Waking in the pre-dawn hours with excruciating contractions I knew I was in trouble. Knowing our twins due date was almost 11 weeks away fear shot through me as another rugged contraction came and went. It was March 5, 1982, and was also my husband, Don’s 31st birthday. This day would become a benchmark day in the chronicle of our life.
After being flown by air ambulance to Denver, CO, our twins were born in the mid-afternoon. Luke David had gone to heaven while still within me, Paul Donald cried as he was delivered, and the whole medical team cheered as they heard his tiny cries! He came out fighting for his life, and the battle raged for many weeks to follow.
As the day unfolded, we said good-bye to Luke while at the same time welcoming our son Paul into our lives. I remember thinking Don’s birthday would always be marred by both sadness and happiness. Somewhere in the struggle for Paul’s life, the truth began to infiltrate my heart, that neither Paul nor Luke were ours. They were designed and created by their loving heavenly Father and were entrusted to us for whatever length of time He deemed necessary. Although, I wouldn’t be able to know Luke here in this life, there came a confidence — a knowing — there would come a day when I would be with him in heaven, and I would be able to wrap my arms around him and know him for who he is. Though difficult to embrace, this truth helped me come to the place where I could release Luke and find peace.
Looking back from where we stand today, each birthday has been filled with gratitude to God for Paul’s life, for seeing him healthy and whole (even though his prognosis had not originally been such), and for the fun it has been to have celebrated father and son birthdays for 28 years!
Here on planet earth, Don and Paul celebrate the years of their lives on their joint-birthday. And . . . I like to think that Father God and Luke David are celebrating the incredible, joy-filled life they live together in heaven! For everyone, it’s a day to rejoice!