Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Remembering Our Babies-October 15th

I came across this organization the other day "Remembering Our Babies: The official site of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day," and it really made me think about where we have been and how far we have come. After reading about this organization, it really made me think about our grief journey and I thought it was time to write this post.

Many people have asked me to write a post about how I grieved, how I moved on, how I survived after losing Isaiah. It has taken me a while to have the courage to sit down and actually write this post, but I feel that I am in a good place to be able to share this with all of you. I, in no way shape or form, feel like I have all of the answers, but I am honestly proud of how we handled our loss. And I am proud of who I am today because of our loss.

So. What is it like to live life after losing a child?

It certainly depends on the day.

The truth is, I embraced full heartedly that God was in control. Honestly, I don't think we knew how to survive without believing that God was in control. It comes down to a daily decision that I make to live my life gratefully.

It's life after loss, and it's not going anywhere. I have learned to go easier on myself and back down off my expectations on what I should or shouldn't be feeling because if I don't I am setting myself up for failure.

I have learned that when I am sad, I need to take time to be sad. Pushing feelings and emotions to the back of my mind doesn't help me. It hurts me. Because they always seem to creep back up when you least expect it. I am a natural procrastinator and I have been known to just push things to the back of my mind if I don't want to deal with them right then. Dealing with things as they come has been part of my healing. And I think it has made me a more healthy person emotionally because of that.

I clung to certain scriptures during this time. Searching for answers.

"As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things."

-Ecclesiastes 11:5

We don't know why Isaiah was sick. We don't know why we were chosen to have to go through this. But like a lot of life's problems, I believe you have to "lean into" the problems instead of back away. We chose to lean into God, instead of back away from him. It's a choice.

But how do you even begin to heal after losing a child?

I began to realize that the pain was going to be a part of my new life. Its funny and humbling because the world has a way of going on all around you even when you are in the depths of sorrow. I accepted that this was my life. Acceptance has been key.

You also have to search for answers, KNOWING that you probably won't find the answers you are looking for.

"But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."

-John 11:22

We prayed and prayed for God to heal Isaiah. We prayed for answers. He did just that. He took away every bit of pain our baby was in. Of course, we did not want him to leave us, but God answered our prayer to heal our child. This took lots of praying and introspect after Isaiah died before we come to this realization and I firmly believe in this scripture. He WILL answer your prayers, it may not be in the way you want it to be done, but your prayers will always be answered.

I had so many questions for God...among the ones I found most important were, Will you tell him all about me and what I would have been for him? Will you tell him how amazing his daddy is? How wonderfully awesome his big brother is? I had to trust that God is keeping Isaiah safe and is showing him love like no other. I know he is.

People ask me all of the time how is it that I am not angry at the Lord. My honest answer is that I have been angry, disappointed and crushed in spirit. What I have not been, and what I refuse to be is disbelieving. The Lord tells me that I will see my child again, and while He stands beside me, He weeps. He cries because I can't see what He can.

I didn't want to hear the big philosophical explanations. I didn't want to hear people try to tell me that it was for the best, because, quite frankly, I didn't feel that way. I know people want to help, but there is a safe place with the Lord where we don't have to have all of the answers. I don't believe that "God needed another angel," and I honestly grew weary of hearing people try to explain it all away because they couldn't stand to hear these three words. I Don't Know.

I know it is so hard to know what to say to someone who has experienced a loss. You want to say the right thing. People are uncomfortable swimming in someone else's grief. You want to fix the situation. It's human nature. It has meant so much to me when someone just says they are sorry and don't try to explain it all away. Sometimes, the right thing to say is to say nothing at all. It's just to be there, available, willing, authentic and silent.

As a Christian, I know that I am called to glorify the Lord no matter the circumstances, but that doesn't mean it is going to make sense. He gives and He takes away. Have I had moments of genuine questioning where I blamed myself and anyone else I could? YES. But when those moments come, and they will, we must make a choice about who we will be from this day forward.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen; but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

-2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

I still have good days and bad days. My bad days aren't so bad anymore, and I am so thankful for that. One day I start to feel like myself again, and even that can make me feel guilty sometimes (don't you just love that momma guilt!). I feel like I don't have a right to be normal.

The truth is this. I will permanently bear the mark of a woman who has lost their child. Many of us are walking all around-in the grocery store, at the playground, in the carpool line, in the office next to yours. We walk without necessarily recognizing each other, side by side and a million miles apart. If you are one of these women, I want you to know that as I write these words, I am praying for you. I am mourning what you have lost in life. I am praying that God will fill you as only He can, and that in time, you (and I!) will be with our daughters and sons again.

I believe this scripture fits best in what is going on in our lives at this very moment.

"I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy."

-John 16:20

And what do you know....that is exactly what has happened to us. We are filled with joy to be expecting another baby. Our grief is still there, but in a different context. We get to have another baby. And what a privilege it is to know that God is giving us another baby. And I like to think that Isaiah is smiling down and excited to be a big brother as well.

So, to wrap this up I want to leave you all with this. I took it from my most favorite book, "I Will Carry You," By Angie Smith. No other book in my life has touched me like this one has.

"I believe that all babies who pass away (including those who do not survive outside the womb) are in heaven with our Lord. I do not believe they vanish into the ground, or that they ever endure any suffering or pain when they leave us. I cling to the fact that Audrey is in her eternal home, enjoying the favor of her Savior, completely at peace with Him as her Father. I believe it, but I can't honestly say that it always comforts me the way I wish it would. I want her to be here with me and on many nights that truth has failed to fill the void. We aren't going to feel whole in this life, and we will long for something we don't have. To love Him in spite of our pain is a gift He freely gives to those who will accept it."

Isn't that amazing? I have found such solace in reading Angie's words about the loss of her daughter. It is true though. Isaiah is in the best place. He is in Heaven!

Is it hard to believe that my baby is in heaven? Yes. I can't see it, so I am trusting that my faith is real. I do believe it, but no I don't think its easy when you have empty arms and your baby in an unreachable place. That's why they call it faith, I guess.

So...on October 15th at 7 p.m. my household will be lighting a candle in remembrance of our sweet Isaiah. And together, as a family, we will remember the good times and embrace what is to come.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful beautiful words. You are an amazing person...and I know you give so many mothers so much comfort but anyone who has lost anyone can really take so much from your words...thank you SO much for them.
-Haley Gremillion

Anonymous said...

What beautiful and honest words. And, yes, as with all the other "weird" moments I've had where YOU are concerned, I decided to check your blog at 7 p.m. on October 15th. Chills.

Prayers and blessings!


sarah @ life {sweet} life said...

Such a beautiful have such a way with words and I know it speaks to so many! I thought of you on Saturday when I was praying for specific blogger friends who have experienced a loss. I pray for you often and always enjoy when you share your heart. I don't think I've had the chance to do so yet, so I just wanted to say congrats on your pregnancy also. Praying also for your sweet baby and you during your pregnancy!

Carrie said...

Thank you so much for saying that. It's so helpful to those of us who haven't lost a child but have loved ones who have. Thank you for sharing. Praying for your family.