“He is gone.”
My sister’s text startles me, and I sit up in bed. At first, I am confused and think she means her son is at school so that we can talk. I call her, and I know she is not okay from her voice. I realize she meant her son is missing.
My chest tightens, and my mind races. Fear often invokes a similar feeling; everything is magnified and moves in slow motion. I feel my helplessness, my lack of control, and I swallow the thick lump in my throat before my voice cracks. This is not a moment to break. This is a moment to care for my sister. I tell her to breathe, and I tell myself to breathe. She needs to go and look for him. Because I am a five-hour flight and another country away, I make phone calls while she searches.
My adrenaline turns to hot tears when the phone call ends. I can do nothing, nothing but pray and ask others to pray. Eleven years ago this same week, I lost my son, and we know the body remembers. I am not surprised that my body trembles as I get out of bed and onto my knees. I have nothing else but my voice crying out to God. I beg. I plead. I bargain that if God saves Him, I will do everything I can for my nephew.
My sister calls a few hours later, and my nephew has been found. I can not hold back my tears when I hear his voice. He is exhausted, and I am exhilarated. Nothing is more apparent to me at that moment—all that mattered was that he was alive.
Sometimes in the day-to-day, we forget the bigger picture.
Every day, we get caught up in the mundane moments that are priceless once they are gone.
When we lose someone we love, we are marked. It may be invisible to many around us, but that beloved one’s face flashes through our mind when we hear their name spoken aloud in public. Our breath gets caught in our throats when we see their favorite flower bloom after a cold winter. Tears prick our eyes when their favorite song plays on the radio. In these moments, we know what we have always known deep within our souls—every life matters.
The next day, I could hold my nephew in my arms and touch his breathing body. I am one of the lucky ones, as is not the case for everyone. It wasn’t for me eleven years ago. I will say that on the days we forget, let us remember life is a beautiful thing and breath is a holy act.
May we hold the sacredness of life in our hearts as a place to know that we serve a Creator who created us to live and not die. Live and, through His love, live forever.
Christy Bauman, Ph.D., MDFT, & LMHC is committed to helping women come into their true voices. She offers meaning-making and storywork consulting. She is the author and producer of Theology of the Womb, A Brave Lament, Documentary: A Brave Lament, and The Sexually Healthy Woman. She is a psychotherapist, supervisor, and adjunct professor who focuses on the female body, sexuality, and theology. Christy is co-director of the Christian Counseling Center for Sexual Health and Trauma with her husband Andrew. They live in Brevard, North Carolina with their three kids: Wilder, Selah, and River.