Remembering Our Babies- John David

Every baby is special, every life is important, and every Mom wants to show off her baby. For those of us who lose our babies too soon, we don’t ever get to show them off and we rarely get to say their names or tell people about them. In our country, thousands of babies are still born every year, roughly one every twenty minutes. There are even more miscarriages. Here on my blog, I want to remember all of the lost babies and give their parents an opportunity to show them off. These Mamas are so proud of their babies and are going to share them with us here. Since Lucy died on a Friday, I will share a new baby’s story every Friday. We honor these little lives by acknowledging their presence with us, even if it was a very short time. Do you know how these babies are loved? Do you know that each baby was cherished by their families, even if they left only after a few weeks? Do you know how these babies are missed every single day? I am honored to be able to share these babies with you. Please pray for these families, who have to live every day without their precious children.

JOHN DAVID

John David was originally due on July 26th but sadly, he was born sleeping on March 2nd. He measured 7.5 inches and weighed just 7 ounces. He was tiny and perfect. We named him John David after his two grandfathers. They were so proud even though neither one knew him. His favorite time of day was lunch. Right after I ate lunch he would start moving and kicking like crazy. I looked forward to that everyday. My husband waited with his hands on my belly every night to try to feel his movements but that never happened. I was the only one who ever knew that he was moving around in there. When John David was born, we could see that he had my husbands ears and my lips. I miss him every day.

Thank you to John David’s Mommy, who was brave enough to share such a tender part of her life with us. John David sounds so sweet and perfect, and I look forward to meeting him in heaven one day.

If you would like to share your baby’s story just e-mail me at bethanysk55@yahoo.com  You can share whatever you want about your baby, and you don’t have to include your name if you don’t want to. Also, I think your baby is just as important if you lost him/her at 6 weeks or at 40 weeks. Even if you never knew the sex of your baby, you might have had names picked out, a due date and lots of hopes and dreams for that child. All of that is important and is welcome here.

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Shelter

One of my favorite books as a child was “I am a Bunny” by Ole Risom and illustrated by Richard Scarry.

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I think my favorite part of the book was the bunny’s house, the hollow tree. It seemed so sturdy and safe.

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When I’m in a terrifying place in my life I usually cry out to God for strength and comfort. It always helps for me to close my eyes and get some kind of picture in my mind and focus on that. Right after we found out my pregnancy was high risk, I was overcome with anxiety. I closed my eyes and saw Jesus, a shepherd in a white robe with his hand outstretched. He was strong and safe and His eyes were full of love. He said, “Come with me on this journey. Take my hand, accept this road I have given you to travel. Come on, I’ll be with you every step of the way. You can trust me.” And I would reach out and take His hand and He would scoop me up and carry me in His arms. It reassured me every time and going through that scenario was the only way I was ever able to fall asleep throughout the rest of the pregnancy. Now I am in a place of extreme pain and the most intense sorrow you can imagine. It is terrifying and so, so hard. I truly feel like I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death. I feel like there is a mighty storm raging all around me. For some reason, the image of Nicholas the bunny sleeping in his hollowed out tree comes to my mind now when I think about God. It’s the last page of the book from my childhood and it was always my favorite. His hollow tree looked so cozy and warm. Now, I imagine that God is the tree and I bury myself deep into Him. Outside there is a vicious storm that never stops; lightening, thunder, sheets of rain. He surrounds me with safety and warmth and love while the wind howls around me and the storm of my life rages on. This is how I usually fall asleep now, imagining myself curled up, deep in the shelter of the Almighty and it comforts me.

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Psalm 32:7
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

The Conversation I Just Had With My Four Year Old

As I’m cooking breakfast, my four year old nonchalantly asks, “Hey Mom, when is God going to give us our baby sister back?”

My heart drops. “Oh buddy, baby Lucy isn’t ever coming back.”

His face falls.

“We can ask God to give us another baby sister if you want.”

“No Mommy, He ran out of babies to give us.” His eyes are so sad. I’m surprised because he is usually the one who reassures me that God is going to give us another baby.

“I promise He hasn’t run out of babies. Do you want me to ask Him right now to give us another baby?”

“No, I want you to ask God to let baby Lucy out of heaven so she can come back to us.”

