We all know the lyrics to the beautiful lullaby or children’s song You are my sunshine. I remember hearing it growing up and in various renditions over the years. When we first found out Marshall was ill, I would sing or hum the familiar tune by his bedside. It soon turned from the sweetest lullaby to the most heart-breaking lyrics. Every time I got close to the end of the song I would almost break down in tears, feeling nauseous and afraid.
Now I was singing not only to Marshall but to God. “Please don’t take my sunshine away”. “Please, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t take him away”. I sang it and I prayed it and I begged of it. At first there was a big part of me that believed it couldn’t happen. It would not happen. This kind of thing happens to other people, not us. Not me. Impossible. This must be a nightmare and I was desperate to wake up.
It was such a surreal experience in every way. Growing up with faith I believed in God and Jesus, or a higher power by whatever name you chose. As an adult, I hold these beliefs along with a strong connection to spirit and gifts of the universe. When Marshall was alive, it was so confusing to span the darkness and the realms from begging for him not to be taken to then praying for him to be safely welcomed into heaven. I felt like a lunatic crying in the hospital washrooms pacing back and forth in my prayers and graveling between stay and go. Feeling guilty for giving up if I prayed for one way and feeling helpless if I begged for the other. There was no right, and everything felt wrong.
All I knew was that nothing I could say or do would sway the outcome. But I kept praying “please don’t take my sunshine away” for days. Something deep down inside reminded me that there was no one pulling strings up above, or in any way trying to hurt me or my son. I knew that things were getting worse and that he would not be coming home with us. I knew that if there ever was a God I needed him or her now more than ever. I knew they were hurting with me. I knew I would never understand the mystery of unanswered prayers. Or the mystery of faith.
Marshall’s spirit left this earth after two short weeks out of the womb. I am still learning what that means and processing what we went through. Thank you for letting me share and heal with you. I know this story and others ring true for many of you out there. The confusion, the core struggle and the courage. The sadness that sweet lullaby can trigger with its gut wrenching last line.
For those of you who have not lost your sunshine, thank you for standing by our side while we walk through this darkness and confusion. I know you hurt too and grieve too. You have lost too. Thank you for sharing your compassion and willingness to be there however we may need as this process is different for everyone. Please know that although we smile, laugh and love again this pain never goes away. You bless us every time you remember and cherish our little sunshines with us.