The Red Lamp

If I told you that my dad was watching over my brand new infant son, his namesake, the first couple weeks of his life outside of the womb… would you believe me?

Sometimes you just feel something in your soul.

I have only talked about this with a couple of people and have wanted to blog about it many times, but I always talk myself out of it. My lack of confidence in being able to put into words what actually happened is heavy. Many will try to find logical explanations for what happened.

But, sometimes you just feel something in your soul.

My dad died very suddenly and unexpectedly in August of 2014, while I was 5 months pregnant. Naturally, it rocked me to the very core of my being. I have experienced many deaths in my family and even friends, but losing a parent is indescribable. I don’t think there is an age that makes it necessarily better or worse, but I do think that in your adulthood, it sure feels stronger than it might in your youth, simply because you have become “friends” with your parents. You have grown out of the resentment and grown into respecting them. A very real part of your soul dies when you lose a parent. There really are no words… IT JUST SUCKS.

Jaxx Henry was born in December of 2014. A beautiful, bouncing, and very healthy baby boy, blessed with his Pappy’s name, yet he would never get to experience those giant hands holding him. He would never hear that deep voice say “Hey boy.” He will never know his grandfather.

The bassinet sat right next to our bed, on my side, of course. I moved the red lamp from my chest of drawers to the nightstand so that I could check in on my sleeping angel any time I wanted to throughout the night. The red light bulb set a peaceful ambiance. It was never turned off, even during the day, the first few weeks of his life. I’ve used this light, with this light bulb, many times before his birth, and never once has it flickered, ever… until the first night he cried.

I cannot recall the time, and I cannot say for sure that it was the first time he had cried in that room, but it was the first time in the middle of the night and it was very strange to me that the light was steady until he was upset. It had been ten years since I’d been up every few hours with a newborn, and although rusty, it came naturally to me. I wasn’t nervous or anxious. I felt confident in my “super mom” skills and although exhausted, I was in my element. From the kitchen, I could hear that precious new baby “neh” over and over, as I made his bottle. I hurried to change his diaper, all the while, the red light flickered. As we sunk into the glider, the warm milk hit his tongue and all was right with the world. It was silent. The light flickered a few more times and then it was steady again. I remember thinking to myself as I slowly rocked my darling baby, “Dad?”

Sometimes you just feel something in your soul.

The red light never flickered in the day time. It never once fluttered in the silence. But many times in the first few weeks, when Jaxx would cry at night, the red light danced.

I unplugged it. I wiggled the cord. I brought it to my husband’s attention. I tried different outlets. Unrelenting.

Sometimes you just feel something in your soul.

It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done the newborn stage, exhaustion is the devil and it will get to you. One night in particular, a few weeks in, consumed with exhaustion and frustration, I was feeding Jaxx in the glider with tears streaming down my face. I was upset. My husband slept and every snore was like a dagger in my ear. I was bitter. It didn’t matter that he was an awesome new daddy and had done everything and more to help… at that moment, I was jealous that he was sleeping and I was up, again. Tears falling, the flickering red light got my attention. An overwhelming feeling came over me and I smiled. It was like my dad was saying, “Hey… calm down. You’ve got this. Dry it up.”

It lit my room for a few more weeks, but after that night, that lamp never once flickered again. I think we all fell into our groove and figured out this new page in our book.

Sometimes… you just feel something in your soul.

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