Being a mother through life and loss.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a mother lately. This year in my Mothering Matters group I’ve been convicted many times of my shortcomings, and encouraged to try some new things in my parenting. This month in particular has been a time of reflection for me on my relationships with my children.

Elise turned 8 this month. That means I’ve been a mom now for 8 years, or slightly longer if you count my pregnancy with her. A lot has happened in those 8 years. Elise is the only one of my children who lived through the short life and loss of our daughter Emma with John and I. Sometimes I think that should be a special sort of bond I have with her, but more often than not, I feel that instead, that time in some way damaged our relationship because of how often I was gone from her. Elise was only 2 1/2 years old when Emma was born. She had turned 3 just weeks before Emma passed away. She was around the age of my boys now, and I can’t imagine being away from them for long periods of time, yet that is what we did. I had to make a choice, even though it wasn’t conscious at the time, to parent Emma instead of Elise. When Emma was at the hospital, so was I. And because John was working, that meant Elise was usually with either his family or mine.

Now, not all of that was bad. I love the fact that Elise built such wonderfully strong relationships with her grandparents and aunts and uncles while I was gone. I love that she is fairly independent and strong because she didn’t have to rely on having me with her at all times. But I can’t help but wonder if by missing that key bonding time I somehow missed something important in her life. Sometimes I think it is all in my head, but there are times that I see that she too feels something is missing in her relationship with me. I don’t think she traces it back to those early years, and perhaps I shouldn’t either. I don’t know. But I have recently come to the realization that instead of focusing on what I cannot change, I need to work now at discovering exactly who this child is and how best to parent her now.

I want to do that with all my kids. Mothering is hard work. I am finding it takes a lot of mental planning, emotional strength, and physical choices to do it in the best way. And even then, there will always be pieces missing, but I think God did that on purpose so we would learn to rely on him, who is the true parent of our children.

Yesterday, I did what I have now done every year since Emma passed away. I fasted my computer time on February 21st. It was a restful relaxing day. I didn’t do as much reflection time as I have in the past, I just merely tried to relax and enjoy my kids. It was a wonderful day and I wish every one of my days could be as relaxed and restful as that one was. Today is Emma’s Heaven Birthday. She has now lived in heaven 5 years (well, I don’t think they keep track of years in heaven, but for us here on earth, we have missed her now for 5 years). It isn’t a sad day, not entirely. It is a joyful day, a day to remember God’s provision, his grace, his love, and his care. God walked alongside us closely as we cared for Emma and also as we mourned her loss. I cannot regret what we went through, because I would not give up the benefits we claim because of it.

As I got the kids ready to leave to go pick out flowers for Emma’s grave today, Will wanted to know more about our plans and the reasons behind them. “Today is Emma’s heaven birthday,” I told him. “It’s the day we celebrate her going to heaven.” “Celebrate?” asked Elise. “How can you celebrate when you are sad?” I tried to explain that we celebrate because Emma is happy in heaven, even though we miss her here. But I know it isn’t always that easy. Even though we knew that we were happy for Emma from the very day we lost her, we also were very very sad. But that overwhelming sadness doesn’t fill me anymore. No, today I can truly celebrate. I’ve thought a lot about a family I know that recently lost their baby and though I don’t wish I could take away their sadness, because I know it is a path they must walk, I do wish I could show them a glimpse of the future. A glimpse of their family and the joy that will fill their hearts if they let it. But it is a long way down the road.

We added our blooms to some beautiful flowers someone had already left at the cemetery (Thank You!) and took our annual picture of all our kids. Thank you all for praying and asking me how I am the last few days. We truly are very happy.

Questions about Emma.


We took an impromptu trip to the cemetery today, just me and the boys. Elise was in dance class. I was trying to help clarify things for Will, who has started to try to piece together what he knows about Emma and find a place in his world for her.

It started in the car after we dropped off Elise. We were headed to Salvation Army to drop off a car load of stuff we were getting rid of. Will, in that way little kids have of trying to start a conversation without giving the correct context first, asks me a question. I’ll admit I didn’t hear all of it because I was not really listening, but it had something to do with a house and a door. Confused, I asked Will again and again that was about all I could get from his question: “What is that house with the door by the gym?” I was about to give up on understanding him at all, but Will is pretty persistent until I give him some answer. Many times I just end up saying “yep” or “uh-huh,” but then I wonder if later he’ll try to hold me to something I never really knew I agreed to. 🙂 So I tried to clarify things a bit.

