“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
|Smiling because we know Conner is celebrating in Heaven!|
Yesterday marked one-year since our son, Conner, was born. He was born at 26 weeks after my water broke at 17+5 weeks due to PPROM (Pre-term Premature Rupture of Membranes). Sadly, he passed away to be with our Lord on May 4, 2012. His lungs had not developed enough to live in this world. In the past year my family has learned so much about hope, love, loss, grief, peace and trust.
The cycle of grief is complicated and different for each person. I have learned that most moms of loss become very anxious about approaching the one-year mark on which their sweet baby was born. That is completely understandable and I even felt some of that too. Do you celebrate a baby that is no longer here? What does that look like? Do we eat cake?
|First time we saw Conner|
I started really thinking of Conner's May birth date at the beginning of the year. I knew I wanted to do something to recognize him that others could participate in too. My thought process started with me thinking about the pink ribbon to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I thought maybe we could do a sticker...hmm...too complicated! Since our CWC Foundation shirts are blue I decided that we'd invite everyone to wear blue on May 3rd, in honor and memory of Conner. We started to spread the word on social media in the weeks leading up and in addition to wearing blue, invited everyone to take and post a picture of themselves, families, co-workers and neighbors wearing blue so we could see.
I went to bed the night before feeling good. I didn't really feel sad. I was actually thinking about how the past weeks and the coming weeks have just been filled with me asking people to do things: wear blue for Conner, buy Meredith Andrews concert tickets, vote for Stephen's band for Kingsfest, pray for this PPROM mom, help me with Cadence, read my friend's blog, read my blog...endless requests! For a person who doesn't really like asking people for anything I sure ask alot! That was my thought going to bed.
|Just a few of the many blue pictures I woke up to!|
I woke up Friday morning to make my usual pot of coffee. I work part-time at Barton College but Friday is not one of my workdays so that was nice. Cadence was still asleep when I got on my computer and my newsfeed was already filled with pictures of blue! I started commenting and thanking each person while downloading them to keep in a file. The minute I thought I was caught up, more pictures would pop up! If you are wondering what I actually did through the day, this was pretty much it! Cadence and I hung out some and went outside but I spent more time than usual on the computer watching the world recognize and celebrate Conner's life with us. I didn't want to miss one! Pictures were popping up from everyone from grade school friends to college buddies, to PPROM moms I'd met online, to people I didn't even know! People all the way from California and Washington state and even other countries like Canada and Iceland.
Maybe it was a simple act but it meant so much to my family. It was a symbol of their love to us and our story. One of our prayer warriors from church, Kim, shared the verse I posted at the top of this blog in specific response to the love that was being shown. It really summed up what was going on yesterday. While I am obviously sad Conner is not here, the real reason I got emotional in that moment is that I was able to really see how Christ has been woven into the lives of so many through Conner's story. On some of the posted pictures other people were even asking "Who is Conner?" and in response they were sharing my blog. That is pretty cool. The domino effect is continuing!
That night we went to visit Conner's grave site with some of our family, all dressed in blue. We do not visit the site often. That is another one of those things that varies with each family. I went to the store and purchased some bright blue flowers for his headstone. Stephen brought his guitar and we sang "It Is Well" and "Amazing Grace". I love old hymns. It was unusually windy that afternoon. It was so windy that at times all I could hear was wind in my ears. Stephen spoke some beautiful words about Conner and it seemed like the wind would gust up at just the right moments, almost like a dramatic movie!
|All decked in blue!|
My birthday is May 6th and since I'll be with my side of the family on my actual birthday we decided to celebrate with Stephen's side of the family right after visiting Conner's grave. At first I thought about whether or not it was weird to recognized my deceased son's birth date and then go directly to my own birthday party. Then I remembered that we are celebrating Conner too. Sure, sometimes it's sad but he is in heaven with our Lord celebrating in ways we can not comprehend yet. He definitely was having the better birthday party than I was!
|Strawberry birthday cake!|
One-year later we have come so far. We have received so much love from those around us that we were called to start the Conner Wayne Combs Foundation for PPROM. We have given out monetary grants to other PPROM families and offered support to so many others as well. Most importantly is that we are praying for and with these families. We are even taking steps with a NC State Proclamation already acquired and hopefully moving towards a National Proclamation to raise awareness for PPROM. It's pretty amazing and it's only because of our Lord and the support of all of you.
In closing, I will sum up how we can all continue to honor Conner: Love one another. Remember that even the simplest of actions can show love and impact people in ways you wouldn't even imagine. I am so grateful that this has been our experience since the beginning of this journey. I can only thank God for that because I know that is not the case for everyone. We no longer ask the Lord the question "Why?"; we ask "What are we doing next?"
To God be the Glory,
To purchase Meredith Andrews Concert tickets or make a donation to our foundation visit: www.cwcpprom.org
Vote for Stephen's band (May 6th- 13th) to perform at Kingsfest 2013 (Christian Music Festival) at www.kingsfestival.com