It is late.
I should be sleeping.
But Kobe begged me to leave my own comfy bed and lay beside him. His tears melted my heart and when he threw his little arm around my neck and snuggled up close, I was so glad I complied.
He lay there, with his typical Kobe squinty eyed , one eye shut one eye open, mouth curled up, lopsided with the effort, expression on his face.
“Mom, stay here.” He whispered sleepily.
Usually, it’s “Mom, don’t close your eyes.”
Maybe it’s part of being a two year old. Maybe it’s part of seeing Kierra so peacefully with her eyes closed and the subconscious realization that she never opened them again. Maybe it’s part of missing her. And wishing she were here. But he tells me often, “Mom, don’t close your eyes.”
I lay beside him in her bed. The special big girl bed she loved so much, and stared at the spaces she stared at, and wondered where her thoughts lay while she lay here. I tried to capture the good memories, and let the sadder, harder ones slip by , like a child drifting into oblivion.
And the words echoed on my heart, “Mom, don’t close your eyes.”
Losing a child has worked a stillness in my soul that I have never experienced before. I lay down, and time stands still. My mind feels like an 80 year old that wanders by itself down delightful little winding thoughts. I can lay perfectly still, remembering, in a semi conscience state, with the most peaceful aura surrounding my heart. Past interlaces with present. And present with future. Sometimes I round a bend and do a face to face with a thorn bush. It’s ugly and it’s sharp and it’s liable to do damage. Some days I am cautious and skirt carefully around it. Some days, I want to feel pain. To feel the hard razor of the dark side of life. Sometimes it’s acknowledging the pain and ugly that brings the fullness of redemptive grace. The miracle of living with Eyes Wide Open.
“Don’t close your eyes, Mom,” he said again.
I reassured him for the hundredth time. “I won’t. I’m right here.”
I want to hang into that Eyes Wide Open moment through the hard and the easy. I’m still learning. Still begging for God’s grace. Still longing for that day when I will have a brand new vision…a brand new perspective…and a brand new daughter to feast my eyes on. An eternity to live with a fully renewed vision with my Creator.
Someday, I can no longer keep that promise to Kobe, and my eyes will close , but I will have lived well if he knows, without a shadow of a doubt that His Jesus NEVER closes His eyes!
For now, I want him to see Jesus in my eyes.
When he overflows the toilet.
When he spills precious pecans all over the floor.
When he grabs my face with both his hands to kiss me.
When he has disobeyed.
When he wakes up.
And when he goes to sleep.
When we spin ‘ring a round the rosy’ in his kiddy pool.
And pretend that Sir Topham Hat is helping him play.
When he runs as fast as his little legs carry him, toward Kierra’s grave.
Life is too short to close your eyes. Even in the pain.
I can still see Kierra’s sweet flashing smile.
Her wiggle of recognition.
Her quick brush of lips over cheek that meant a kiss.
Her very-begged -for, occasional lifting of her hand in a “Hi”
Her silky hair, all clean and combed out fresh.
Her hands clasped to her chest.
The sharp needles that pierced her tender arms.
Her drawn up legs and stiff arms that meant her belly hurt. Again.
The frustration that rose with over tired, over stressed moments.
Her bruised feet and hands from too many lab draws and IV sticks.
So many memories.
So many moments for me to grasp right now.
“Don’t close your eyes, Mom!”
Because if you do, you will miss that silent tear.
You will miss that dejected shoulder.
You will miss the anger flashing across the tiny face…because you were too busy to listen.
You will miss the amazing dawning of a new concept.
The light that follows the fear faced.
The longing in two tiny eyes.
The lashes lying, just so.
The miracle of steady breathing.
The amazement of a new morning.
The thrill of picking flowers
The little ways they say,”I love you.”
It hurts to look pain in the face. Joy and beauty are so much better companions! But, Life is meant to be faced with eyes wide open. Washed with the Grace of our Fathers love.
So peel off those clutching fingers from your face. Let go of the what ifs, and should haves, and if onlys, that distract your gaze.
Your life is this moment.
Close this website.
Throw out your excuses.
Just don’t close your eyes.
The light of Jesus wants to shine in them…open.
For the eyes of The Lord are on the righteous , and His ears are attentive to their cry. Psalm.