That is what I have been calling Gideon's burial plot. His "place." I dont know, it just sounds nice to me. Better than saying his "grave". I dont like that at all. I had been trying to come up with what to call his place. And I just started saying "Gideon's place." So that is what stuck for me. Todd has been calling it his "Houston address." Thats pretty funny.
Gideon's memorial marker (headstones are called a memorial marker nowadays) was installed last week and we went and visited his place on Monday. It is the first time Todd and I have gone out there alone together. The past times we have been, other people have been with us. We wanted time, as mommy and daddy to sit where our son's body rests. Todd and I like the cemetery where Gideon is buried (if you ever can really like the place your child is buried), it is truly a peaceful place. Quiet and beautiful. After we parked our car, we slowly walked to Gideon's place, it doesn't need to be marked for me to know where it was, I know the location exactly. As we walk across the grass, past other plots, other baby plots, I spot the newest memorial marker. I take a sharp breath in and a long breath out. We approach in silence. Our eyes fall upon his marker, and we both break down into tears.
It was so hard to walk up to this piece of granite and see "Gideon Mitchell" engraved in it. Permanently. Etched in there forever. So harsh, so beautiful, so much pain. Our son's name in granite. Something I never wanted to see. I never wanted my child to die before me, but it is something I am glad is there now. I am glad we have a space to mark where he is. But it shatters my heart. Seeing his name made his death seem even more final. It made it even more real to us that he truly will not return to us. Just another thing to remind us that we will not be with our son again on this earth....Our son, lying in a casket, feet under the ground, with a place to mark where his body is. Its was too much. We sat with tears streaming down our face and looked at his name and his date for a long time. Todd cried and said "There is no dash, Its so hard. He doesn't get a dash."
I know Gideon isn't actually there, but it was so nice for us to be near where his body lays. To be in close proximity to his shell. I pushed my hand into the dry soil so I could be even closer to him. Even if it was only millimeters closer. I wanted to be as close to my son as possible. I ran my fingers over his name on his headstone, and felt each one of the letters. Todd and I sat right next to his place and we wept.
We miss him so much.
We put some flowers in Gideon's vase and sat next to him. I love these flowers, the colors of them. I wanted them to be exactly what I liked since those were the first flowers that we placed at our son's memorial. I didnt want them to look too girly. But Todd told me that all flowers are girly. Ok Todd, you are right, that's true. But we both agree, that they are beautiful and look gorgeous in our son's vase.
We chose the phrase "our little warrior" to go on his marker for many reasons, the first and the most simple is that Gideon means "warrior." In the Bible, the person Gideon was basically a war general and was in command of his troops. His army of just a few hundred beat the opposing army of thousands and thousands. He was faithful to God, believed in Him, was obedient to Him and fought for Him. There is a lot more to that story though, it is in Judges chapter 6 through 8. We named our Gideon after the biblical Gideon. Another reason we put "our little warrior" was because God spoke to us to tell us that our child would bring many to Him. We prayed that our Gideon would be a warrior for the Lord throughout his life. And that is precisely what Gideon has done and what he is doing.
As Todd and I sat next to Gideon's place, the tears flowed and they flowed heavily. My heart was breaking all over again. I replayed the moments when I held him in my arms just 12 weeks ago. I wanted so badly to be under the ground with Gideon, just so I could be close to him. My sobs came out loudly and Todd silently wept as we grieved the son we love so much. I wanted to kiss him again. I wanted him to be back with us so badly. I started to feel frantic. Like I was teetering on the edge of insanity. My arms were aching to hold him and my spirit was growing weak. Amazingly in that moment, I began to have peace fall over me. I didn't even ask for it, and yet God brought his peace like a soft breeze sweeping through my heart. I did not feel any less sad, but His peace came. I was able to be more calm and we were able to sit, with our hearts bleeding, but sit in silence and bask in God's peace and remember our sweet little boy Gideon.
Gideon's name is written in that granite until time on this earth ends, however there is another place where my son's name is written permanently, and in that place, his name is truly permanent; it cannot be broken and cannot crumble like his headstone will. My son's name is in the Book of Life. No one can erase that. I realize that the Book of Life is a metaphorical book, not a literal book one can look through. But it means that God knows who belongs to Him and who doesn't. And I know that my son is His. For eternity.
"All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are Mine."--Revelation 3:5