My Story: Loss & Hope

My story is a difficult one but it’s full of hope.  If you are have ever lost a child I pray that it encourages you:

I wanted to hold him so desperately. I remember thinking how perfect he was as the nurse lifted him up to show him to me.  Tiny but perfect.  He looked right at me and I felt that instant kind of love that you feel when you bond with your new baby.  He was pink, and perfect and adorable.  I knew he was my miracle.  We named him Nathan.

As the doctors spoke about the fight he had ahead of him I whispered to my little man to be strong.  I told him I loved him and that God had a great purpose for his life.

Even as frail as his little body was, Nathan showed me how precious I was to him as his vitals would stabilize every time I came near him and would touch him.  It melted my heart as his mother to know that just my voice and my touch brought him so much comfort.

As the day went on the fight became harder for him.  His 25 week old lungs were clearly underdeveloped and not doing well on this side of the womb.  I prayed and begged and pleaded with God to heal him.  I knew that God held him in the palm of His hand and could say the word and he would be well.  Then came a moment when I was out of prayers.  I didn’t know what to pray anymore.  I felt desperate.  

I realized then that I had instructed my little boy to fight and he was.  He was fighting and fighting.  I didn’t want to, but I realized that I needed to let him know that, just as it was important to fight, it was also okay to let go.  I knew that fighting too hard and too long wasn’t helping.  So I told him it was okay.  I told him that if he needed to let go that it was okay.  I knew that my arms would be empty but that my little one would run straight into arms that were far more loving than my own.

I finally got to hold him.  He was so tiny and helpless and there was nothing I could do for him.  It was strangely painful and peaceful at the same time.  I told him goodbye and knew that he was gone.

 My dreams for him were gone with him.

I sat holding him with his tiny little head pressed up to my cheek.  I’ll never forget what that felt like. I took a breath as if to drink him in and savor the moment of holding him so close.  I had prayed for this little boy for 2 years.  He was my first son.  He was gone.

It seemed like a cruel joke to have to leave the labor and delivery ward with empty arms.  I bit my lip to keep from crying as the nurse wheeled me out to the car.  This wasn’t how it was supposed to be!  Joy was supposed to be what you felt when leaving this place.

The car ride home was agonizing. Loneliness and longing for my child seemed to grow with every mile that we drove.  It was starting to occur to me that I would never see him again and I would somehow have to live with that.

Later that night, as I had a moment alone, I began to feel it… I slid to the floor as if my knees had just buckled under me.  I felt as if someone had just punched me in the gut and placed a huge boulder on my shoulders at the same time.  The pain was intense and I couldn’t imagine how anyone could survive it.  I felt as though all the light had left the room and only darkness remained.  Utter despair is the only way I know how to describe it.  It was dark. It was heavy. It was ugly.

 In that moment emptiness, loneliness, anger, rage, bitterness, and hate all begged to become my friend.  They promised to shield me from the pain but somehow I knew it wouldn’t work.  Somehow, even in the darkness, I knew…

 I sat there in my pain and my misery crying out in utter despair.  It is in that moment that I realized something so beautiful.  I hurt so badly but felt a strange peace, a strong presence.  I knew I wasn’t alone.  Even in the darkness, in the pit of my pain, my great God sat with me and held me.  He didn’t try to tell me to be strong or just to trust him or pray better or anything like that. 

He just sat with me.

He was grieving with me.

He was there and he cared.  He cared about my loss and my pain.  He cared about my healing too but in the moment he knew that what I needed was just who he was, loving me and holding me.

I’ll never ever forget that night.  It solidified in me that there is nothing I can go through that he does not go through with me.  He does not leave us or forsake us even in our doubts and fears. Even in our worst moments.  I can go through something so very difficult and I can make it through.  Not because I have any strength at all to make it, but because He is on my side and is so close to me when I am broken hearted.

I had a long journey to walk towards healing but I knew from that moment on that I would make it as I leaned heavy into loving arms.  The missing stays but the pain lessens and there is healing for a broken heart. These things I pray for you too.

Have you lost a child? Did you sense God’s presence with you grieving over your loss?  If you did not can I ever so gently sit next to you for a second and lovingly nudge you to ask Him, this personal God, to show you how near He was to you in your pain?  Sometimes we aren’t aware of it or we miss it but the truth is He was there as He is always with us. Ask Him to speak to your heart and show you where He was for you in your situation.  Let it heal your heart as you realize that He is for you and loves you so dearly. I’m praying for you.

 In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.

Isaiah 63:9