“Will, there is no house at the gym.”
“No! Not at the gym, you know, that place where Emma is.”
“Oh, you mean the cemetery, where Emma is buried?”
“Yes.”
“Oh, I don’t know what that place is.” (I assume now he is talking about the little square block building in the middle of the cemetery. Does anyone know what that is? I actually have wondered about it since I was a kid too.)

Will, as he normally does when I can’t give an explanation, makes up his own.
“Maybe that is where her died.”
“Emma? No, I know where she died. She died at our house. At our old house. But when you die you go to heaven and get a new body, so you don’t need your old body anymore. So we buried her old body at the cemetery.”
Will: “Oh.”

Then he proceeds to tell me a story about Emma and water and Emma’s mom and then Emma being gone. I tried to explain that Emma never went into any water, and that isn’t how she died. “But Elise told me,” he argued. “But it isn’t true, Will.” “But Elise said . . .”

Me: “Will, sometimes Elise is wrong. I’m her mom and I know more than she does.”
Will: “You is not her mom. She has another mom. You is not her mom.”
Me, after putting a bit of thought into this and then remembering a swimming play-date with a friend: “Wait a minute. Are you talking about your friend Emma, or your sister Emma?”
Will: “My friend.”
Me: “Oh, well your friend Emma did not die. I was talking about your sister Emma. You did not meet her because she was born and she died before you were born. Now she lives in heaven with Jesus.”
Will: “Oh.”

At this point, we have now reached Salvation Army. Will points to a pile of boxes, “Is that where her body is? Can I see it?”
“No, her body is buried, in the ground. You can’t see it, but I can show you where it is.”

So after unloading our junk, we headed back to the cemetery. We still had time before Elise’s class got out and I thought it would be a good outing for us. As we pulled up next to Emma’s gravestone and parked, Will looks around and asks: “Where’s Jesus?”

And so, I started another explanation of heaven and how this is not heaven, it is just where we put Emma’s old body. We read the gravestone together, and then I showed Will exactly where she was buried.

Will: “I want to see the body.”
Me: “Well, you can’t see it, it is under the ground. They dug a big hole and then they put the box with the body in and then they covered it up.”
Will: “But I want to dig it up so I can see it.”
Me: “We can’t do that. You know what would be better is if I show you the pictures of Emma we have at home. You know, you have looked at them with Elise.”
Will: “OK.” He wanders over to another gravestone. “Who is under here?”

And that is how the rest of our excursion went. We wandered from gravestone to gravestone. Each time Will wanted to know who was buried there and when they died (which by that he meant how old they were). He also asked many times how you die. That was a harder question to answer. I’m not sure he understood when I tried to explain that there are many different ways to die. I don’t want him to become fearful. Many of the graves we looked at were very old and many of them were of infants or children around his age or younger. I’m sure it didn’t really help the point I was trying to make that most people live to be quite old and then Jesus decides it is time for them to go to heaven. He didn’t act fearful though, so perhaps he hasn’t made the connection yet between death and himself. I know that came later in Elise’s processing.

It is a little odd to be explaining all these things to him. It’s all reminicient of Elise’s processing of Emma’s death. She was just a little younger than he is now when Emma died. I’m glad he’s asking questions. I don’t always know how to bring these things up, but I do want the boys to feel as if they knew Emma and to realize she is a part of our family even though they never met her. It actually makes it a lot easier for me to tell them about her when they are asking questions themselves. I just didn’t know to even expect that, so now perhaps I will be a little more prepared when Seth reaches that point, probably in a little over a year from now.

Another Emma Post.

I’m not sure what I want to post, but I know that lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Emma Anne. Since this blog started with the story of Emma, then continued with the desire to honestly share the emotions of grief, and now exists to show what it is like to be a mom in all sorts of circumstances, I feel that something needs to be said. Somehow I need to share what it is like to be 5 years out from this experience. Perhaps someone will read it that is also 5 years out from grief and wondering if what they are feeling is normal. Or perhaps someone has a friend who is 5 years out and they are wondering how they are doing and what they should do for them. So here I sit, trying to figure out what I want to say. And if I am completely honest, all those things I listed were mainly to justify this post, but are not the real reason to write it. The real reason is that I want to, that I feel its been too long since I’ve been able to share about Emma.

