Wednesday, August 14, 2013

New Normal Retreat

the void of noah not being here is the strongest, for me, at home. we spent so much time preparing and imagining him in this place that it's so difficult knowing he'll never be here. and walking past the closed door to his room ... i can't even talk about it let alone go in there.

then the other place his void is felt the strongest, for me, is at work. i returned a couple weeks after noah passed away and it was so, so troubling for me to go back because i was not supposed to be there. it was an eerie feeling. i was planning on spending the three months of summer getting to know this new, little baby boy - taking walks, going to the park, running errands with him on my hip. instead, i'm sitting at a desk trying to find things to do, at a place that had everything all planned to go on without me. everything feels empty.

and those are the two places i spend the most time. the two places i miss noah the most.

so when a friend of ours was gracious enough to offer up her cabin home on lake wenatchee to us, we jumped on the chance. obviously we take noah with us wherever we go, and we wouldn't be able to 'escape' our pain, but it was a chance to enter a part of the world that we had never been, a place yet untouched by noah.

it was a place to begin experiencing a 'new normal.' and those few nights were met with some of the most real and deep mourning, but also with beauty and heaven.

so, so quiet. peaceful. my thoughts slowed down. i was able to breathe.

we read in the sun. we floated in the lake for hours on inner tubes just talking and dreaming. we took morning runs. we sat in silence. we wept. we ate an entire container of artichoke-jalapeno dip.

we watched dvds that made us laugh.

we took a day trip to leavenworth, one of our favorite towns, and ate one of our favorite meals.

but we spent most of the time working on noah's scrapbook.

before noah was born i prepared a scrapbook to document his entire first year and beyond. it was all ready. all we had to do was fill it in with milestones and pictures. after noah died i assumed the entire book was just going to remain empty. a sharp reminder of what could have been, but wasn't. then my husband had the most brilliant and thoughtful idea. we should finish his scrapbook. leave the pages that still apply, like sharing the birth story, first photos, baptism, etc. and fill the rest of the pages with all the cards we received from loved ones at noah's memorial.

this book is a treasure. a memorial of love for our boy. and something our future children can look through to learn about their big brother.

on our last night, while we were walking through the streets of leavenworth, this caught our eye in a store window...

i'm so thankful that our 'new normal' includes rainbows. the promise of wonders to come. thank you, jesus.

our 'new normal' will always, always include noah. our retreat was not a retreat from him, but a beginning of a new life with him, just in a different way then we imagined.

and because of that, heaven feels a bit closer now.


  1. McCayla, I don't know if you remember me. We went to college together, and we have many friends in common. I first started praying for Noah when he was still in your arms after seeing a fervent prayer request posted by a mutual friend on FB. I was shocked and devastated when I read that he had gone home to Heaven. I just wanted to say I have been praying, and will continue to pray for you and your husband as you navigate these dark waters. I don't have any personal experience with the loss of a child, but my mom is a nurse and grief counselor at a NICU and, if it's alright with you, I'd like to tell her about this blog so she can share it with her patients' families. I can only pray that the Lord will use Noah's story, and your breathtakingly honest and beautiful words, to further His Kingdom. Thank you for writing, for spelling out the pain and the heartache so that we can grieve with you, and for sharing your Noah with us.
    -Emily Cole Batterton

    1. yes, i remember you! thank you so much for your note, emily and for your prayers. we are so grateful. and of course it's alright with me if you'd like to share this blog. it would be an honor. bless your mom and bless you. much love.