Lindsey and I (this is her husband Kevin writing) returned home from the hospital on Monday night. Leaving the hospital and returning home without our sweet Sophie with us was incredibly hard. As Lindsey and I slowly climbed the stairs to our apartment (I’m so proud of Lindsey and how well she has been physically recovering), Lindsey looked to our door and said in tears, “There is supposed to be a sign on the door that says, ‘Welcome Home Sophie’.” But there wasn’t. Because Sophie wasn’t with us.
Lindsey is a loss mom of 2 heavenly babies. We will be sharing a series of her posts. Our next post will be from her husband.
When there are no words, pictures tell the story of sweet joy, celebration and love that filled our 10 hours with Sophie as we grew to know and love her even more than we could have ever dreamed possible. Those 10 hours were filled with and surrounded by holy moments, that in the coming days I hope to put into words as we have a chance to process together all that God did that weekend. God truly brought to fruition the passage He led me to months ago as I thought and dreamed of Sophie’s arrival.
As a Loss Parent, how should you answer the question - How many children do you have? On Instagram and Facebook, we usually post a heart question to the loss community once a week. Recently we posted the question “What do you say when someone asks you how many children you have?”. We had a flood of responses.
We can summarize the answers with one common theme. How you answer this depends on who is asking and how you are feeling at that particular point in time.
So many of you gave this advice: You should answer however you feel comfortable (which is not the same every time), with no pressure to disclose everything and if you choose to respond including your heavenly baby/babies you do not have to feel responsible for the other person’s reaction or lack of. Guard your hearts if you choose to share, not everyone understands what your life is like as a loss parent & they may react in a negative or awkward way. It's okay when this happens loss mom, it stings but remember you are not alone in this.
One mom ended her answer with this thought which I think is a fantastic idea for everyone “I do wish people would reframe their question and instead say “tell me about your family” to give you the option of how to approach it 💛”
I pull into the driveway, and I’m undone yet again at seeing my stunning camellia bush. This simple shrub that has weathered many storms, has taught me to hope, even when all seems lost.
Almost 16 years ago, I put in a little garden outside my window. Everything in it was dedicated to our infant son Paul who had died. The camellia bush, a butterfly bush, and countless flowers all graced the yard in honor of our precious son. When we moved, we got permission to take the camellia, which blooms around the time of Paul’s death. We planted it in the perfect place, directly in front of our new home.
Charles Spurgeon once said this about suffering:
It would be a very sharp and trying experience to me to think that I have an affliction which God never sent me, that the bitter cup was never filled by his hand, that my trials were never measured out by him, nor sent to me by his arrangement of their weight and quantity.
Those are some of the most sobering words I’ve ever read. A month ago, I could not have known their depth nor their weight. Now I can.
Here is the story of how we lost a daughter, and gained so much more.
Burying my precious baby was devastating. I had no idea how to cope with his sudden unexpected death. True, Paul had been born with a heart problem, but he had survived the critical surgery at birth and was thriving. He’d come home from the hospital at three weeks old, and after a slow start, began gaining weight.
With his winsome smile, easy disposition, and mop of curly dark hair, he delighted us all. He was healthy and beautiful. Even the physician filling in for Paul’s regular cardiologist was so impressed with his progress that he impulsively eliminated most of his heart medications. Paul didn’t need them anymore. He was fine. At first, I was encouraged by the good news. But two days later, Paul was dead. He was only two months old.
I struggled to accept what had happened. That a doctor’s foolish mistake took my baby’s life. As I watched them lower Paul’s tiny casket, I buried my dreams for him. How could his life glorify God? I felt nothing good could come from his pointless death.
Leaving the Hospital With Empty Arms - Coping With the Pain of Losing a Child (Article by Vaneetha Rendall Risner)
I hope this article written by a loss mom is a comfort to other loss moms and their families.
A friend told me about a young couple who had recently lost their baby girl in delivery. The couple was devastated and, though trusting God, felt horribly alone. My friend, knowing I had lost an infant son, asked what I might write to them and couples like them.
I’ve never met you, but I have prayed for you and cried out to God for you. I don’t know exactly how you feel, for no one else can know that, but I will tell you what I do know about loss, about comfort, and about your child’s life. I pray this letter might minister to you in some small way.
Recently I asked the community of loss of Moms on Instagram this question: What was the most loving or thoughtful thing someone did for you after a loss? I know there have been a number of blog posts written on this but its helpful to hear a variety of answers…. Below you will find some of these answers. There are many practical things you can do such as meals & child care but please also consider how to support the mom on an emotional level. One theme that stood out was allowing the mom to talk/cry, asking them about their heavenly baby. The most hurtful thing is pretending nothing happened and staying away from the mom or not asking her how she is and talking about the baby who died.
This response in particular stood out: “There were many wonderful ways friends and family loved me during this time but the one that always sticks out is my friend who said “I don’t know what to say to you. I love you, I want to be here for you in any and every way. But I have no clue what to say and what not to say. I never want to hurt you so if anything I say or do offends or crosses a boundary please tell me.” Her honesty meant the world to me. Especially when I was getting a lot of cliché saying spat at me.”
Just Show Up
So many people want to know how they can support someone dear to them who has lost a baby. There are so many things you should NOT do such as avoiding that person or avoiding the subject. Be at peace, you do not have to have any answers, you do not have to try to fix anything, you simply need to love them. Loving them can be shown in different ways but one of the most loving things you can do is “just show up”. Show up in their lives, be available to listen, sit with them in the pain, stay close to them and ask about their baby.
And after days, months and even years pass by, remember their heavenly baby with them. There is not a lot you need to say, showing up speaks volumes reminding them they are not alone and they are loved and their baby will never be forgotten. Thank you to all the dear friends in my life who showed up and loved me.
“Wave of Light”: Three things to dwell on during the candlelight hour
Each year on October 15th I have lit my candle at 7pm and sparked a light in my heart. A simple candle on my table that represents the bright light of Grayson’s life. His life, though short, has left an everlasting impact on my life. His life brought joy, sadness, anger, compassion, trust, understanding, peace, and most of all love. This year I want my hour to be full of purpose. I have decided to have three specific things I am hoping to put my mind and heart on for the 60 minutes of candlelight. I hope through focused dwelling during this time will help me to be quicker to think on these things throughout my daily activities.