And so, that’s the first thing I feel right now. I feel that the opportunities to share about the life and death of my second daughter are now few and far between. True, it is partly due to me. I used to make a point of answering everyone who asked how many children I had to include Emma in that count. Now, sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I’m not as quick to bring her up unless I’m talking to someone who already knows the story. I do wear her ring all the time and just because I don’t bring her up doesn’t mean that I don’t think of her often. Just a few days ago Will asked me about my rings and why I wore them. He, of course, wanted to borrow them. I gladly shared with him why I wear the one ring (to show that I am married to Daddy and have promised to be married to him my whole life) and the other (to remind me of his sister Emma who lives in heaven). But the ring is more for me than for those who see it. Everyone who sees an engagement/wedding ring, knows what it is for. The other one they would probably just assume is my favorite ring. Maybe someday I’ll buy the matching rings for each of my kids and wear all 4. Then perhaps it will be more obvious that I’m making the point that I’m missing one.

Missing one. That’s another thing I feel. I don’t feel like we are incomplete without Emma here, but I do feel like she is part of that completeness. She just doesn’t fill our family in the same way each of our other children do. It’s funny that today when I was already processing Emma memories, Elise brought her up. She was asking one of those questions kids like to ask: “Mom, when I am 12 how old will Will be? How old will Seth be?” And then, how old will Emma be? So we talked about how she is 2 1/2 years older than Emma, Emma is 2 years older than Will and Will is 1 1/2 years older than Seth. And Elise looked sad and said, “Why did God just have to take her away before I was even able to play with her?” And I gave her the best reason I knew, but now as I think about it with tears in my eyes, I want to ask the same question. I know that Emma is happier in heaven. That her body is complete and whole, that she doesn’t suffer anymore. But I also know that God could have healed her here, on earth and let her live a normal life with us. And he chose not to. And strangely enough, I’m OK with it. Because God has given me peace and shown me enough of His amazing plan in regards to Emma’s life that I trust Him.

Yet, there is a deep sadness in my soul. One that will not go away until that day when I walk into heaven and see my little girl (probably all grown up) with wavy brown hair and beautiful big blue eyes, and I catch her in my arms. And then, then, I think that sadness will be gone. But until that time, there will still be many things that bring it back. Every one of her birthdays, every anniversary of her death, every time I go to a wedding and realize I’ll never go to hers, every time I watch a slide show of someone’s childhood and growing up and realize how much we have missed with her, every time that some little random and not always logical thing touches my heart in such a way that I remember. And I do remember. Sometimes it is hard to remember, especially when the thing I am reprocessing is the day she died. But even then I enjoy the memories, because they are all I have of her.

But they are not all of who she is. I can’t just remember her as who she WAS. Because Emma still IS. I know she is alive, full of health and joy and personality, in heaven. And so I also look forward to when I will really get to know her as she is now, exactly as God created her to be.

There is still so much I could write. Some of the things I am still processing, I’ll be honest, I am not yet prepared to share here. I used to share some of them in my support group, but unfortunately that group has since shut down and I miss it more than I thought I would. So you can pray for those of us that went regularly to that group, that we would find other outlets to process the things that still need to be processed. But the main thing that I want to say, is that there is still joy. It has been 5 years, and there is still pain, grief, things yet to process, and deep, deep sorrow. But, because of the powerful influence of Christ in my life, there is joy. And that is why I have renamed my blog “And then there was Joy.” As a reminder of the fact, that no matter the circumstances, when we walk beside the Father, he brings great, overwhelming, unexplainable joy.

Psalm 30:5: “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Moving.

I am trying to come to terms with moving from this house we have lived at now for almost 9 years. Despite the fact that we’ve been trying to sell it for several of those years, it still doesn’t seem real that I will be leaving here. You see, after years of trying to sell our house, we finally have an offer. We don’t know yet if everything will go through as planned, but we are moving forward as if it will. Because we are a little particular about what type of rental we want, we went ahead and started the process to sign up for one, even though we don’t really need to move out until May. As it stands right now, we will be moving out April 17th.

We are moving down the street, well quite a way down the street, to the other end of town. We have looked at many rentals and after each one we would ask Elise if she liked it and she would say “yes.” We’d ask her which was her favorite and for quite some time it was whichever one we had looked at most recently. Her reasons for liking a house were sometimes as simple as “there are stars on the bedroom ceiling,” or “I like the closet that you can run through.” At least we know she isn’t picky. Will on the other hand, would always answer “no” when asked whether or not he liked a house. Though he has been quite excited about looking at them. Now whenever I show him a picture of a house, he says “House, in?” His own version of Elise’s question: “Do we get to go in this one?” (Sometimes we just drive by first to check it out.) I wonder how hard his transition will be to actually moving out of our house and “in”to another one. Seth is too young to really be too strongly affected I think, and Elise is excited about something new. But Will, he is just at that age where I wonder if he will be homesick, if he will wonder when we will be going back “home.”

