Sunday, December 4, 2011

What Now?

As we sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee this morning, TJ and I found ourselves asking the question "what now?"  How can things seem so normal, when in reality they will never be the same?  We buried our baby can we just be sitting here like nothing happened?

The past 8-9 months have been a mix of excitement, eager anticipation, and nervousness for the arrival of our baby boy. We loved planning for him! My limited free time over the past few months has been filled in a frenzy of "getting ready for Thomas!"

All of a sudden it is over, and we find ourselves at home.  Things are just as we left them before we left for Atlanta....before Thomas.   The dog needs to be walked, the laundry needs to be done.  Thomas's carseat is upstairs in his nursery, and his diaper bag is packed and ready for the trip that we won't be making back to Savannah.  Its just not right.  What do I do with myself that my focus for most of the past year is gone?

I want to grieve for my baby.  I don't want to pretend like the past three weeks didn't happen.  In a strange way, though, I feel guilty when I find myself distracted or when I find myself doing something like I would a month ago.   Mundane things like fixing coffee or making the bed. They feel the same as they felt a month ago......but they shouldn't....because nothing will ever be the same again.  I am a mother now and TJ is a father.  Thomas was here, and now he's not.

It is hard. My heart aches for my sweet baby.  I miss him desperately. I loved being pregnant with him. He was wild in the mornings and at 3am, and he always had the hiccups.   I will cherish those memories, as well as the ones from Atlanta.  I want to remember everything about Thomas. I am so afraid I am going to forget something because the past few weeks feel like such a blur.  

I know that Thomas is now healed and won't have to suffer anymore.  I know that if I could see him in heaven,  I would never want to bring him back to this broken world.   I know these truths in my head.....but my heart still hurts.

TJ and I will be ok, but our own healing is going to be a longer process. 

We are thankful for this promise:
"Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God's sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace." Luke 1:78-79 (MSG)

I think our "what now" is just going to be putting one foot in front of the other,  taking one day at a time,  and waiting for the sunrise.


  1. As we are all Grieving with you, THE prayers are still for u and your family in the days to come- Thomas changed all of our lives and I never even met him. I just know that He is in the arms of Jesus and HE was GIVING to YOU and TJ for a REASON- THE Mystery we will never know till we all get to heaven, but GOD is looking down and saying "THose are my Followers and they have been found faithful!!!" MAY THE DAYS ahead you feel the Presence of GOD and the PRAYERS of the 1000's of people that have been touched by Thomas's life and your and TJ TESTIMONY!!!!!!!!!I love u my SISTER in CHRIST and Friend!!!! Hugs of healing sent to u and TJ!!

  2. Melissa, your writing is beautiful. Your heart is beautiful. Your family is beautiful.

    Praying for His comfort and mercy to continue to mend your broken hearts.

  3. Melissa, the Lord has continued to bring you to mind to pray for over this past week. I am sure that the service yesterday was beautiful, and know that Thomas has touched many. There are no words of mine that can comfort, but becoming a parent changes you - you've already had the hardest road to learn about sacrifice and selflessness. Thank you for sharing your hearts, and I'll continue to pray that His mercies will be new every morning, and that He'll grant you special and specific memories of your time with Thomas.

  4. Melissa,
    Your words are such a beautiful expression of your heart and your love for
    your son and your trust in the Lord. We have been so encouraged by your faith. Sweet Thomas was blessed to have amazing parents who provided such a beautiful, God-honoring perspective to his short and precious life. Your attitude and grace through all of this has been such a testimony. Like you said, little Thomas is perfectly healed but it will take more time for you and TJ. We will continue to pray for you each day as you put one foot in front of the other and for that sunrise.
    Love you,
    Jen and Joey Santorum

  5. You guys have been in our thoughts and prayers so much these past few days. Thanks for sharing your journey. We are continuing to pray for you guys

  6. Thinking of you and your husband at this time Dr. Behm.
    The Gees

  7. Dr. Behm,

    Praying right now for the Lord to give you strength and encouragement today. You've been on my heart constantly through the last few weeks.

    -Courtney Brewer (Avery's mom)

  8. Hello, speaking of a mother of three, I can not imagine what you are going through, you will always have your memories and they will always be dear to you, and thanks to your blog to us also. Don't push yourself and give yourself time, the laundry will wait. The strength of you two put together will be what will get you through the up coming days and months. Maybe someday there will be another blessing for which you can share your memories of Thomas with. One thing is for sure the sun will come back out even though right now things are and will be shadowed with pain. Know though we love you guys and only wish that there is something we could do for you. Cherish Thomas' memory.

