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In the middle of the night, the day is called new.

In the middle of the winter, the year is called new.

In the middle of my ashes, I am called new.

Since losing Oliver in mid-2017, I’ve been in hiding. Licking my wounds. Living in a fog-like cocoon of sorts. It often feels like watching through the safety of the blinds as the world goes by. To clarify, I HAVE left my house. I haven’t gone total hermit…though it does sound wonderful at times. I’ve done everything I did before & then some, including recording & releasing an album; fighting through grief, depression, & PTSD like never before; & maintaining a healthy, loving marriage (which completely beats the odds after child loss. Not bragging, just aware of how ridiculously hard a feat this is).

This has been my life.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2019. We’d just found out we were pregnant again. It was wonderful, terrifying news & a lot to process. In January, I felt my Heavenly Father’s voice come over me, slowly coaxing me out of hiding. Leading me to dream again. “Celebrate,” he said. I couldn’t shake that word. Celebrate. Why? How? Mostly, I’m just not used to this. I’m usually being led into a season of pain or of loss in preparation for the next. Honestly, pain is my go to. I’m a number 4 on the enneagram. I can find the tragedy/pain/hardship in just about any given situation. So, celebration is very new for me.

We found out later in January baby #2 was going to be a boy. Celebrate. A boy with a due date only a week or so a part from the same days Oliver was born & passed. Celebrate. It felt like everything was lining up to play out exactly the same as just 2 years before…again, a planned home birth became a hospital birth. Celebrate. (Though often overshadowed, there were plenty of legitimate reasons to celebrate. Our support system of friends & family have prayerfully walked every step with us. We had an incredible team: Melanie was our doula, our amazing midwife Shannon still came to the hospital with us, our OB was incredible.) I fought & chose to see each & every hand we were dealt as reason to celebrate, no matter how I felt about it.

At this time, the same voice calling me to celebrate began bringing up Phoenix imagery. After Joy’s mentor & pseudo-mom Beth mentioned the name idea, our little boy, Lincoln, held the middle name Phoenix as a placeholder. We loved it. It’s different. Plus I’ve always been a Joaquin Phoenix fan (Gladiator, Signs, You Were Never Really Here), so I used that partially as an excuse for the name.

On Sunday, June 23rd 2019, Lincoln Phoenix was born, emerging from the ashes as the fiery, little bird he is, sharing the same exact birthday with his older brother Oliver.

That still hasn’t sunk in. Oliver was born a week & a half after his due date. Lincoln was born a couple weeks before his. I’m still in shock. I’m still celebrating. Every time I tell someone Lincoln’s story, they are shocked. I love a good redemption story & this one just blows my mind. I hope it always will.

A surprising amount of people I know have since asked what I think of “the dad life,” as if Lincoln were my first child….as if Oliver not sticking around didn’t count & was nothing more than a failed investment or an awkward phase that they patiently waited for me to grow out of so they could wrap their heads around me once again…I know they mean well, but to answer that question before it’s asked again, it’s been incredibly healing. The same answer I gave a friend who asked what it’s been like since Lincoln was born, knowing leading up to this point how we had been going through picking ourselves up from the canvas after a beating for round 2. They added that it must be painful also. & yes, it is very painful. But in my mind, pain & healing are synonymous. To truly heal, you must experience the pain.

I’ve realized that, yes, Lincoln is a Phoenix in our lives, but just like him, I am the Phoenix rising up. Perhaps in your life you are the Phoenix. These ashes we find ourselves in have made us who we are, but they can’t tell us who we are…we know full well when we are on the rise.

In the middle of the night, the day is called new

In the middle of the winter, the year is called new.

In the middle of my ashes, I am called new.

-Will

(P.S. I snapped the above blurry picture of Lincoln one morning while it was still dark outside…seemed to fit the Phoenix imagery pretty well.)

2 comments on “THE PHOENIX

  1. Jennifer Jensen says:

    This is so beautiful and raw. I both feel your pain and see your joy. There are so many reasons to celebrate! Much love to you, Joy, Oliver, Lincoln and the rest of your family! Jennifer ❤

    Like

    1. Thank you, Jennifer! We appreciate you ❤

      Like

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