I understand him completely. Our hearts ache for Lucy and another baby will not take her place. “God doesn’t let people come back from heaven. They don’t want to come out because it’s so cool in heaven. It’s so much better than where we are now.”

His face lifts with a little bit of hope.

I continue, “It’s so fun in heaven and safe and everyone is happy.”

“But are there monster trucks and race cars in heaven?”

So much hope and expectation on his little face. How do I explain to a four year old how much better heaven is than monster trucks and race cars? To him, monster trucks and race cars are the best thing he can imagine.

“I think they do have monster trucks and race cars in heaven.”

He sighs with contentment and says “Ok,” and we pray for God to give us a baby who won’t get sick in Mommy’s belly and who can stay with us here on earth. Please continue to pray for healing for all of us and that God will give us a baby that we can keep.

Remembering Our Babies- Lucy Dair

Every baby is special, every life is important, and every Mom wants to show off her baby. For those of us who lose our babies too soon, we don’t ever get to show them off and we rarely get to say their names or tell people about them. I have discovered that most people feel very uncomfortable when I bring Lucy up, but I want to talk about her just like I want to talk about Liam and Asher. Imagine if you NEVER got to talk about your child, you never got to use his/her name. It’s so weird when someone asks how many children I have. I say I have two boys, but in my head I also say, “and I have a daughter too.” Every time I go out in public I feel proud to have my boys and to see the smile on people’s faces when they look at my kids, but I want to say, “Did you know I have a daughter too? Her name is Lucy and she had chubby cheeks and she was probably going to have the most beautiful, long, curly hair.”

In our country, thousands of babies are still born every year, roughly one every twenty minutes. There are even more miscarriages. Here on my blog, I want to remember all of the lost babies and give their parents an opportunity to show them off. These Mamas are so proud of their babies and are going to share them with us here. Since Lucy died on a Friday, I will share a new baby’s story every Friday. Even though I have shared about Lucy already, today I must start with her, the missing piece of my heart. I feel privileged to be able to honor Lucy and her friends. We honor these little lives by acknowledging their presence with us, even if it was a very short time. Do you know how these babies are loved? Do you know that each baby was cherished by their families, even if they left only after a few weeks? Do you know how these babies are missed every single day? I am honored to be able to share these babies with you. Please pray for these families, who have to live every day without their precious children.

LUCY DAIR WEATHERSBY

Today I want to show off my Lucy Dair. She is my third child, my first daughter, her Daddy’s girl. Lucy is Liam and Asher’s baby sister that they were so excited about meeting. She is Bella, Camille, Claire, Lily and Jack’s baby cousin. She has so many Aunties and Uncles that love her. Lucy is the eighth grandchild of Barry and Karen McGlothin and the first granddaughter of Kathy and Rick Weathersby. She was prayed for before she was born and was prayed for by hundreds of people while she was in my womb.

I first felt Lucy kick at 15 weeks, just like I did with her brothers. She kicked a lot and I think she was going to be very energetic like her big brothers. Lucy especially did not like it when I rocked Asher before bed every night because he sat right on top of her and she kicked every time to show that she did not appreciate it.

Lucy’s original due date was July 7th, but she was measuring so big that they moved her due date up to July 2nd. After she was born I couldn’t believe how much she looked like her Daddy. She had his mouth and his nose. She also looked a lot like Asher; she had his chubby cheeks. Her fingers were long like mine and her tiny fingernails were so perfect. She was beautiful and she weighed one pound, which is a lot for a 19 weeker.

I always liked the name Lucy Dair, but I just couldn’t imagine a woman named Lucy, for some reason. It seemed perfect for a little girl or a baby, but I just couldn’t picture my grown daughter with the name Lucy, so we looked for other names. We liked Charlotte, Nora, Elle, Rowan, but I always seemed to come back to Lucy. When we lost her I knew her name was Lucy, because she will always be a baby in my mind. I will never have a grown daughter named Lucy. Lucy means light and she went straight from her Mommy’s womb into the light of her Creator, who loves her perfectly. She will never know the darkness of this world. Her middle name, Dair, was my great-grandmother’s middle name. Bernice Dair Hall Fowler was an amazing woman who influenced my mother so much. She passed down a legacy of love to her daughter, Elwyn, who passed it down to my mother, Karen, who passed it down to me. I wanted Lucy to be the next link in that chain of love, but instead she is with her namesake in heaven, which is also beautiful in a different way.