  9. Dr. Behm,
    You have a special gift of conveying your feelings in a way such that I have a difficult time keeping a dry eye reading them. Thank you for your willingness to share them with us. For sharing Thomas with us all. You are in my family's prayers for healing and comfort in the minutes, days, weeks, months ahead. (Philippians 4:19)
    The Markiton Family

  10. Melissa and TJ,
    Saturday was so heartbreaking, yet so beautiful. I keep reminding myself that God will heal you both, step by step. For me, Saturday was a flood of emotions, I can only imagine how you all were and are feeling. I want you to know that what you both are going through will always be in my heart and prayers. I hope and pray that each step gets a bit easier for you both. Thank you for sharing your amazing words and Thomas' story.
    All of my love, thoughts, and prayers,
    Ginny (Phillips)
    Melissa - you continue to inspire me. Thank you, for that.

  11. This is beautiful, Melissa! I hope you will continue this blog and it will become a means by which you can work through your grief. I also think there are blessings to be found in the mundane...


  12. I'm friend of Amber Gosnell's and linked up here through her caring bridge journal. I too have lost children and am so sorry for the pain and sorrow you feel. I will add you and your sweet family to my prayers, for your journey of healing.

  13. Dr. Behm,
    Thank you for sharing what we all know is deeply personal...while I have never experienced exactly what you are going through, I can say that there have been some times when I look at my children, my home, etc. and realize how truly fragile it all is - not because of anything looming over us, but how quickly these brilliant little lives God creates can end. I try and remind myself that those little steps we take after a crisis are often the BIGGEST steps we'll ever have to take, and once you take them, you are going in the right direction - it doesn't mean you forget, or don't have setbacks or anger, but you keep moving forward, even if it seems to be a small victory for that day. I am praying so hard for you as a mom that He continues to give you strength to feel and you should know you have that support around you to say the unsayable...

  14. Melissa I hope you and TJ can feel all the love and prayers going out for you. hey, you got up and did something normal this morning..that's a huge step. and it wasn't the same as before, because now Thomas really is in everything you do. he is right there in your heart and everything around you both is now soaked in his spirit. Thomas will always be with you, you just have to pray to survive the fact that you cannot hold him and touch him. We are all praying for that for you. You are such an amazing mother and your faith is lifting our hearts to God with every word you write. We all love you guys and are praying for you both.

  15. What you wrote was beautiful! I love you and i am so proud to call you my sister and TJ my brother in law.

  16. Melissa - just today I was thinking about you and TJ having coffee together and wondering how that must feel; doing things you always did. The first load of laundry, the first time you laugh and feel guilty about it. You guys have been so heavy on my heart. I haven't been able to stop thinking about how you and TJ were chosen to be Thomas' mommy and daddy and how his story has been told through your eyes and with your faith. I have a new perspective about my deployed husband because of your sweet Thomas. I hope in some strange way you find comfort in all the many ways his story has inspired so many. We love you guys.

  17. Dr. Behm, I can't help but cry when I think about all the emotions you must be experiencing. I am so sorry for your loss. Even though I don't know you very well, you treat my children as you would your own -- because of the love you show them, you feel like family to me. And so, from that perspective, and from that of a fellow mother, I feel so much for you and TJ and Thomas. I hope every day that it gets a little easier for you to bear the pain and to celebrate Thomas's life. I hope that someday soon Thomas has many happy, healthy siblings to help you with this as well and to remember their beautiful brother. Thank you for being so courageous and generous by sharing Thomas's life with us. Lauren

  18. Melissa and TJ,

    Please know that we have not forgotten to pray for your family every single day. I know that things have changed tremendously for you now, but GOD Himself has not changed! He will be with you -even in the darkness. For now, just put one foot in front of the other and hold each other tightly.

    Love, Kim and Chris Rowland

  19. Melissa and TJ,
    Continuing to pray for both of you during these days. Your trust in the Lord and grace throughout Thomas's short life has truly be an inspiration. Thomas's story has touched more people than you will ever know. He was so incredibly blessed to have both of you as his parents, and I know he will live on through both of you now. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you. Will be praying that the Lord will bring peace and comfort as He mends your broken hearts.

