Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday, Paul

Certain birthdays seem especially significant. Some birthdays deserve a party. Forty. Eighteen. Thirteen.


Five years ago, we were looking forward to the most party-worthy birthday of all – our first-born son’s actual birth. Ladies had already thrown him parties in Louisville, Dunsmuir, Jeffersonville, and Riverside—he was able to enjoy the parties snuggled up inside his Mom. His room was ready. His young Dad was nervous but so excited.

Five years ago, I was working the third shift at UPS, and remember checking my pager fifty times a night to see if Stephanie had gone into labor yet. I remember sitting on the floor next to the crib in his empty, blue room before I headed to work. I would look at that crib and let the overwhelming feeling of responsibility flow over me. I would look forward to holding him. I would pray with tears in my eyes that God would make me a good Dad.

Five years ago, today, Paul Hudson Rogers was stillborn at Norton hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. I remember the ultrasound that failed to find his heartbeat. I prayed, “God help us,” a thousand times that night, and a million times that year. God answered and he helped.

Five years ago, today, we held our beautiful son’s body. Paul was strong. He was big. I wish we had held him longer. But no matter how long we would have held him, I’m sure I’d still feel the same way. Nothing is long enough when all you want is forever.

Five years ago, rather than having a party, we had a funeral. Over one-hundred people came out to celebrate Paul’s short life. I remember most of them. Pastor Cook reminded us that Jesus loves children and of the resurrection of the dead.

Today, is Paul’s fifth birthday. He is still my son, and I am still that same young Dad with tears in my eyes wanting to be the best Dad for him I can be. I can’t throw him a party with cake and baseball and a bunch of his friends. But today we will celebrate Paul’s fifth birthday. We will go out to eat with his little sisters. We will remember him. We will remember Jesus’ love. And we will look forward to the resurrection.

Happy birthday, Paul. Your Mommy and Daddy love you. See you soon.


Sarah said...

Happy Birthday Paul! We can't wait to meet you on the other side. We know you are there, perfected and with the Father. Thank you Jesus for overcoming death with Your life. Thank you that there will one day be no more pain or death! Come Lord Jesus Come!

Alex and Marcella said...

Happy Birthday Paul!
Rodgers-thinking of you all. You are in our prayers. Love you. -The Bumpuses

Joanna said...

I read this and cry!! Having three kids of my own and an additional three in Heaven I have never met, I'm glad that you take the time to remember your son, and remind everyone that even though a child is no longer on this earth, they are still our child.

Anonymous said...

Ryan turns 2 in just a few days and in the midst of planning a party I've forgotten to treasure my blessings. Thank you for helping us to remember what is truely the most important thing in life - recieving and giving love.
Brandy S

sherry said...

This is absolutely beautiful, Mark. I love you guys and all three of your precious babies.

Robin said...

Dear Paul,
I love and miss you all the time. You were very much anticipated by all, but I'd like to think that you and I would've had a special bond. Don't worry, I'm doing my best to love and spoil your sisters as much as I can. I can't wait to hold you one day little man.
I love you,
Auntie Rah-Rah

Heather said...

Just thinking about you today as I was going thru Ashlyn's stuff and came across a letter you wrote to us soon after Paul's homegoing. Know that every spring when we celebrate Ash we remember you and we remember Paul. Forever! Happy 5th to our kiddos! Love you guys!

Pappy said...

Thank you Mark, your words are beautiful. Although it has been five years, the emotions that spring up make it seem like yesterday. I am still not sure what grips me more. The loss of our first grandchild with the promise of the future, the incredible heartache to you two with something that I could not fix for my little girl, or Paul not knowing what wonderful parents he had. I think about Paul often, always with a touch of what might have been, but also with the promise that we will see him again. I know that he is waiting, I know that God has plans for you and Steph, and I know that life will go on. We love you and are incredibly grateful for our grand-daughters.

Anonymous said...

Yes Mark, beautifully said. I tear up each time I read your message and then I got tears when I read Dale's words. Paul continues to touch our lives so deeply. nannie

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