There are a lot of benefits of moving. We have started to sort through and reduce the number of toys, clothes, kitchen items, books, etc. We are taking the opportunity to sell some of our furniture and invest in some pieces that will fit us better. We get to experience the adventure of change.

But there are some things I don’t like about moving. I really like this house. It has served us well, and even though I have failed at my attempts to keep it clean because it is so big, most of the spaces are well-used. I will always remember this house as the house where we began our parenting adventure. From Elise to Seth, each child has been welcomed into this home. Emma, especially, who breathed her first breath in this house, and 7 months later breathed her last just one room away from where she was born. Saying good-bye to this house doesn’t mean I’ll lose those memories, but in some way, it feels like I am having to let something go.

I know I tend to hold too tightly to earthly things sometimes. As we have started to pack and sort to get ready to move out, I pulled out all the bins of baby clothes I had kept. Sorting through box after box of clothes I forced myself to let go of most of the items. Why should I pack them away in a box, when someone else could be wearing them? I did keep many of the ones I had made, and the ones that were Emma’s that she never wore, and others that were extra-special. These will be passed down to my grandchildren someday. But letting go of the rest of the clothes is hard, as letting go doesn’t come naturally to me. I know it is just the start, though, a start down the path of letting go. Perhaps when my hands cling less tightly to the things that surround me, they will cling more tightly to my God.

4 Years in Heaven.

The day began at 5:30, a little earlier than I had planned on rising to begin a day of reflection. Will came to my bedside seeming a bit disoriented. Finally he decided that a drink of water was what he really wanted, and I sent him back to bed. It wasn’t until after 7, when I did get up to find him looking still just as miserable, that I thought to check his temperature. 102.9! I had planned on dropping the kids off at 9 at a friend’s house so that I could have some alone time to reflect and pray on this day that marked Emma’s 4th anniversary in heaven. I guess I would have at least one little one with me to keep me company.

After normal morning routines, I dropped Elise and Seth off at nine and headed home hoping for some time alone with God. But of course I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, so I started with that, and then since Will was happily watching a movie I decided to try to start with quieting my mind, since I wasn’t feeling particularly reflective. I sat still for awhile, but try as I might I found it impossible to completely empty my head of thoughts. And they weren’t deep thoughts either, just the normal shallow ones that fill my waking moments. Once I reached the realization that the only way I was going to shut down my mind was to fall asleep, which my body was threatening to do at that point, I gave up. I got up and did a couple of the chores that had been on my mental to do list. At least I could get those out of my head.

After a short burst of housework, I pulled out Emma’s photo album deciding I should have some time alone looking through it before sitting down with the kids later in the day. At that very moment, Will decided he was done watching his video and he came to join me. So we sat together, me remembering, he discovering for the first time. At first he just went through naming each face he recognized. Elise, Mom, Dad, Nana, Pop, even Emma when prompted. But then we reached the page describing Emma’s open heart surgery and his sensitive eyes caught sight of the photos of Emma after surgery during recovery. Tubes, wires, and blood covered her tiny little body and I could see the worry in his eyes. I tried to encourage him by showing the pictures from just a few days later when she looked so much better, but he kept coming back to those pictures. When Dad walked in to see how we were doing, Will had to turn the pages back once again to make sure Dad saw them too. This is going to be hard, I am realizing. I want my boys to know the story of Emma’s short life, but until now I guess I didn’t really see how much pain and hardship I would have to explain that went along with it. I’ve taken it for granted with Elise, who grew up knowing these things. She lived through them with us, albeit somewhat at a distance. But she’s seen the pictures over and over, and has developed for herself a somewhat simplified explanation for the troubling parts of the story. Though even Elise has come up with some harder questions this year as her mind tries to piece together the parts of the story she doesn’t know. She was not here the day Emma died, and up to this point, she has accepted our simple explanation that Emma stopped breathing and went to heaven. I remember when she finally put two and two together and realized this meant Emma “died,” since we hadn’t used that word. But just a few weeks ago Elise asked me how I knew that Emma died. Was she just gone that morning? What did I find when I woke the morning of her death? I hadn’t realized that even that simple thing was still bothering her little mind. So I explained how we don’t need our bodies anymore in heaven because we get new ones, and so that is what I found that morning. Emma was gone, but her body was still there. Later I went further, thinking maybe she was ready for some more of the details, explaining how we called 911 and I tried to breathe for her to save her life, but that it didn’t work because she was already gone.