Mothers share a special bond with their daughters, and I was so excited to have a daughter of my own. I imagined Lucy growing up and becoming my friend like I have become with my Mom. I was also so excited to have a girl so that I could finally exercise my right to NOT put a gigantic bow in her hair. Oh, and her hair! I think it would have been so beautiful. My boys have the most beautiful blonde hair and it kills me to cut it off. I couldn’t wait to grow Lucy’s hair out and braid it and put it in pigtails. I couldn’t wait to dress her up with all those sweet baby girl clothes that I’ve longingly gazed at on the other side of the baby section for years. I had some really cute outfits all ready for her. I couldn’t wait for flowers and hearts and My Little Ponies and pink little shoes. I couldn’t wait to teach her how to be a good Mommy herself one day. Lucy Dair, you will always be my first daughter and I will miss you until the day I die. You are loved and missed by so many people. I am so thankful I got carry you inside me for 19 weeks and I am so honored to be your Mommy.

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If you would like to share your baby’s story just e-mail me at bethanysk55@yahoo.com  You can share whatever you want about your baby, and you don’t have to include your name if you don’t want to. Also, I think your baby is just as important if you lost him/her at 6 weeks or at 40 weeks. Even if you never knew the sex of your baby, you might have had names picked out, a due date and lots of hopes and dreams for that child. All of that is important and is welcome here.

My Number Three

Tonight my husband and I were updating our will. There on the paper it said to list all of our children and my heart broke. That third line was empty and I wanted so badly to fill it with Lucy Dair Weathersby. I love her so much. She is my daughter, my third child, but I had to leave it blank. I will never get to use her beautiful name, to include her on the list with her big brothers.

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I know I will have reminders like this one for the rest of my life and there is a constant feeling of missing someone. Sometimes when we are leaving a playground or we all get in the car I get this sudden feeling of panic and I turn back like I left something and then I realize it’s her. Our Lucy Dair, their baby sissy, my only daughter. She leaves a gaping hole in our family and I am always aware of it. Please pray for me. I am hurting so much tonight. I am absolutely heartbroken and I miss my baby Lucy so much.

What I Got for Mother’s Day

That’s right, it’s negative. I got a negative pregnancy test for Mother’s Day.

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It was our first month trying to conceive since we lost Lucy and I was surprised at how devastated I was. It felt like a slap in the face because I “should” be about 8 months pregnant, but instead I’m crying over a negative pregnancy test. Mother’s Day is hard for me now. Motherhood used to be my most treasured role in life, but now it will always be tainted with death and grief for me because I am a mother without my child. That ache can never fully be soothed, no matter how many living children I have or how many years have passed. A Mommy without her baby is a Mommy with an everlasting wound. Today is my first Mother’s Day without my baby Lucy and my wound is so fresh. It is a searing pain.

Today I am praying for all of the women who have lost their babies, and especially for the women who have lost babies and have no living children. I am also praying for the women struggling with infertility. Did you know that some women NEVER see two pink lines on that test? Do you know how absolutely frustrating it is for those women to try and try and see all the women around them having babies so easily while they long for just one? Through my loss I have been introduced to a totally different side of motherhood. I am now aware of the many, many things I took for granted. I took for granted the fact that I was able to get pregnant so easily. I always just assumed that when I got pregnant it meant I would get a baby. It doesn’t. In my first two pregnancies I bought maternity clothes, picked out names, dreamed about what my babies would look like, decorated their room, bought the baby clothes, complained about how horrible pregnancy was, how hard breastfeeding was, how difficult Liam’s colic was. I had no idea what blessings I was overlooking. I never realized how amazingly blessed I was to even get those two pink lines in the first place. I was SO BLESSED to vomit for four months while my healthy baby grew inside me, SO BLESSED to be able to pick out a baby name and actually get to use it. I was SO BLESSED to make it past the second trimester, to go through labor knowing I would get a live baby at the end of it. When I had trouble breastfeeding I never realized HOW BLESSED I was to actually have a baby to feed with the milk that filled my breasts. When I complained about not getting enough sleep HOW BLESSED I was to have a baby to keep me up at night. I had no idea. Now I do, and I will not take any of it for granted from now on. Thank you, my Lucy girl, for teaching me so many beautiful things about life. HOW BLESSED I am to have my Lucy waiting for me in heaven. How much sweeter is heaven now that Lucy is there?

