Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dearest Isaiah,
As the calendar marches closer and closer to April 14th, my heart grows heavier and heavier.  Every year the grief is different.  Different , but definitely always there! This year, the grief seems more, hmm, quiet.  Yes, definitely a quiet grief.  Why?  I'm not sure.  Is it because most people no longer ask me about it?  Yes, that could be a reason.  But I think there's more.  I guess I've become like a veteran-- I well know grief's pain b/c its been a familiar companion for the last almost four years.  I'm skilled at identifying when its about to rear its ugly head.  And I'm a master at boxing it up when it does.  So I guess I'm on autopilot--I know the trigger, I sense the emotions welling up, and I quickly put the lid on it. 
No tears.
No angry questioning.
But the more I think about that--the more I don't want a quiet grief.  I don't want to cover it up. "The worst grief is a hidden grief that cannot speak"(Ann Voskamp).  Oh how true are those words!! We do ourselves a disservice when we hide our grief. 
I want to remember.   I want to remember what it felt like to see a quiet still ultraosound with no beating heart.  The doctor shaking her head sadly. The OR filled with the noise of my crying.  Cradling your precious body.  Kissing you goodbye on your little forehead.  Telling your sisters that mamas baby was born, you were a boy, but you died.
All those memories--so terribly heavy.  But I need to remember b/c I need to remember the good things as well.
My husband, so strong and loving. My mom. My dad. Friends.  The changes that started in my heart--realizing that this world is broken, it is full of suffering.  I didn't get a pass (no one does!). But there is a God, my precious Abba Father, who GAVE His son so that He could redeem all this suffering.  So that He could bring beauty from all the ashes.  So that when this life is over, Heaven awaits those of us who have called out to Him. 
I remember the immense, horrible struggle that I had with questioning the goodness of God.  When my nephews were born shortly after you died, everyone exclaimed "God is SO GOOD!". 
I wanted to scream.
Were they talking about the same God who gave me a dead baby????
Um, if God was good then He must not have been powerful enough to save my baby.  Or maybe He was powerful enough (can He be God if He isn't powerful? And, um there's creation), but then He certainly wasn't good. To give one person a live healthy baby and another a dead baby.  That's not good in my book. 
Or is it?
I'm coming to realize that pain can be a gift. 
Yes -- didn't I hold my dear sweet girl down while she screamed at the people poking her with needles to test for awful diseases?  Didn't I make her go alone, without me, into surgery to help heal her? She certainly didn't see that as good--she cried.  She questioned.  Had her mom abandoned her? No I hadn't. I was, in essence, inflecting pain b/c of my love for her.  I wanted her well and the only way to do that was through pain.  So the pain, was, a gift.  Rescuing her from the needles but letting her die of a terrible disease wouldn't be a gift.
So maybe it was the same with God.  Maybe losing you, Isaiah, was actually a gift.  Through losing you, so much changed in my heart and in my life.  And in the lives of my family. 
"It's the broken hearts that find the haunting loveliness of a new beat--its the broken hearts that make a song that echoes God's.
 (Ann Voskamp again).
Out of trials, come great treasures. 
From ashes, He makes beautiful things.
From the rain and storm, rainbows are born. 
And those are gifts indeed.
Oh Isaiah, I wish I could go back four years and tell myself to not despair about what would happen over the next 24 hours.  Tell myself that God is a kind God--a loving God.  Tell myself that even though I am about to experience unimaginable pain, it will give birth to a new song, to joy, to beauty. 
Remembering is important.  Quiet grief is not good. 
I'm so sad I lost you.  I'm so thankful for all the beauty that has been born out of that loss.
Love you sweet boy.
Happy 4th Birthday!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dearest Isaiah,

She was born! Alive!!!
After a long hard terribly scary pregnancy, your little sister was born.  As her cries filled the OR, my tears fell as well.  Such a beautiful, beautiful sound is the sound of a newborns cry. 

Here is what we sent to friends/posted on facebook:

Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever. 2 chron 20:21
Throughout the last 3 1/2 years out little family has walked through some tough times. But through each struggle, God has been gracious to us, never leaving us and providing precious gifts in the midst of painful times. One of these gifts was bringing us Judah - we praise Him for Judahs life (whose name means praise!). Another gift is this precious new life. We have decided to name her......Mercy Jane (meaning Gods gracious and compassionate gift). Her name--albeit a little unique :) --will always serve as a reminder of Who our God is!

Welcome Mercy Jane!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dearest Isaiah,
Its been so long since I have written on here.  Today, though, I just feel like I need to write. 
My dear son, about 8 weeks ago, I went to the doctor (the same office that I went to a zillion times while you were alive in my womb). 
This time I nervously sat in a waiting room full of young, confident, beaming pregnant moms--moms that I used to be just like.  Not this time. This time, I was fearful and nervous. 
With thumping heart, I lay down on an ultrasound table, and I listened for and longed to hear with all my being a heartbeat(just like I did the last time I had an ultrasound). 
Last time, I heard only deafening silence.
This time, though, this time was different. 
This time, I heard a heartbeat. 
Oh the joy!
There is life within me! Life. Precious life! How beautiful is that sound!

