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Lessons On Grief and Missing Isaac

It’s been half a year since we lost Isaac.  After a few months, the intensity of grieving began to let up a little.  As we moved into the New Year, I felt hopeful.  A fresh start.  I love the way God does that.

But lately, my heart has been aching for this little man.  I miss holding him.  A few hours with him just doesn’t feel like nearly enough.  I wish I would have taken more pictures of just him and me.    I wonder, though, if there isn’t always SOMETHING we wish might have been different when we lose someone we love?  I think it’s part of the pain of loss and of grieving.

The other aspect of my part in all of this is walking alongside Brittney.  There have been so many times that I had nothing to legitimately give to comfort her other than prayers whispered in my heart while she cried and verbally processed this thing called grief.  That’s not easy when you are used to being able to comfort your child for so many years. There is something very different about this type of grief.  Usually, when we lose a loved one, other people knew that person and we can talk with them about the uniqueness of that person and share memories.  But when a baby dies in utero, the mommy is the one who bears a very large part of the grief.  SHE carried that child in her body, SHE bonded with that baby’s movements and habits, SHE goes home with her breasts full of milk and empty arms,  SHE is, by far,  the closest person to that child.  The rest of the family and friends will grieve, but they they are still “outsiders” in relationship to that particular experience.* This can also make it difficult to know how to comfort these sweet mamas.  Here are a few things I have learned:

*Don’t feel like you have to have answers.  Don’t say things like, “God knows what’s best”.  Just hug her, tell her you are sorry, tell her you have no words.  PRAY A LOT for her whenever she comes to mind.

*Ask to see pictures of the baby and ask about the baby’s name and why that name is special to them?  How much he/she weighed, how long he/she was.  If you get to see pictures, talk about all the sweet things about her little one, you know, the things every new mother wants to hear…”look at all that hair!”  “He looks like his daddy” “She’s beautiful!” .

*If you have a chance, ask if you can come hold the baby.  It can take a lot of courage, but whisper a prayer, trust God and GO!  Mommies love to see other people enjoy their baby (just like any new mommy) and in this situation, it is very short lived for them, so seize the moment if you can.

*Remember the Mother’s Day/Father’s Day after or give a gift in memory of baby for Christmas..  Remember to celebrate or acknowledge baby’s birthdays.

*Don’t assume that when she gets pregnant again, the hurt is healed.  As we are finding out, pregnancy after a loss is an emotional roller coaster for the mommy.  She needs extra encouragement and prayers during this time as well.

I’ve watched, with a broken heart at times, the pain and loss that Britt has endured.  I have seen her hurt deeply, but I have also watched God ultimately be her greatest comfort.  I have watched her basic beliefs about who God is, be put through the fire and stay solid through this fiery storm.  It is no small tribulation, but it also refines like nothing else could.  God doesn’t waste anything.  And the more painful the trial, the more amazing His work.  He also seems to make His presence SO clearly known in the darkest places.

Britt has SO much that has been so clearly revealed over these months and she told me the other day that she feels like she might be ready to share those things.  I am praying she finds the words and I will share them with you when she passes them on to me.

In February, Jacob and Britt told us that they were expecting again!  I about jumped through the roof!  I was SO excited, so hopeful and have felt so peaceful about this pregnancy and this baby.  I didn’t expect that.  I thought I would be more riddled with fear.  I wonder if,  as the due date approaches, there will much more inner turmoil, but maybe not?  God has been faithful to give us trust and hopeful expectancy with this new little one.  And guess what?  He gave this baby the exact same due date that Isaac had.  I couldn’t help but be reminded of His whisperings since the day we lost Isaac, “I am a REDEEMER”, “I will REDEEM this”.

I was recently listening to a song that reduced me to tears right then and there.  It reminded me of the tearing down that happens when we go through trials and particularly the loss of a loved one.  There is the tearing down, but it is followed by the “building back” that God does.  The new “building” is not the same as the old one.  If we choose to trust, it’s better…God redeeming. Listen HERE:

We’ve been crumbled, we’ve been crushed City walls have turned to dust Broken hands and blistered feet We walk for miles to find relief

When the thief takes, when our hopes cave You build us back You build us back

When the earth shakes, when the world breaks You build us back You build us back

We are scared, we are poor All our safety nets are torn We’ve been humbled to our knees From these ruins, we believe

When the thief takes, when our hopes cave You build us back You build us back

When the earth shakes, when the world breaks You build us back You build us back

Redeemer, redeem us Restorer, restore us Oh build us back Though the mountains be shaken, the hills be removed Your unfailing love remains After all that’s been taken, Your promise, still sacred You build us back with precious stones

When the thief takes, when our hopes cave You build us back You build us back

When the earth shakes, when the world breaks You build us back You build us back

My heart is healing.  Britt and Jacob’s hearts are healing. Our family’s hearts are healing too.  I am seeing some of the ways our lives are forever changed by that precious little boy’s presence and absence.  When our kids pray for this new baby, they say things like, “Please help this baby to be healthy and strong and come out screaming.”  They pray for a good labor and delivery…not words they have used before.  They seem to have a keen sense of the value of life and are familiar with grief.  If you would have asked if I wanted our children to learn the things they have, I would have said yes.  I wouldn’t have chosen this road,  but I know we can trust this good God who is lovingly sovereign over all.

*(Although it’s different, the husbands have their own unique grief and that should be acknowledged as well.)

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