To all the mothers who have their babies with them, cherish every moment and thank God for your many blessings. To all the mothers who have lost children and to the mothers at heart who are still waiting for their babies, know that I am praying for you today and weeping with you on this Mother’s Day. Our tears will not fall in vain. They are precious to the One who made us.

Psalm 56:8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?

Psalm 126:5,6 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

And now I would like to take a little bit of my own advice and remember the blessings that have been lavished on me. My two blond boys that I prayed so long for. They are so wonderful. Do you know how many prayers I said, begging God to let me be a Mommy one day? To give me a boy and then to give that boy a little brother? I think I remember my first prayer asking God to give me my own baby. I was about 5 or 6. It has been my lifelong dream. He has answered my prayers with my Liam Joshua, my Asher Caleb and my Lucy Dair, who I will know one day. He is a good God who loves to give His children good things. I am so thankful He let me be a Mommy like I asked (begged!) I cherish my children so much.

And can I just brag about my two boys? I’m sorry if this is annoying and I give you full permission to stop reading now, because I am going to brag about my sons. Liam has the most amazing/ridiculous brain. I thought I was well prepared for motherhood after helping my Mom with my little sisters and brother and getting my degree in early childhood and elementary education. Nothing could have prepared me for my Liam. Since he is my first child I have asked my Mom for advice many times regarding Liam and she usually says, “I don’t really know. I’ve never seen a child like him.” And she raised 5 (not so easy to raise) children. He is extremely emotional, in love with danger, totally unpredictable and he would rather eat broccoli than ice cream. He started reading when he was two and a half (without much help from anyone besides PBS kids.) He started reading before he was even potty trained. Once when he was one I gave him some pretzels and noticed he wasn’t eating them, he was biting them and breaking off pieces so they formed letters. Liam says the most wonderful things. Here are some of my favorites-

TWO YEAR OLD LIAM:

“Daddy, Daddy, I found a nose under my eyes! And there’s a back under my neck!”

Me: Liam, I got you some Halloween cookies! Are you excited?

Liam: Umm….how about some fruits and vegetables? Fruit starts with the letter F.

“Mommy, when is it my turn to drive the knife?” (As I’m cutting apples.)

“Daddy, is your name ‘Daddy’ or ‘Babe’?”

He was so obsessed with letters that he imagined the world as a book. When someone was in his way he would say, “Excuse me, that’s my page. Move.”

THREE YEAR OLD LIAM:

“Mommy, squares are called tiles and rectangles are called bricks, but what are circles called?”

“Mommy, I just can’t sleep because I need to poop and I need you to spell a word and I need to think about it.”

“Why isn’t ‘new’ spelled N-O-O since O-O makes the ooh sound?”

“Mommy, where is the S-H in lotion?”

“Hey Dad, what are those pictures called that float in the air while I sleep?” (dreams)

“Mommy, what’s an artichoke? Is it something you have to do at the doctor?”

“Mall is spelled M-A-L-L, but Molly in my class is spelled M-O-L-L-Y, so mall should be spelled M-O-L-L.”

FOUR YEAR OLD LIAM:

Liam: Mommy, come play trains with me.

Me: Not right now, I’m spending time with Jesus.

Liam: Ok, tell Jesus he can come too.

“I just can’t wait to grow up so I can be a taxi driver.”

“Mommy, for dinner can we have that dog food that people eat that looks like a popsicle?” (corn dog)

Me (as Asher is screaming hysterically): Liam, what did you do to your brother?

Liam: Nothing, Mom. I just broke his heart.

Long before I met Josh I dreamed about my son. He was standing on a curb and the sun was hitting his beautiful white blond hair. His hair was so curly and his name was Liam and I begged God to let it be. Here I am now, with my Liam Joshua, who I love with all of my heart. I treasure every day I get with him.