I had to leave off Will’s and my exploration of the photo album as I needed to go get the kids to drop them off at their next play-date. I had some urgent errands to run as well, so I was gone probably about half an hour. When I returned, Will was sound asleep on the couch. John said he’d wandered in there by himself and fell asleep. I left him there and he ended up sleeping about 3 hours straight. With the house now quiet again, I went to my bedroom and did some journaling and Bible reading, realizing that reflection is not forced. The most reflection I got out of that time was more on simple changes I want to make in my daily life and a renewed desire to spend more time in Bible study and prayer. Perhaps that is all God wanted to say to me on that day. I’ve had more reflection pertaining specifically to Emma today as I have planned out this blog post than I did yesterday, but I started the day wanting to be open to what God had for me, and I am content in that.

I had lunch, went to pick up Elise and Seth, and then had a little nap. Then Elise and I spent some one on one time together as we went grocery shopping. We finished out our Wal-Mart excursion with picking out flowers for the cemetery. Elise chose the brightest bouquet she could find because she said: “It is almost Spring and these flowers look like Spring flowers.” She was very positive that Emma would like them. Again she asked me the question she has asked me many times: “Does Emma come and get them? Does she get to see them?” “No,” I answered, then paused. “Well, maybe God lets her see them, I don’t know.” Truth be told, I guess we put flowers on the grave more for our own comfort than for anything else. Elise then asked why some of the flowers on the graves never get old, and we had a discussion on fake vs real flowers. I told her I preferred putting real flowers on the grave, and she decided that must be so we could change them.

We went home and everyone got dressed for the cold so we could all go to the cemetery. On the way Elise voiced something I don’t hear her say often. “I wish Emma didn’t go to heaven. Because if she were here now, I would get to play with her.” I sympathized and tried to comfort her as I always do, saying how when we go to heaven, we’ll get plenty of time to play, but Elise is worried that she and Emma will be all grown up by then and not really interested in playing. “Well,” I offered, “I think that heaven will be a lot of fun for everyone, no matter how old they are.” We placed the flowers in the vase at the grave, and I praised Elise for making such a great choice. The bright colors shown bright in the brownness of the winter cemetery. We got some pictures and then gathered close for a quick prayer before bundling back in the car. You can tell by the picture we got that Will was pretty miserable as fevers and cold biting winds don’t mix well. We decided to all go out to eat as a family, which was a lot of fun.

After we got back and Seth went to bed, I sat on the couch with Elise and Will and we looked at Emma’s book. I read portions of it, but mostly we just looked at pictures. I tried to remind Elise of little things she did during that time. We pulled out the card she had made for Emma and sent to the hospital so she could read it. I took time to read several of the most important things to them, though I know much of it still goes over their heads. The book ended in tears for me and I think I noticed a few in Elise’s eyes as well. She announced loudly her dislike of listening to me cry and covered her ears, which kind of ruined the moment, but oh well. I don’t know how much Will understood from our day, but I am sort of glad that he got to stay home with me as this is the first year I would expect him to start to piece any of it together.

Today at dance I overheard Elise mentioning to one of her friends about her sister in heaven. To me that is the real sign of the day being a success. It was meant as a reminder, a reminder to me to teach my children of the grace of God as it was shown through our little Emma, a reminder for the children to remember their sister and to speak proudly of her to others, and a reminder as well for me to remember that Emma is not all of who I am, but just one page in this adventure God has called us to.

Made in God’s image.

Lately, I’ve been dealing with stress, some anxiety, and more emotions.  Perhaps it is just that added stress from The Baby Habit is putting me in a more fragile state, which then leads to feeling more emotions and anxiety.  Whatever it is, this 4th year since Emma’s death has been in many ways harder than the last two.  I cry easier (and in case you hadn’t noticed since Emma’s death that is one thing that had been a marked change in me — I don’t cry as easily).  But for some reason the tears are closer to the surface these last few months.  I go to support group and actually cry, which is good, but definitely not as comfortable.  I have often found myself fighting anxiety (not nearly as pronounced as the postpartum anxiety I have had in the past, but still there).  I have to really be careful what I watch before going to bed, and often feel that I am trying hard to corral my thoughts to “safe” ones.  Now, I know writing it all out like this will make it seem worse than it is, I don’t deal with all this constantly, it just comes and goes.

