Wednesday, August 22, 2012

From Mother to Friend

It is easy to look back over our loss of Isaiah and tell you the helpful and hurtful things said to us.  I don't really remember who said each thing, and I have tried not to remain stuck on any certain thing a person said.  Instead I tried to look at the intention--and people always intended to be loving and supportive.  Surprisingly, the most hurtful thing said to us was saying nothing at all.  That spoke volumes.

Over the past few weeks I have navigated a new role in relation to grief...from mother to friend.  Sadly, some of our dear friends went through the loss of their sweet baby boy recently - and being the friend hasn't been at all like I would have imagined.  The truth is that I have no idea how to support my friend.  I stand beside her - grieving with her - and realize that there is not anything that I can do to help her avoid the hurt and loss.  I recognize that her journey is not just like mine, so I don't know if what I've gone through or what helped me will help her.  I don't want to compare or talk like I know exactly how she feels, because I KNOW that everyone grieves in such different ways.

After analyzing every option and realizing how hard it is to know what to say, I found myself questioning if I should just be silent -- maybe that would be the best choice?  Who am I to act like I have the right thing to say or have the right to help shoulder this grief with my friend?  But then I stopped and remembered that in our experience, saying nothing at all was the worst thing to do.  It made it seem like our loss wasn't important enough to warrant attention or care (and really - know that there were very few who fell into this category).  So now I find myself willing...but praying that the Lord will guide and use me - my words and actions - in His intended way...and soften whatever unhelpful things are said.

I realize that I am experiencing a glimpse of what so many of you must have encountered when trying to support me...and I just wanted to thank you for being brave and supporting me anyway.  You were putting yourself out there - to maybe be the one that would say the stupid thing.  But know that I was never thinking that.  All I saw were people upholding us when we couldn't stand.  If you would've been absent, God would have brought someone else - but he used you.  Thank you for being willing to navigate uncharted territory in supporting us.  You have been there in our darkest time of need - and are still supporting us through this journey that has definitely not ended.  Thank you for caring and trying.

And if you were silent or absent - understand that God still provided for us.  Sometimes there are reasons that one is not equipped to support another at a certain time for various reasons, but if you avoided because of discomfort, I do pray that you will find encouragement and courage to support others in the future.  If you care, be faithful and support - even if it is uncomfortable.  Know that we are not upset with anyone and if we haven't talked to you in a while, we aren't going to lump you in this category.  We still love and miss you.  :)  I realize now more than ever how some might have felt...I now know that it can be tempting to back away when we don't know what to do...but God can use us if we are willing.  I am praying to always be willing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Four Months - and Hope and Hearts 5K

Today marks four months since we held our sweet Isaiah.  When I think about the fact that it has been 16 weeks, part of me thinks - "wow, 16 weeks?," and the other part of me thinks "only 16 weeks?"  I feel like I've aged a lifetime in these weeks, and any naivety we had about life turning out as we'd hoped will never return...yet we know God has a plan.

When people ask how we're doing, I usually tell them that I feel like we are turning small corners - and for the most part - that is good.  As hard as working through the grief has been, I recently realized that I can list on one hand how many bad days I had this past month.  That is a huge feat when not long ago it was every day.

I still have hard moments each day - and occasionally entire bad days - but sometimes I surprise myself when the tears that always come to my eyes whenever I think of Isaiah present themselves with a small smile - not just sadness.  When I wonder about Isaiah in his current state - what he is doing right now now in heaven...what he looks like...the thoughts of being present with the Lord - I actually feel pangs of joy and wonder.  Of course I have chosen to think on those things for some time, but feeling positive feelings related at all to our loss --- that is a big change -- I never would have thought that could be possible.  Maybe this is a glimpse of God transforming our mourning into joy...exchanging beauty for ashes...a very slow, but hopefully steady process.  I try to remind myself that feeling positive feelings is not betraying the fact that we are sad to lose Isaiah, but more of a reflection of what God is doing in our hearts.

I do still struggle with feeling that the further we get from the day Isaiah was born -- that we are moving "away" from him.  I know this is a feeling, and the truth is that Isaiah is, and will always be, as precious to me as he was the moment I became aware of his existence - the moment that I felt him move for the first time - the moment that I saw him with my eyes - the moment that I kissed him with my lips.  As days keep passing and we keep changing, HE won't ever change - He is as he will be when I meet him again - and I really can't explain how excited I am for that day.

So I guess if you're wondering how we are doing - it's a mixed bag.  We still constantly think of him...constantly miss him...constantly see him in babies' faces...constantly listen to our children's pleas to see him in heaven, talk about him, watch his video -- but somehow God is changing and reforming our hearts.  I'm not sure if our hearts are being softened or bolstered after this loss...but I think of it more as being rebuilt after a terrible, heart-breaking storm...helping us face life as the changed people that we are.  God is renewing us in sure, small ways, and we are so grateful for his mercy and love.

I have been wanting to get a post up about ways that we have been memorializing Isaiah's life through Compassion International, etc., but haven't gotten to it yet.  I do want to tell you about another way we have decided to remember him - coming up on September 8th.

We have recently decided to be part of the Hope and Hearts 5K run/walk in memory of Isaiah - as part of "Isaiah's Team."  This powerful event allows people to come together to honor the memory of babies who have been lost, raise awareness about pregnancy loss, and promote stillbirth prevention by raising funds for the Missing Grace Foundation.  At the end of the 5K there will be a commemoration time where each baby will be remembered through a balloon release.  We would love any family or friends that are available to come walk or run with us as part of "Isaiah's Team!"  If you aren't available, but would like to donate to this organization, we'd love for you to consider this as well.

For more information about the 5K run/Memorial Walk/ Kids' Fun Dash and why we chose to support this organization, please head to our fundraising page to learn more:

***If you plan to register as part of our team, please let us know! You'll eventually need some more information via email :) ***

Once again, we want to praise God for his faithfulness to us in this valley and thank you for surrounding us with your prayers.  I hope you can see what the Lord has done and is doing in our lives through your prayers.  Even though things are still hard, we have so much to praise him for -- he is faithful!

And just for fun, here's a random picture...      

The flower girl and her mom - at a recent wedding