Yesterday I attended the second day of the Women of Faith conference. It was better than the first night. One speaker spoke louder to me than the others – Brenda Warner. Her story is similar to mine in many ways. Her 4 month old son stopped breathing and she walked the same path as I did … wondering if her baby would wake up again. Later she would find out that her (then) husband had dropped him on his head while giving him a bath. Her son did recover – but not fully. He still has severe brain damage which has left him with many handicaps in life. I saw what Owen’s face could have been. I saw a wonderfully loving and funny young man … someone who Owen could have grown up to be had he woke up.
I thought back to those nights in the hospital. When, at night by his bedside – holding his cold little baby hand, I didn’t pray for Owen to come back to me, but rather, I prayed for God’s will to be done. I whispered into Owen’s ear when Doug was asleep that if Owen didn’t want to come back to his broken body, I would be ok. I would understand. I didn’t want him to come back to me just because he thought I would be broken if he left. I didn’t want him living in a body that was more of a prison cell to him. See, I knew that he would have brain damage. I had been unresponsive for over an hour. I knew that if he came back he wouldn’t be the same boy that was laid in his crib for bed on May 21, 2011. He would be different – his body would fail him in many ways.
BUT if he wanted to come back – if he wasn’t ready to leave this world, I would take care of him – I would love and help him through life. As a mother, I didn’t know what was best – him to be alive or him to be in heaven. I didn’t know if my prayers for him to wake up were selfish or if they were what God wanted. I didn’t know so I prayed for the strength to let God’s will be done. I prayed that Owen would feel my love even as he was in a coma. I prayed that if Owen had a choice he would know how much I loved him – I loved him so much that I just wanted him to be content – I didn’t want him to worry about me and what I wanted. This was his choice – his life. He was only 6 months old – yet, I knew as a mother, I couldn’t ask him to come back if it meant he would be unhappy.
I don’t know what Brenda prayed those days – but I do know that she did answer God’s call and while her whole life was turned upside down a few times more … she continued to serve the Lord and to love her children. Her son was at the conference – I looked at his handsome face and thought about Owen. He looked so happy to be on stage, he looked so loved by his mother. I couldn’t help but imagine what Owen would be like – how my life would have been different – what I would be doing on a ‘regular’ day if he were still here. I even found parts of me that rejoiced that Owen was in heaven. I have no doubt that Owen only knows pure joy each and every day. I know he is not in pain. I know he is not sad. In the face of grief and pain and longing to hold one of my children, I rejoice knowing that Owen is in the best place possible – with his Father in Heaven. And for that alone I can celebrate.