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Liam drinking his first cup of coffee (mostly half and half)

After Liam was born we begged God to give him a brother. I prayed that this baby would be big and chunky and would love to eat and would not have colic. I told God that while He was making a colic-free baby for me, maybe He could just go ahead and make him a happy, easy baby as well. When I was pregnant with Asher we didn’t know what to name him, so we asked God to help us find the perfect name. God helped me find “Asher” which means happy and blessed. We loved it, but kept it a secret until he was born. We didn’t tell anybody, but one day while I was still pregnant my Mom said, “I just have to ask, is his name Asher? God told me his name is going to be Asher.” I couldn’t believe it. Sure enough, Asher weighed three pounds more at birth (even born at the exact same gestation) than his brother- 10 pounds 2 ounces. He is the most happy, easy baby. He lives up to his name. He will give me a kiss whenever I ask, no matter what he is in the middle of. He will stop his monster truck race, his train rescue mission, his task of complete house destruction to come kiss his Mommy. He says the sweetest things like, “Mommy booful hair!” and “Asher love, love, love Mommy.” He smells mostly like a toddler, with just a hint of that sweet baby smell still lingering. I love him so much. I’m so glad I have my boys and that they have each other.

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Sweet baby Asher

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Redeeming Lucy’s Death

Three months ago today I lost my baby Lucy. I miss her so much.

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As I wrote in Lucy’s Story, God spoke very clearly to me while she was dying and we were watching on the monitor. He spoke to me while I was laboring and giving birth to her, when I saw her for the first and last time and later when my milk came in and I had no baby to feed. He told me, “I will redeem it.” It was comforting, but I also thought it was kind of weird at the time and wasn’t even sure exactly what “redeem” meant. I assumed God was telling me that I would have another baby who lived and another birth experience that was good. A few days after we got home from the hospital I looked “redeem” up in the dictionary. This is what it means:

REDEEM:

To buy or pay off; clear by payment

To buy back, to recover by payment or other satisfaction

To fulfill a promise or a pledge

To reinstate in someone’s estimation or good opinion

To restore to favor, to make amends for

To recover from captivity

Synonyms: repurchase, ransom, free, liberate, rescue, save, deliver, pay off

Antonym: Abandon

I thought it was beautiful that God was telling me He would redeem my daughter’s death and my childbirth experience. I thought for sure He must mean another healthy baby. As the days passed and we learned that we do have another chance to have a baby (even thought it’s a small chance) I was more certain that God would redeem it with another baby, BUT I still struggled. I struggled so much the first two months after her death.

Every time I saw a pregnant woman I literally felt like I was going to vomit. It was like reliving Lucy’s death. When I saw a pregnant person my insides felt like they were rotting with emptiness. She should be growing inside me, flourishing, but she’s dead. It would send me into a spiral of sadness for days. Every time I saw a baby girl (and sometimes even an older girl) my heart melted with sorrow. There was a physical pain in my chest. I wondered what Lucy would have looked like at that age. I prayed that God would take away my sadness and help me deal with all the pregnant ladies and baby girls. Honestly, I wanted to die. I asked God at least every hour if he would let me die. How could I live my life without my child? It is the most unnatural feeling. The easiest solution was to never have any more babies, to hate all pregnant people and baby girls forever and to grow more and more bitter as the years went by. I’m embarrassed to say I actually considered it. I think every woman who has suffered a pregnancy loss feels a little bit like I did towards pregnant people. I used to love pregnancy and babies and now they have become the ultimate source of pain. But, they’re everywhere, and I hope to be one of them again some day! How could I live the rest of my life carrying this bitterness? I was restless and depressed because I couldn’t put my finger on the real problem. Was I mad that their babies get to live? Of course not! Was I mad that those women get to have healthy pregnancies? Of course not! I would never wish this kind of hell on any woman. Then why was I so hurt by their bellies and babies? It was a constant reminder of what Lucy “should” be doing and how she “should” be growing.