And then the fear hit.  And then the sadness.
Can I possibly do this?  Can I go through another pregnancy? Sometimes, I don't think I can.  But there's no going back.  I have to just keep going forward--praying with all my might that this baby will live.
I am very very very grateful for the opportunity to be pregnant again and I am sure that it probably doesn't make sense that I am scared and a little sad and definitely not giddy to be pregnant again.  But one thing that I have learned about grief--it doesn't make sense.

Speaking of grief, dearest Isaiah, I read this article today.
It brought tears to my eyes.  As we come up on the third anniversary of your death/birth, my heart aches so much.  My heart feels so wounded and no one knows.  No one understands the pain that is still there.  Even I am a little shocked by the amount of pain that is there.
Most people really don't seem to want to know the pain of others.  And that adds to the pain of this fragile heart.  They want to hear of happy and light and joyful things.  Not of flashbacks of still ultrasounds, weeping moms, dead babies, empty cribs, unused clothes.   
Oh Isaiah, am I being unfair?  Maybe I am.  Some, a few, people, I think, really would want to hear because they truly do care.  But my heart cant bear to share.  Why? Maybe its because I feel that they have this expectation that I should be over my grief.  That I am over my grief.  Is that expectation really there? Maybe. Maybe not.  What I do know, is, that as a society, we do a poor job of grieving with others, of entering into their messiness. We are great about rejoicing and celebrating with people.  But we shy away from pain.  From hurt. From grief.  And this should not be so. 
I do not want to wrap up the previous paragraph in a nice little bow by what I say next.  Faith is not easy.  Believing what we cant see is very difficult.  But I have chosen to trust what the Bible says.  So, I am thankful that although I cant physically see my Savior, nor can I physically feel His arms around me or hear His voice speaking to me-- I know that He is there.  That He understands the immense grief and the wounds.  That He comes near to the brokenhearted.  Does that take away the pain? No.  And He never said it would.  But it does bring a measure of comfort to this fragile grieving heart.
Oh Isaiah-- love you lots my son.

Friday, May 9, 2014

I received a phone call this morning from a friend.  She started by saying... this will be a hard conversation.  My heart sank.  She went on to tell me that a fellow friend of ours had just found out that her baby had passed away. She is approx. 20 weeks pregnant.  I cried for her. My friend asked me for suggestions on what she can say/do/tell the friend as she prepares to be induced.  I told her some things like:
1. Hold the baby.  Hold the baby for as long as she wants.
2. Take pictures of the baby.
3. Weep. Cry. Grieve.
4. Dress the baby in a little bunting style outfit (we may provide one for her).
5. Wrap the baby in a special blanket and then keep that blanket forever and always.

What suggestions would you offer?

And here is the note that I wrote to her...

Dear B,

Please know that I have been and will continue to pray earnestly for you and your family as you walk down this difficult, difficult path…   

“Oh Abba Father, how I pray for my precious sister B.

I pray that, right now, she will sense the nearness of You; that as she weeps, she will know that You are so very close.  That you are a God Who is near to the broken hearted and that You are holding her. 

I pray that she will feel the closeness of eternity… that she would know that her sweet baby is alive, alive with our Savior, and that she will see him again. 

I pray that as she walks through the coming days and months, that You would help her.  That You would be her constant source of strength when she feels so very weak. 

That You would be her light when the world seems so very dark and cloudy. 

That You would be her joy when all seems so so sad.

I pray for her arms (oh how I know so well that they will ache… ache to hold the precious baby that she loved so dearly).  Father, will you help those aching arms?

I pray for her heart.  Oh Father, help her as she learns to live with a broken heart.   

I pray that You would allow her to see the beauty that You will bring from this situation.  You are a God who brings great beauty from ashes… please Father allow B to see this beauty and to find comfort in it.

I pray that she will know that her baby’s life mattered.  You did not create nor give life in vain.  You did not make a mistake.  This little life had great purpose. 


Oh Father, please comfort and help sweet B and her family.


In the name of Jesus, I pray these things.  Amen. “


Please know that I am here if you ever want to talk/text/email.


Tears and much love,


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dearest Isaiah,
Your death catapulted my life onto an entirely different path.  Before you died, I had a sweet little life... 2 precious daughters, healthy and pregnant with my third child, wonderful husband, nice little church, sweet little friends, beautifully boring days with hardly a problem in sight... 

After your death, things changed! 

Those 2 precious daughters... they spent many evenings crying, many days panicking that someone else would die. 

That wonderful husband... he was walking around with a shattered heart. 
Those sweet little friends....well, they tried to understand, but they (for the most part) just couldn't (and they kept getting pregnant and they kept giving birth to healthy babies...). 
And my beautifully boring days... they were filled such sadness and pain and panic attacks.

Yes, my life changed completely.

And those changes caused me to face the very realness of death. And eternity.  And the suffering that is present here on earth.  Of course, I knew that we would all die, and I knew that there were people who were hurting.  But, before losing you, Isaiah, I tried to keep those thoughts at arms length (or further!).
But then, you died. 