  20. Grieve. Let it flow. Let it go...even many times a day. No one expects you not to. Let the tears flow.
    When Lilah was born and diagnosed, I was expected to be so strong. When I tried to grieve people would tell me that I needed to.pull myself together because of the older 3. (the same people said that after I miscarried a baby)
    God knows your heart. He knows you are broken. Its ok to let it go so He can heal you.
    I cannot begin to understand your pain, but I want you to know that you are not alone. I am here. I will listen as you weep, scream, and cry. I will never judge your thoughts or emotions.
    You are teaching us all about grace and mercy.
    Even those of us who have never met you face to face. (your Dad was my husband's dentist growing up)
    I continue to pray for you.

  21. Dearest Melissa and TJ,

    I cried this morning as I read your closing passage from Luke. I morn your loss, and feel your pain, not as a woman that has lost a child, but a woman that has lost a husband, mother and most recently, within the past month, a brother; all in less than 7 years.

    Sweet Thomas did not die in vain. There are people just like me still hurting seeking healing, and you are showing us the way through God's word.

    I will continue to pray for you, you're healing, and God's grace.

    With Love,

    Paula Smoak

  22. Hey--it's Anna. Just want you to know that I am still thinking of y'all all the time. It's amazing to me how much I think of y'all all throughout the day and you are not even here. I have an achy heart too. I often wonder what is the point of doing the mundane things I do when all is SO not ok. Why doesn't time just stop when something like this happens? I can hardly listen to complaints of cough and congestion and such at work--so what? I think you are right though--one foot in front of the other is the only reliable path. The only way is through it-- there is no getting around it. I am so glad you are in Savannah with your mama. Besides God, there is no better comfort I can think of than a faithful mama, which you both are. Please know you will stay on my mind and in my heart, and of course my prayers, through this journey.

  23. Melissa,
    I am so sorry these days are so painful for you and T.J. Just like your sweet Thomas, your heart will not be completely healed until you get to heaven. It will heal with time, but not completely. My husband and I also lost our first son, Dean, three and half years ago. We still struggle and will always struggle over the loss of our first baby boy. The Harden family continues to pray faithfully for you and T.J. We know these days are very difficult. Everything in this post I could very much relate to. Your feelings are very normal for a mommy who has to go on living without her baby. While you grieve continue to trust God's heart. He is so good and has a beautiful plan ahead for you and T.J. I believe he has blessings in store for you more then you could ever hope for or imagine!

    Love, Michelle Harden and family (Casey, Luke, Stella Grace, and Gabriella)

  24. You continue to inspire me Missa. I have honestly learned many life lessons through reading the beautiful words that you write. You have taught me how powerful faith can be, and how strong we are capable of being. I have known you my whole life, and I know that you and TJ will find your sunrise. I love you so much! -Ellie

  25. Melissa,
    Your blog and Thomas' story have been very influential on my life over the past few weeks. Your faith has challenged me to be a better christian. I think about all you have said in your blog, and all you and TJ have been through, not only over the past few weeks, but over the past 9 months, and I am amazed at your strength, courage, and faithfulness throughout it all. I pray for the both of you every day, several times a day, and I just can't imagine what you're going through. Like you said in your blog about getting up in the morning and trying to have a normal day, drinking coffee, walking the dogs, how can things be "normal" after what the two of you have been through?!
    I know with your amazing faith you will continue to get the strength you need to get through each day, and I pray that each day you feel less grief about Thomas, and are able to celebrate the amazing life he had.
    As I share your story with my friends and family through this blog, it is amazing to hear how this little life has made us all better Christians and people from knowing him through your blog.
    Thank you so much for all you have shared, you have poured out your heart and soul and it is incredible, and I hope you continue to share your journey. Your faith has been infectious and you have touched so many lives, hearts, and souls.

  26. I hope that u feel the prayers and support of your friends and family!!! ON CHrist the SOLID ROCK WE WILL STAND-TOGETHER!!!

  27. Dear Dr. Behm, (I'm sorry but I just can't think of you without saying, Dr. Behm!) Anyway, I just wanted to you to know that Sue Sue and I have been following your blog and were praying SO much for you and little baby Thomas. We are truly heartbroken with you and just wanted you to know. A friend shared with me recently (who has also lost a son),"God is close to the broken-hearted!" I pray that you and T.J. would feel His presence and let Him comfort you as no one else can... Love, Sarah Fowler

  28. Dr. Behm,
    You're a wonderful person. We're so blessed to know you and to have you in our lives. I'm so very sorry, it's horrible to love and lose your precious miracle. We're thinking of you every day and wishing you peace and comfort... Love to you and your husband.

