Living Outside The Lines: “Finding Joy In Sorrow”

Much of that trip is a blur, buried under layers of scar tissue, but several vivid memories stand out: the suffocating torrent of emotion that engulfed me after viewing that tiny casket…

by, Becky j Miller

Twenty-seven years ago, tomorrow, William Harry Maddison III, affectionately known as Tre’ made his debut at a hospital in Waxahachie, Texas. Tre’ carries the honor of being the first grandchild, first grandson, and my first nephew. All those “firsts” together makes for one special guy, but that is just the beginning of the story. 

You see, over 1500 miles away in Mountain Home, Idaho, on the exact same day, August 9, 1990, another baby arrived. This baby, my son Matthew James Miller, was stillborn. What a schizophrenic day for our family, rejoicing over the birth of one child and mourning the loss of another. The day was especially difficult for my mother; two daughters, two grandsons, two states and two opposing emotions. 

A few days later, my husband and I traveled to Texas to bury our son and meet our new nephew. 

Much of that trip is a blur, buried under layers of scar tissue, but several vivid memories stand out: the suffocating torrent of emotion that engulfed me after viewing that tiny casket, Tre’s father serving as a pall bearer at my son’s funeral, and watching my mother snuggle with her new grandson.

Part of me yearned to hold Tre’, to smell his baby fresh scent, and eventually I did, but not for long. The pain of my loss was still too raw. 

Time and distance eventually wrapped their soothing balm around my fragmented heart. When we returned to Texas four short months later, I could not WAIT to see my nephew! I held him, fed him, bumped his head taking him out of the baby swing (sorry, Tre’!) and even took him for an overnight visit. 

After the holidays, Tre’ and his mommy came to Idaho, and lived with us for a while. A scene replays in my mind of the day we bought Tre’ his first pair of shoes.

Going from bare feet to high top sneakers can be a difficult transition for any toddler, but Tre’ was most cooperative. His happy clomping throughout the store had the other shoppers grinning with delight. I’m smiling even now as I relive that moment.

Today Tre’ is a grown man with a family of his own.  Following the traditional natural order, he was the first grandchild to marry and the first to have children. 

So, not only is he my first nephew, his oldest son, Liam is my first great nephew. My husband, an ordained minister, had the honor of officiating his wedding. We also attended Liam’s dedication.

Although we don’t see Tre’ and his family as often as we’d like, this special boy, now a man, will always hold a treasured place in my heart.

Babies are born every day, and all of them have a purpose, no matter the circumstances surrounding their arrival. God is SOVEREIGN. Nothing surprises him. He always has a plan. William Harry Maddison III brought life when there was death, joy when there was pain. Each year the celebration of his birth reminds me of the gift God sent. There is no more mourning, only rejoicing. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRE’! Love, Your Auntie

Until Next Time,

Becky J Miller

“Warrior Princess”


Becky J Miller is a contributor and is exclusive to SM Corridor News. You can read more of Becky’s columns in Lifestyle.

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