The last couple of nights I have been struggling with keeping my thoughts on track and feeling overwhelmed with the anxiety that was threatening to sneak in.  It is usually only at night, after dark, that I deal with the anxiety.  It is when the distractions of the day cease, and I am left only with my thoughts.  Realizing that didn’t help the other night as I begin to wonder if that meant that that weak, anxious person was the real me.  When you take away all that makes up my life, is that all that I am left with?  Anxiety, worry, fear, and sin?  If so, then I really didn’t like myself at all.

Then last night I was working through our new Mothering Matters book study.  The book starts with discovering our identity.  Last night I read the Creation story and was asked to answer several questions concerning how that story related to my identity.  We were not asked to find our identity in the things and relationships that make up or life, but to go beyond that.  It is clear who we are in the first part of the Bible.  We are made in God’s image.  The question was:  “What does being made in God’s image mean for your identity?”  And suddenly it was very clear.  It gives me hope.  If that is the true “me,” than all that other stuff, the weaknesses and sins are not really “me.”  Those are there because of my sin nature, but it is not who I am.  God created me in His image.  He can and will take me beyond my sin and weaknesses, beyond the distractions of life, beyond even the relationships that make up my life, all the way to Him.  To know that I was made in His image encourages me to turn to God in those moments of anxiety, to ignore the lies of Satan that pull me down, and reach up to take God’s hand.  He will pull me out and continue to work in my life to make me more like Him, more like the thing He originally created me to be.

Emma’s 4th birthday.

I am sitting here surrounded by my children (all but one) and trying to think how to mark this day — what would have been Emma’s 4th birthday.  I’ve realized lately that a lot of the anxiety I was dealing with (and that thankfully is leaving now) might have to do with a new stage of grief that is different than where I’ve been before.  I don’t know if I can explain it or not.  It is very different and full of complicated emotions.

To try to put it simply, I am having to accept that I lost a child, while still trying not to worry about losing any of my other children.  It seems that the more children you have, the more you worry.  I am so thankful for my children’s health and really hope that God does not ask us to walk a path of hardship anything like that we did with Emma.  But that also makes it harder to remember Emma and what we went through without pain.

I ran out of time to finish this post, so it is now July 15th (John and my 9th wedding anniversary by the way!) and I can share how I did remember Emma yesterday.  I went to the Farmer’s Market, where a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers and gladiolas caught my eye.  I purchased the bouquet and set it up on the desk at the store along with a small sign saying “in memory of Emma Anne.”  Now, not many people came by to see it, but I still enjoyed having it there.  I wanted to take it to the cemetery later that day, but it was too late to do that by the time we had supper.  Perhaps we can make time today.

Anyway, give your kids that are within reach an extra big hug today.

3 Years Ago.

It was three years ago today that we welcomed Emma Anne into our lives. Yesterday I remembered my labor, long and hard, and the way that God came alongside me to give me strength. Emma’s labor has been my longest so far, but also the most spiritual. It was then that God began to make clear to me how much he was there for us, without us really realizing how much we would need it.

I remember her birth, the lifeless body that was nevertheless still filled with life. I remember how tiny she seemed, that her hair was wavy, and that she was more worn out than I was from the labor. I remember my joy at being able to hold her in my arms. It would be later that there would be worry and frustration over her health, but for that day her life seemed full of hope and promise just like any little baby.

When I try to imagine her here with us now I have a very fuzzy picture. You see, I don’t know what she would have been like, whether she would have learned to walk, to talk, to eat. I don’t know how our family would be with the busyness of caring for her needs above all else. But when I imagine her happy and healthy and playing in heaven, then I feel like the picture clears. That was her future all along. That is where she belongs.

“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” Proverbs 14:10

“Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief.” Proverbs 14:13

“Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b

“You have turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent, O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.” Psalm 30:11-12

MEND support group.

Hi all. As most of you know I attend a support group once a month that deals with miscarriage, infant loss, and stillbirth. This group is called MEND (Mothers Enduring Neonatal Death). It is a great Christian support group and I have enjoyed being a part of it. This month, 40/29 news is doing a story on our group. We were recorded during a meeting this month and some interviews were done as well. If you would like to learn more about this group, or would like to just see me on TV (wink), you can catch the program on Sunday, April 27 at 10 pm.