When It Can’t Be Fixed

We heard words today no parent ever wants to hear.

Words void of hope. Words worthy of grieving. Words that caused silent sobs, red eyes, and a heavy heart for the rest of the day.

“He can’t be fixed.” 

After a night of no sleep, I was getting ready for work this morning and heard it through the monitor.


By the time I got to him for what felt like the 100th time that night, he was lying flat on his back, gasping for air and choking, once again, on his vomit. 

I immediately flipped him to his side and started beating his back. This time, at least he wasn’t blue. It took a few minutes, but after he started crying, I heard the rhythmic sound of his breathing begin. It was such a treasure. 

We sleep lightly. We run to him every time he coughs. We freak out about little things because what if we don’t get there fast enough.

It happened one time at Salsaritas. Brandon and I were in line ordering our food and he was only a few tables away. We heard that little cough, and both of us ran through the restaurant to rescue him. The restaurant fell quiet, and people wondered if they should call for help. We ate a silent meal after that. 

So when the doctor looked at my husband, square in the eye and said “he can’t be fixed,” that feeling of panic we experience all too much, settled in to stay. 

“We’ll try continuous feeds for two weeks and then if he still isn’t better, we’ll write orders for surgery.” 

A more evasive surgery with a more permenant tube. And a lifetime of continuous feeds. Making void the hours upon hours of therapy we have spent each week for the last three months.

And the continuous feeds…being attached to a tube and pump all day long with only a two hour break. How is my already “developmentally delayed” baby going to roll around on his tummy, learn to crawl, and play? How will he run one day? How will he learn to ride a bike? Or swing at recess? Or play baseball like his daddy? 

I spent most of the day grieving for him. 

He doesn’t know what it’s like to feel hunger or a full belly. He doesn’t know what comfortable feels like. He doesn’t know all he’s missing out on.

But I do. 

And it breaks my heart for him. 

Some of you reading this are walking through darker journeys than ours. 

For some of you, all your baby knows is the four walls of that hospital. Some of you are sitting beside your baby’s hospital bed praying they’ll fight through the night. Or some of you have stared at a grave where you have laid your baby to rest.

And I am so incredibly sorry.

Some of you are sitting in empty nurseries wondering if you’ll ever get a chance to be a mama. Some of you stare at black and white photos and dream of the life that little baby would’ve had.  Some of you are sharing your children with an ex spouse, staring at a report card of failing grades, or praying your prodigal returns home. 

And you hear those words, “It can’t be fixed.”

Every bit of hope deflates your heart and you’re left grieving what could have been.

After those words, I spent the rest of the day asking the Lord what to do with them. I spent silent moments lamenting to Him, grieving with Him, for this sweet boy He’s given to our family. 

Those moments of blank stares throughout my day were silent cries to my Dad. The car ride home was filled with lots of tears and loud music. I didn’t say much to Him. Because I knew I didn’t have to. He already knew.

And as I prepared myself to walk through the door to mother my precious children, I heard Him whisper to my broken heart, “You are not alone. I’m right here. And I fix broken things every day. I’ve fixed you haven’t I?” 

We have hope in Him. It anchors our souls when the waves of life are too scary. We have life, abundant life, in Him through deep waters. We have a shelter, a refuge, an ever present help in times of trouble. 

We have Him. 

So wherever you are right now, whatever darkness you’re treading through, He is light. 

And when you begin to hear those words, “it can’t be fixed,” remember a manger, a cross, and an empty tomb. 

He raised a dead man to life. He conquered death once and for all. 

He can fix anything.