I thought that maybe I could just stay away from all people until after Lucy’s due date and then maybe pregnant women wouldn’t bother me so much. But, then I realized that it would be even WORSE because they would all have their newborn babies reminding me that I had no newborn baby. My baby was dead. And when their babies turn one, I won’t have a one year old and when their babies go to kindergarten I won’t have a little girl going off to kindergarten. When their children grow up and get married and give them sweet little grandchildren my girl will still be dead. Who cares if God “redeems” it with another baby, it won’t be HER and it won’t fill this hole in our family and in my heart. When I looked ahead at my life all I saw was suffering and so I pleaded with God to let me die. I would cry so hard that I would get a headache and the headache would make me so happy because I thought that maybe I was sick and I would be able to die. At the end of each day, right before bed, I would sigh with relief because I knew I had one more day behind me, one less day I had to live with my pain. I was one day closer to dying, which meant one day closer to heaven, which meant one day closer to HER. When I envisioned arriving in heaven I would run to her and scoop her up and love her and know her (which I still plan on doing with all my heart.) Then, after I met Lucy, I would meet God and Jesus and everybody else.

I knew deep down there was something very wrong with my vision. Why would I want to run to Lucy before I met my God and the very creator of Lucy? It unsettled me. I started to realize that my hope had somehow been transferred to Lucy. Lucy was dead, therefore my hope was dead. The day I realized this was the day I listened to a podcast by Timothy Keller. It’s about peace. I had no peace. I wanted to die and when I heard this sermon on peace it shook me awake. I knew exactly what my problem was. Of course I will be sad for the loss of my daughter and I will miss her until I die, but it’s not ok to live without hope and without peace if you know God.

I realized that even if Lucy had lived, she couldn’t have made me happy.

Not truly happy with the joy that never leaves and the peace that surpasses understanding. I thought my joy left with Lucy but it’s right here. God is my joy and He is the only thing that I will never lose.

It is still hard to see pregnant women and baby girls, but when I see them I just picture Jesus on the cross. I see Him right there in between me and the pregnant lady. He’s hanging on the cross. He’s bloody and he’s suffering. He takes my load upon Himself. I release my bitterness to Him, my pain, my jealousy, my searing loss and He soaks it up like a sponge. I can feel it leaving my body. He actually DID die for all the sin and pain and shame and He already soaked it up for us. All we have to do is trust Him and release it to Him. What’s left is amazing peace. If He already took it away, why should I continue to feel it? To be poisoned by it? I want to love the pregnant ladies and the baby girls and when I release my anguish to Him I can. I love them freely and I pray for their growing babies and I have peace, EVEN without Lucy.

Isaiah 53:5  But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.

So, what could possibly redeem my daughter’s death for me? I know that it will be completely redeemed in heaven when I get to know her for eternity, but what about here on earth?  I would have gladly died instead of her. Her life is worth more to me than my own. Then, what is worth the death of my daughter? Another healthy baby would be wonderful and I’m praying that I will have one some day, but that baby would not redeem the death of Lucy. A healthy pregnancy and good delivery can never redeem my childbirth experience and the suffering I have been through.

The only thing that would redeem Lucy’s death is if at least one person knew Christ because of it.

If only one person is able to spend eternity in heaven with God after hearing Lucy’s story, then her death will be redeemed in my eyes. Jesus already suffered for us and has soaked up the sin of the world like a sponge. All we have to do is believe Him, receive Him and release our sin and sadness to Him. If you have lost a baby like me I truly believe your baby is in heaven with Him. I can almost guarantee that if your baby could tell you one thing it would be to trust Him. If only we could see what they are seeing now. You have the choice to spend eternity with God and with your baby.

After we lost Lucy so many people said they were sorry and asked me if there was ANYTHING they could do to help. This is how you can help God redeem Lucy’s death. This would be the best Mother’s Day gift to me and it would honor Lucy. Listen to this sermon by Timothy Keller. I think it’s about 35 minutes long. [audio http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sites/sermons2.redeemer.com/files/sermons/Peace.mp3 ] Have an open mind. If you’re a Christian, ask yourself if you are truly learning how to be content in any circumstance. Ask yourself if there’s anything that you are putting your hope in more than God. If you’re not a Christian, consider becoming one. It’s the best decision you will ever make. It would redeem Lucy’s death for me. Jesus already did the hard part, all we have to do is accept His free gift of life. Please share this post with other people and ask them to help redeem Lucy’s death as well.