Had everything gone according to plan, William Miles III would have celebrated his 10th Christmas this year.
Instead, William was born with a chromosomal disorder known as Trisomy 13 and died just 12 days after his birth in 2002.
His mother, Renee Miles, still thinks of her son, on special days and birthdays and, in particular, around Christmas. And she knows she’s not alone. Every parent who has lost a child considers what might have been around the holidays, she said, and it can be a difficult time that she hopes she might make a little easier.
Miles will be the featured speaker at the seventh annual Time for Special Remembrance service at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Sanctuary church in Evans.
“This is always a time of reflection,” she said. “And most people love this time of year. But people who have experienced a great loss might be the exception.”
Miles said she plans to deliver a message that’s more about sympathy than sorrow and more about moving forward than staying stuck in the past.
“It’s to minister hope and encouragement,” she said. “I see it as an opportunity to help others. I’m very excited.”
She accepted the offer to speak at the service without hesitation. It will allow her to minister to people who might benefit from her message, she said.
“It’s part of my pact with God,” she said. “If He calls on me there is no hesitation. I don’t need to fast for 10 days or pray on it. I just accept.”
She said she hopes people are able to take from her message the lessons of empathy and compassion her short time with her son taught her.
“It’s all about a trust in God for me,” she said quietly, her finger running across a photograph of the baby they planned to call Will. “There’s a total dependence upon Him in keeping peace in my life. I’ve grown to know that there’s nothing he can’t help with, if you let Him.”
Peace, she said, comes from surrender.
Her son taught her that.