Lucy’s Present

When I lost Lucy I knew the grief would overtake my world and would feel unbearable. It did. One surprising aspect of the grief has been the intense pain caused by pregnant bellies and baby girls. They remind me of what I don’t have. Even pictures of my OWN pregnant belly are impossible to look at. It bothers me that they bother me so much. I realized one day that it wasn’t so much about what I don’t have, but what Lucy doesn’t have. It’s a jealousy for her life. Those other babies get to have life, but Lucy’s was snatched away.

Imagine you take your child to a birthday party. At the birthday party they announce that all the kids will be getting presents, not just the birthday boy. They start handing out presents and everyone gets one except your child. How would you feel? You wouldn’t be mad that kids got presents, just mad that everyone got one except your child. You would probably want that present for your child more than he or she even wanted the present. Now, imagine that the present was life. If every child got to live and yours didn’t. This is how I feel around pregnant people and baby girls.

Of course, it is a good thing to be jealous for your child’s life, to want to protect him and do what’s best for him. That’s how God made us. My mother-bear feelings are real and strong, but my thinking is flawed. When I really stop to think about it, I see that Lucy did get life. She got eternal life in the sweetest home ever and she will know her family one day when we arrive in heaven, one by one. She never has to taste fear, or shame or death. She never has to feel lonely or embarrassed or not good enough. She won’t even experience simple things that make us uncomfortable, like being cold or hungry or irritable. She gets an even BETTER present than all the other kids at the birthday party. I know deep down that Lucy got a better deal than Liam and Asher and all of the babies who lived. When we first found out that Lucy might be in danger we went to the elders at our church and had them pray over me and Lucy. They prayed that she would be kept safe and would live. One of the elders said, “I feel like I should share this with you. I think God is saying that everything will be alright with the baby.” He was right. Everything is alright with the baby. She did get life and she is safe and content in heaven.

This past Easter was so hard for me. I had heard before that people who have lost loved ones feel the most sorrow around holidays. I wasn’t expecting to feel that way on Easter, but I did. I made Easter baskets the night before and afterwards I wept and wept because I realized I would never make an Easter basket for Lucy.

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When we dyed Easter eggs it felt strange to have Liam eggs and Asher eggs and no Lucy eggs. I felt kind of guilty, like we were leaving her out. I made some Lucy eggs and put them next to her big brothers’ eggs.

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Is Lucy really missing out on Easter? What about all the sweet babies that have been lost. Do they miss out on all the holidays we celebrate here on Earth? I think it’s the exact opposite. Imagine what the Easter celebration in heaven looks like! Oh, how exciting it must be to actually celebrate the resurrection WITH Jesus. I’m sure the party our babies have in heaven doesn’t even compare to plastic eggs and Easter bunnies. And imagine the birthday party they have for Jesus every Christmas! I think even a “normal” day in heaven is far more bright and exciting than any earthly holiday we celebrate.

If only we could change our earthly perspective and see the whole truth. I wish we could see our babies that we have lost because if we could see how they are living we would never weep for them again. It’s not the ones in heaven who are suffering, it’s the ones on earth that have a hard path of suffering ahead of them. I think when we cry for our lost babies, God is looking at us, shaking his head with love on his face and he is saying, “Oh sweet children of mine, you are weeping for the wrong ones.”

Luke 18:15-16  Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”

Revelation 21:4  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

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Missing One

Imagine going to Target with your three kids (or however many you have.) You’re shopping and everything is going well, then suddenly one of your children disappears. You feel frantic, you look everywhere for her, but you can’t find her. You wonder what happened to her. Now someone says you have to leave with just your other two. “But you have your two,” they say, “just concentrate on them.” Of course that’s impossible! Where is she? You can’t leave without her. Now imagine leaving the store and leaving your one. Imagine going home and doing the dishes and cooking dinner and having a conversation with someone. It’s almost impossible because all you can think about is the missing one. That’s how I feel every day. A part of me is missing and it feels impossible to function without it. It goes against every fiber of my being to live each day without my child. Every now and then I have a moment where I feel normal again and forget about the missing one. Then it hits me, she’s not here, and the feeling of sheer panic comes and stays. It reminds me of the parable Jesus told of the shepherd who had 100 sheep. One of them went missing. The shepherd left the 99 to go look for the one who was missing.

Matthew 18:12,13  What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.

God is the shepherd, we are the sheep. He wants you with him like I want Lucy with me. If you don’t know him he will long for you until the day that you die. He loves you more than I love Lucy and Liam and Asher and more than you love your own children. He’s waiting for you and longing for you.

Letting Lucy Go

I remember the day I gave my daughter back to God. It wasn’t the day she died. It was February 2nd, the day we learned that she was anemic and needed a blood transfusion. I knew how sick she was, she didn’t kick anymore. I had a dark, nagging feeling that Lucy would die. I wanted to hold on to her for dear life. I wanted to protect her and I so desperately wanted to keep her. I think the natural instinct a mother has to protect her child is the strongest in human nature. I couldn’t imagine my baby dying inside of me, my womb becoming a coffin. I begged God to let me keep her. I screamed, “I want her. I want her. I want her.” Over and over again I asked God to save her, to let me be her Mommy here on earth. I threw a tantrum, down on my knees crying out to God to save her. It would be so easy for him to save her. He listened until I exhausted myself and then he said, “Let me have her. I will take care of her.” Could I give her up to him if that was what he wanted? Why would he let her die? I didn’t understand, but I trusted him. I thought of God letting go of his only son to die a violent death. I thought of Abraham with his miracle baby that he waited 100 years for. He was willing to give him back to God, even willing to slaughter him himself. If they could do it, I could do it. What was the purpose of my life, after all? It is to glorify God and enjoy him. The purpose of my life  is not to keep my daughter or to get what I want. I released my death grip that I (thought I) had on my daughter. I told him “Ok, you can have her. If it means that you will be glorified through her death, then you can have her.” I felt peace because it wasn’t in my hands, it was in his. I knew he would take her, and he did a week later.

Even though I am a blubbering mess here on Earth, I know Lucy is ok in heaven. She is well cared for, she is loved by her creator. I don’t worry about her. Soon after I returned home from the hospital I was so heartbroken for my girl, missing her and worrying about her. I was sobbing for my baby, praying for God to help me. I felt like God said, “I have her with me now. She’s right here. She’s fine. I’ve got her.” It was so good to realize that I can mourn my loss and feel empty for myself, but not for Lucy. She is happy and safe and my protective mother-heart can rest easy.

When my Mom was in the waiting room and I was in labor, waiting for Lucy to come, she asked God to show her a verse for Lucy. He showed her this:

Isaiah 66:12,13     And you shall be nursed, you shall be carried on the hip and bounced on the knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.