And I realized that death wont always be at arms length.
And then little Emmie came(and I realized the torment of s. abuse that she had endured),

and I met J's birth mom(and watched as she, amidst great tears, handed her son over to me),

and I held little C(and watched as a judge terminated his mom's rights),

and I realized that I was not the only one hurting... I certainly didn't have the corner on the market of suffering in this life.

And as I'm just crossing the two year mark of losing you, I'm realizing that, along with my life changing, my heart is changing.  I'm not sure, exactly, how to put this into words... But I no longer want that old life.  I don't want the superficialness of it.  I want my life to matter for eternity.  I want my Savior, the one who died for me, to be pleased with my life.  I want to see those who are hurting and weep with them and tell them that there is a God who loves them and that this is not the end of their story and that this life is very brief compared to eternity.

The problem is, when you open your eyes to the suffering around you, when you are willing to share in that suffering, you too will suffer some.  You cant share another's load and not expect to feel some of the pain and heaviness of the burden.  And being burdened is not what my flesh enjoys.  But God is near to the broken hearted and reaching out to the broken hearted brings me near to the heart of God. And that is a sweet place, I place that I want to be.

The situation with Emmie is very difficult.  A s. abused, physically abused, 4 1/2  year old is not easy to deal with.  The trauma and pain that she must work through is great.   Many people are telling Daniel and I to stop.  My heart is wrestling.  Daniel's heart is wrestling.  I have no idea what will happen. 

I do know, though, that I can never go back to living a life that ignores those who are hurting.

Oh Isaiah, what a journey.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dearest Isaiah,

Tomorrow is April 13th.  It will officially be two years since you died.

This morning I called my mom and I just cried.  I cried because of all the memories, the memories that sear, I cried because of all the regrets (why didn't I call the doctor sooner? why did I attempt the vbac? why didn't I pray for you more?), I cried because I never got to meet you, I cried because a lot of people simply don't understand why I still feel sad, and that, well, that just really really hurts. 

My mom is the best and she listened as only a mom can.  And more importantly she spoke truth:
~Isaiah, your life was not in vain.  God had a purpose for it.
~God is sovereign.  He, and He alone, holds the keys to life and death.  I did not kill you.  I could not have saved you.  I've got to let the guilt go.
~I will see you again.  You are in Heaven.  Period.
~Yes, there are people who don't understand, people who think I should be done grieving. But, that's ok.  This is my journey and until they are forced to walk a similar path, they really wont be able to understand. And, that is ok.
~Jesus.  Jesus knows suffering.  Jesus knows grief.  And He is near to the broken hearted.  He is near to me.

Oh Isaiah, what do we do over the next two days? How do we walk through them? They will be so tough.
AnnaGrace burst into tears at bed time.  She is still grieving as well.  She wants to have presents for you and a party for you.  But I don't know if that is what is best.  Do I let her have a little party and presents? Do we sing happy birthday? Is that weird? Is it making her sorrow worse? I guess there is no instruction manual for how to grieve.

Tomorrow we are going to do a little picnic.  Some friends and some family will meet us there and we will have a picnic.  It will be a time for us to focus on the blessings that we do have, to force us to get out of the house, to stop (at least for an hour or two) the constant and at times overwhelming memories.  And, like last year, I will include the anchor symbol to help me focus on hope... Hope that is real.  Hope that has been, and is, an anchor for my soul. 

And then, on the 14th (your birthday)... I don't know what we will do.  It is supposed to be rainy.  Maybe we should have a little party for you.  I think your sister is right-- Who cares if it seems weird?

Oh Isaiah--wishing I could hold you. Wishing I could hear your laugh and see your eyes dance.  Wishing I could hold your hand and feel your little fingers intertwined with mine.  Wishing I could count your toes and sing to you and read you a book.  Wishing I could walk upstairs and peek in your room and see you sleeping.

I love you, precious son.  And I really, really miss you.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Dearest Isaiah,
The grief monster is rearing its ugly head again.  Besides the fact that its back, this time, its a bit of a different kind of beast.  I cant put my finger on what's different about it -- a bit lonelier maybe? Everyone else (including Daddy) seems to have moved on and healed.  My heart, though, still just feels sad.  And the fact that they have moved on, but I haven't, makes it all the harder. Along with being lonelier, the grief is more final.  You really are gone.  I really didn't get a chance to meet you and, this side of heaven, I never will.  Your life, the plans that I had, the dreams of how my family would look... they are gone. 
Oh Isaiah.
At almost two years post, I can still hardly bear it when I'm with a bunch a moms and the conversation turns (as it ALWAYS does!) to pregnancy, birth, ttc etc.  It causes my heart to just ache and ache. Seeing a sweet little momma with her sweet little baby bump is so so so difficult. I wonder, would it be easier if I had gotten pregnant again? Having J has been such a blessing, a wonderful gift.  Truly-- he is a ray of sunshine in my life.  But, I didn't give birth to him... is there healing that comes from going through a pregnancy and giving birth to a live baby after enduring a still birth? Would I be better able to endure seeing pregnant friends, better able to join in the pregnancy conversations?  Or would the intense pain that comes with the searing memories still surface?
Oh Isaiah.
Longing for you sweet precious son.