Grief and Loss

365 days…

It was a year ago we heard the words that changed our lives forever.

“I’m looking right at his heart and it isn’t moving”

How do you even respond to this… to a doctor sitting on the bottom edge of your bed, your bare round belly exposed to the cold, harsh hospital air, and your husband sitting beside you holding your 18 month old?

How do you look at your belly and know your child is in there, but is already gone?

“Isn’t my body supposed to keep him alive?  I’m nearly 8 months pregnant…How can this happen?”

Worlds collide in this moment.

You are forced to try to wrap your mind around this concept of saying goodbye, when all you were ready to do was say “hello”.

My life will never be the same as it was that morning when I awoke and thought all was well.

That day, innocence was not only lost, but shattered for me.

When your innocence is shattered, it makes a whole lot of room in your heart for those weeds of bitterness, envy, jealousy to start to take root. And when they take hold, they seem impossible to pull in my weakness.

I know, I let them grow.

I will be the first to admit that I have “failed” over and over again on this grief journey. I have let these weeds take root- and I’ve had to learn how to let God teach me how to pull  them. But you know, they creep back, in time, and you have to do the work all over again. And I am not strong enough to do it myself- it is only in His strength that these weeds haven’t consumed what is left of my heart.

Worlds collided and I was left with no chance to save my son. The answer was “no” this time.

That alone is so painful-trying to fathom that somehow this is part of God’s good plan?!?

Yet I have found that He uses the pain He allows us for good.

Philip’s life was far too short for my liking. Trust me- I’d much rather have him bouncing in my lap right now. But the pain and the depth of brokenness that I have experienced after outliving a child…gives you a fire within you to make sure their life counted. To make sure that their legacy continues here on earth, even when their life didn’t. I have to believe its a part of what helps your heart heal again.

I have met women who honor their babies in so many ways- from the “smallest” to the “biggest” – yet always so incredibly impactful to a hurting mother with aching arms.

Saying goodbye to a life that ‘should have’ been longer- inexplicably beyond painful.  But I have been learned that in saying goodbye, we are able to use that ‘goodbye’ to help others. to encourage others. to love others more deeply. to truly empathize with others who we never truly could have if we never had to say goodbye.

Its been an entire year. Most moments of the day I don’t even know how that much time has passed. 365 days…it seems impossible.

But in this year, I have grown so much, in ways I never would have. I have helped people I never could have, and I have walked with boldness and confidence that otherwise would have scared me away. I have had weeds grow and have had to learn to pull them. And somehow…

I have survived.

I’m amazed to say those words- “I have survived”. Because honestly,  I could not have survived this long, come this far…if not for allowing the One who made me, to holds me moment by moment, day by day. The one who guides my words and my footsteps. The One who gives me His bravery when all I want to do is curl into my turtle shell.

A year ago my world as I knew it ended. My heart met heartbreak in a depth of my soul that I never even knew existed. I learned just how deeply my heart is able to love.

A year ago, my world ended. Yet somehow (by God’s steady grace)…today, I can say “I have survived the death of my child” – at least this far.

Its no small thing to be able to say those words. It is truly an accomplishment not for my glory, but God’s.


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