As many of you may know, Thursday, October 15th, was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness/Remembrance Day. It is a day for all to recognize and remember those families who have suffered and grieved through pregnancy or infant loss.
It truly is such a heart-wrenching topic. And one, similar to infertility (often times directly related), that isn’t talked about openly…yet, off the top of my head, I do not have enough fingers to count the families I know who have experienced such loss.
On Thursday evening, I had the privilege of participating in and volunteering for The Mother’s Nest’s first annual No Small Loss event. The event was truly beautiful…it was tasteful and respectful considering the theme. A theme or topic that isn’t very often touched in a community type setting. Now, as an insider, having once been an outsider, I understand why. Many who have not suffered a loss like this do not know how to handle it…what to say…how to comfort. I know I didn’t.
But Thursday night was a night for anyone to come…to remember and grieve their loss(es)…to honor the short lives of their little one(s). Each family could take a bag, write a note to their loved one(s)…pray, cry, grieve, laugh…whatever they needed to do…and light a candle for them. At the end of the night, each family placed their bag in front of the fireplace.
I sat closely by the fireplace…watching as each person placed their bag. I kept counting the bags…I took one bag for all 3 of our littles…I imagined others did the same. I was overwhelmed by the number, overwhelmed with grief and sadness for these families. Hearing sobs and sniffles coming from all areas of the venue. Watching couples grasping hands…watching siblings color all over their bags and drawing “I LOVE YOU” in big bubble letters…seeing moms embrace their little ones there with them, appreciating their presence and life so much in that moment.
It was truly beautiful.
Every bit of it.
And while I was overcome by sadness and grief, in the same moments I felt God’s presence…I felt His comfort, His peace…
He purposefully designed each one of these babies…He picked this as their path…
“My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139: 15-16)
He numbered their days, knowing their life would be taken from our world quickly, but that they would join Him forevermore.
I imagined each one of these babies/children circled around Jesus in Heaven.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
I was overwhelmed by hope.
I found hope in a phrase a friend shared that morning…
What a picture. What truth…what HOPE.
While we sat there that evening and grieved their loss, they all REJOICED in Heaven. They knew no pain…they knew no sadness or mourning…they shed no tears (Rev. 21:4). They were with Jesus.
I reflected on the past year. Where we’ve come since we lost the babies…how our life has changed, how much we’ve grown with the Lord. How much He’s taught us to TRUST Him…how much we see that we NEED Him…and I realized those babies were all a part of that. In their short, short time within this world…we learned how to love deeply and let go. How to trust God through suffering and loss…How intensely we need Him and His leading in our lives…and how to continue to follow Him even when we’re not sure where He is leading.
And for that, I am thankful.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:24)
Through God, I have hope. And as hard as grief and loss is to overcome, I’ve found peace and comfort in knowing that our babies truly are in the best possible place they could be…at the feet of Jesus. And through their short lives, they have taught us to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts.
I continue to pray for those families grieving a loss such as this…I pray you will set your eyes on the Lord, for He will give you strength for today and a hope for tomorrow.
His will, His way…