and one day I hope to meet him. Yall are awesome parents, he couldnt have had any better than you and Kara. I pray that you find peace within and hope for all the best for you and Kara in yalls future. James will always be watching. We all connected with him as well. He touched my heart like no other child. Take care.

    Minks family
    Sugar land, tx

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  25. I thought of you tonight, while I was in the ER with my 2-year-old son, who was getting a CT scan after wacking his head at church today, followed by an afternoon of puking. Thank God the CT scan came back normal, although he is still not feeling well nor his normal self. I thought of James' first CT scan, and how it was used to show how fast that damn tumor grew. While your blog has always touched me, since our two boys are so close in age, I almost cried more than once as I thought of the horror you all went through. I think when my boy feels better, we'll go to the zoo and look at the giraffes, and be thankful for all that we have.

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