My dearest Baby Benton,
I am writing you this morning and I don’t know whether you will ever live to read my letter. I was woken up just after 6:30am by your grandpa. You aren’t born yet.
They can’t find your heartbeat.
My love, I don’t know what to say. I am praying and begging God to leave you with us for a while, because we all love you so much. It’s going to be hard for us to live on if you go to heaven first. We’re all selfish here, and we want you to live with us for a few years before going to God.
I have a gut feeling and a recurring thought that it’s going to be okay. I don’t know if this means you’ll live, or if it means that we will all have the strength to hold up if God decides to take you away, but I’m clinging to the hope that it means you’ll live. I know that this world is hard and you would have to deal with a lot of bad things if you grew up with us, but I still want you to stay here. Your sisters are so excited to have a baby brother; I don’t know if they’ll even understand, or how they will deal with your dying. And we’ve been waiting for you for so long.
There are a lot of people out there who don’t understand how God could let babies die, my Benton, and maybe they would read this and scoff at what I’m about to say. I believe fully that in your best interest, you would go straight to heaven. Heaven’s a much better place, and God loves you infinitely more than we do. You’d never know sadness or sin or hurt or evil up there, Benton, and you’d be in the amazing glory of your Creator forever.
But still, despite knowing that you’d be so much better off in heaven, Benton, we all want you to live here. I want to watch you grow up and tease your sisters and play in the mud. I have so much hope for you, and so much anticipation. I always have; you were going to be my darling. I’m praying right now that you’ll be our miracle baby.
The sun is just starting to come up; it’s that gray before the dawn, when everything seems to hang in the mist and nothing has decided to move into the light. It mirrors our waiting, silent and dim. We don’t know what will happen today. Whether we can slide into the joy of your birth, or whether we will experience the pain of saying goodbye prematurely.
I feel hope right now, Benton. Hope that you’ll live. Hope that everything will be okay. I feel a deep calm, somewhere below the urgency to pray for you and for your parents, for our entire family; it’s an uncanny calm, a calm that seems like it shouldn’t be here right now. Perhaps I should be more upset, perhaps I should have shed more tears than I did, and perhaps I shouldn’t be feeling any sense of peace right now. But it’s here.
And I don’t know if it’s denial, shock, or the premonition of something to come, but I know that everything will be okay.
I hope that I will get to see you here, in this life, yet if God takes you today, I know I”ll see you again someday. I hope that we won’t have to deal with the pain of losing you before we’ve ever seen you, but if we do, I know that you’ll be in a happier place than we’ll ever know here on earth. If you live, you will be the most amazing miracle that has ever happened in my life. If you die, you will be the bittersweet memory that I will treasure forever.
I love you.
Update: Benton was stillborn. They say that the cord had probably been wrapped around his neck for a couple of days. Pray for my family, and especially my brother and his wife. I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now. Their girls don’t know yet.