“I feel oddly more alive than I’d ever been in my life. The scars on my battered soul no longer appear to me as random slashes but suddenly transfigured into engravings of unexpected praise and thanksgiving.” Beth Moore wrote this in a devotional I’ve been walking through and as I read it I sensed “This is what the Lord is beginning to do in my heart!”
Though my heart still hurts, the sadness is still there and the tears still come… somewhere in the last couple of weeks the weight of the sorrow is not so heavy. There is a lightness to my spirit, a lightness to the tears.
A sweet reminder in this journey that our great God is the Great Restorer. The Great Redeemer. Everything that is broken, He is in the business of redeeming. everything.
As we had Sophie’s epic (yes it was epic) life celebration service, I spent time writing a letter to my daughter of the ways God has used (and is using) her 42 weeks, 2 days and 10 hours of life in my life. This is the letter I shared at her service.
Today we celebrate your life with family & friends & people I’ve never met but who love you deeply. I wish we were just taking a one month photoshoot of you and quietly celebrating your one month birthday in our home and no one really knows except our family. I wish a lot of things today for you, for us, that are not to be. For this is not our story, and this is not your story. So we celebrate your short, yet powerful little life today. Sophie, you have touched the lives of thousands by never uttering more than a cry yet there are no lives you have changed more than your mom and dad’s.
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.