“For most of the world February is just a month but for you February is a season.”

Do you have a best friend? Someone that you have almost a secret language with? I do. I got insanely blessed with two. We are this little trio that text daily in a group text. We celebrate birthdays together. We’ve been known to vacation together. We rejoice in the rejoicing and weep in the sorrows. We have words that mean entire stories to us. Asparagus. JC Penny. November. Poop. Christmas Craps (I know, that’s two, but give me a break). They mean the world to me.

Maybe you haven’t noticed, but we are in the month of February. It is the shortest month of the year. It’s cold with random warm days. We are getting sick of daily schedules but not ready for school to be out. We have five family birthdays this month. And I dread it every year. When it starts out I think it’ll be fine. Right off the bat, I have a birthday to plan and it keeps me occupied. But as the days tick away and we get closer and closer to the 19th the harder the days get for me. I thought this year would be different. We have had an amazing year of health and progress for our kiddos. They have both come a long way since 2015. But last week it came down hard on me, the memories, the feelings.

Gavyn was born in February. He was born a happy, healthy, baby boy. But when he was two weeks old he got extremely ill and was in the hospital for 21 days, fighting for his life, and coming home with many scars to prove it. In 2014 he had emergency brain surgery in February and weeks later his brother had heart surgery. His older brother’s birthday is in February as well. The day I got the call about his genetic diagnosis was on his birthday. I’ve spent many a dark night in February weeping for my kids, my marriage, myself. This month is hard.

When we came home from the hospital with Gavyn and tried to resume normal life, our church did a series called, ‘Doubting Your Doubts’. I remember sitting in the back of the sanctuary, week after week, angry, mad, scared shitless, listening to them talk about our doubts and what to do with them. I cried. A lot. The next two years I came to church angry more often than not. I never lost faith in God, but I sure as hell was mad at Him. I can still feel that anger how deep, and dark, and unforgivable it was. It is amazing how you can sit in a room with 500 people and feel completely isolated. But we went, week after week, month after month, year after year. We never stopped we never gave up. We spent another three years at that church. The only reason we left was that Ryan got a full time position at a different church. I have visited occasionally. Each time I did, I felt that anger, that isolation, remembering everything that happened with Gavyn and all that pain. In the last couple years I hadn’t been back. At the beginning of the year, a friend asked me if I would go to church with her, and she wanted to check out our old church. Of course I would go with her! It was a new experience to go with someone else. I didn’t think so much about my baggage. Until last week…

It was the night before Gavyn’s birthday. It was six days from one of my trigger days. It was f’ing February. I sat between one of my best friends and my friend figuring out church. The pastor talked about grace, prayer, pleading with God.

Then he talked about how Jesus empathizes with us. How he sits with us, his hand our shoulder, and feels our pain, taking part in it, and taking that pain to the throne room for us.

I. Lost. My. Shit.

I haven’t cried that much in church in seven years. Once it started, it didn’t stop. I cried for the next three days.

On my way home from church that night I talked to my best friends. All I said was, “I hate February.” And they knew. They know the history. They know the pain. When my friend told me that February is a season for me, I cried even harder, because someone got it, they knew, she put the feelings into words. Something insanely healing happened last weekend. I was able to sit in that sanctuary with so many hard memories, in the month that never seems to end for me, and release it all, it all just poured out of my tear ducts.

I’m not saying February won’t be hard next year. Hell, it was still hard this week. But I think it will get easier. I think I’m going to make it.