  29. Melissa-as someone in an earlier post said-kudos to you all for doing something normal after all you've been through! You both are amazing and an inspiration to many. With Christmas around the corner, one of my favorite songs comes to mind when I think of you. If you haven't heard it, take a peek at Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant. Truly a beautiful song and a reminder that Jesus was born because Mary had the courage to accept God's will and larger plan for her and her baby son. May you find some peace and comfort in it. Still praying for you and your family. Be good to yourselves. It's ok. :). Kristin Scott

  30. I agree with Kristin (even though I don't know her!). Great minds think alike :) I heard "Breath of Heaven" TWICE on the radio this morning and thought of you. Here's the link:

    And the Chorus:
    Breath of heaven
    Hold me together
    Be forever near me
    Breath of heaven
    Breath of heaven
    Lighten my darkness
    Pour over me your holiness
    For you are holy
    Breath of heaven

    Still thinking about you and praying for you.

  31. Thinking of you so much these days. I believe that you will never forget the most important part of your days with Thomas which is the love that he inspired. I can't imagine how hard this must be for you. Please know that you have friends who are ready to do anything they can for you.
    Love you,

  32. Dr. Behm,
    I have been weeping as I have sat here reading your blog. My heart breaks for you and your husband in the loss of your precious Thomas. You took care of my newborn son in the hospital in June and I remember you sharing with me then that you were having a boy also. I am so sorry for your loss, and so encouraged by your faith and trust in the Lord. Just last night after our Advent reading I was having a heart to heart talk with my 8 year old daughter and I was sharing with her how the brokenness of this world can help us to long for Jesus' return. I pray that as you go through this Christmas season you will be comforted by the peace of Christ and knowing that your Thomas is safe in His arms where nothing will ever separate him from the love of God. You and your husband are in our families prayers. Thank you for being a vessel of Jesus' love in your workplace, and for sharing your very personal story here. May God use it for His glory.

  33. please check out the Zoe Foundation in Savannah. Its a wonderful support group of people who have lost their newborns.

  34. Melissa, Youre completely right! It does feel so strange to be going about life as if it were "normal". I remember I seemed fine for a few days and one morning I woke up and kicked and screamed and yell, not because I was angry, I was scared. One time, I let it all out. After a period of grief and a certain amount of healing, youll come to realize that the blessing of Thomas will make normal seem precious, to spend time with friends, to watch the rain pour down as you sit by a window, to find a feather at your feet when you step outside in the morning to get the paper, to hear laughter, all these "normal" things will somehow seem more amazing. Youll find that your sense of true blessing will be so very keen because youre searching for blessings to cling to. Thank the Lord that He has placed blessing at every turn for us. Something to remind us that He is still in control of every situation. I found mine in the precious children at GMH on Christmas. And please take it from me... you may worry that your memory will fade... IT WONT!!!! It only becomes stronger as time passes. Thomas will forever be your first child. When I have bad day (as I still sometimes do) I know its just that Isaac-shaped hole in my heart. Doing things in his memory has been every bit the therapy ive needed. God calls us to be blessings to others even in our times of despair. You have been Melissa... an inspiration to everyone. I love yall! Megan Bush

  35. Your words are heartfelt. Thank you for sharing your precious Thomas with all of us.
    After hearing about Thomas, I, like so many others, reached out to you with prayers for healing, strength, and comfort. What I did not expect was to receive such a blessing in return. I have received the blessing of your faith, trust, and, now, your very honest expression of heartache during your time of sorrow. You are so inspiring and that is a gift.
    I am confident that the same heavenly Father that has brought you through all of this will continue to comfort and strengthen you as only He can.
    You and your family are and will continue to be in my prayers.

    Cynthia (Cindy) Howard

  36. Melissa,
    Your writing is beautiful. Your words, heartfelt. Your emotion, raw & honest. Your faith, so strong & true. Thank you for sharing all of this with all of us. I dont think you know what a gift your writing is to all of us with whom you share it.

    Praying for you and TJ as you take one step at a time towards your promised sunrise,
    Britt Buckler

  37. Melissa,
    I will continue to pray for healing for you and TJ. May the Holy Spirit give you strength and peace during this time of healing.

    I appreciate you sharing what is on your heart and the honesty of your writings. Such a beautiful testimony of a parents' love and how God shows His love to His children.

    Jaime Pham

  38. Also, this is my cell number.8644152395 or 8644157523.. I am going to be on break for 2 weeks. If you need me, Ill come to you! It was hard for me to find someone who understood me and sometimes was frustrating... Please let me know if theres anything. Ill help just as you helped me. Megan

  39. As I have said before. this is the ultimate heartbreak for any mother. You have been so strong and gracious. I could never have done the same. You are amazing, and I am sure you will continue to help children, inncluding your own in so many ways!