‘I’m sorry, but this is an unsurvivable injury.’ Those were the words of the surgeon, around 2:00 am, on October 24, 2013. The words I laughed at and wouldn’t believe. The words I fought against with every ounce of my might. That one short phrase has replayed over and over again in my mind, since last October; and, even more-so these past few weeks. A phrase that we we were convinced was a lie from the deepest pit of hell, has instead, become the coldest and hardest truth; one that we’re still trying to accept. The surgeon went on to explain that Christiano had sustained severe injuries and had bleeding on both sides of his brain. He said if it had been just one side, they could have tried surgery, but because there was significant injury to both sides of his brain, he could never survive the surgery. Of course, I told him that he was mistaken because our son was going to live. I told him to perform the surgery and to do whatever he needed to do to keep our boy alive. He kept telling me that I didn’t understand, yet I wouldn’t back down; I would not relent. I told him he better do the surgery immediately. He didn’t hide his puzzled look, the one that showed me that he thought I was crazy, but I couldn’t give up – I could not lose hope.
The night went on for what seemed like forever. We prayed, we worshipped God, and we stood firm in our faith. We fought the good fight, and we never quit. Yet still, against every particle of our own wills, our son didn’t survive the trauma to his brain. And, three hundred and sixty three days ago, after many attempts to resuscitate his lifeless body, Christiano Tré Barbosa died his physical death.
Christiano isn’t the only one who sustained unsurvivable injuries that early morning in October. Because, that morning I became very broken, too. The person I was, the mother I was, so much of her died in that hospital room. Her constant optimism, her open trust, her child-like faith, her unwavering hope, her pure heart – all of that, and more, seemed to die. There were times I actually thought I would die from a broken heart; the pain and sorrow – just too unbearable. Yet, somehow, I’m still here. In my brokenness, I remain. And, although so much of me did not survive that night, there are parts of me that are being reborn. Slowly, I’m trusting again and opening my heart in a new way.
However, I am convinced that much of me needed to die that night. For, God would never want me to come through this the same. We are changed in His presence, and, this past year, into His presence is the only place I could go. Even when I wanted to run away from Him, He relentlessly pursued me. Moses was changed in the presence of The Lord; Jacob was changed while wrestling with The Lord; Paul was changed after being knocked down off of a horse by the Lord. The presence of the Lord is the place that changes people. And, He goes with me through this dark valley. Even when I’ve wanted to hide my face from Him, He has not hidden His, and He has sustained me when I couldn’t stand. However, I’m not the same person that I was a year ago. As I said, much of me died with Christiano and parts of me, too, were deemed unsurvivable – never to be resurrected.
The biggest part of me that died was the 6 foot 9 inch section of my heart. Some say that God can restore all that’s been taken from me, but that is just not possible. Not while I’m here on this earth. You see, Christiano is irreplaceable, and, until I’m reunited with Him, I can never be whole. Paul asked the Lord to remove the thorn from his side. We don’t know what that thorn was, but we know that God said, ‘No. My grace is sufficient for you.’ Sometimes God says no. His answer was no when I asked for my son to live, and his answer was no when I wanted to go with him. Imagine how hard it must be for God to know that in one instant He could give us what we want and make all of our pain disappear. But, because He sees the future and knows what is best for us, He will not say yes. He will not change his mind, and He will never waiver. But, His grace truly is sufficient.
In what has felt like a slow process, some of the things in me that died are being reborn. And, they’re even stronger now; built on a REAL, solid ground. My faith isn’t in my faith or my prayer, but it’s built on the measure that GOD has given me. It’s not just words or make believe. Also, I’m seeing beauty again – mostly in the little things. I’m pursuing God instead of a platform, and I’m loving my kids the way Christ has loved me. I’m more aware of my need for a Savior than I ever was before, and I’m ok with missing the mark. What I have with God is more real than it ever was before. I’ve been tested and tried, but God hasn’t moved from me. He endures it all with me, and He is making me new. I’m not who I was, but I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. I hate how the change has come. I hate that my son is gone, and I hate that our family has gone through this. But, I’m grateful that God hasn’t allowed me to quit. I’m grateful that he won’t let me fail, even when I fall.