Category Archives: Loss and Hope

Oh Holy Night!

I am so excited for our Candlelight Christmas Eve Service tonight.  Gathering with family and friends, worshipping the culmination of our waiting, hearing my 7 year old daughter proclaim the gospel, listening to my husband Scott preach his God breathed words of wisdom and hope, cookies, conversations and hugs afterwards – I can just feel the glow of it all and I am giddy as a child on Christmas Eve!

There is so much to this sweet season that can distract us from all that is so very good.  For this day, in spite and maybe because of all the inevitable noise, chaos and clutter, I am feeling so grateful for the mess of it all and the chance to glorify a Baby who has given us everything.

My heart goes to a stable where a young mom and a first time dad wait and work under stars shining bright to birth a baby who will save the world. I think of each of my children’s births, how I have labored through the night with hopeful expectation.  Body full of pain and a heart full of hope that they would breath life into their lungs when I finally got to hold them in my arms, even when I knew deep down one would not. I still hoped, until they came.  God has never taken that hope from me and it is how he has sustained me.  Even when the breath of life was gone, I have never lost hope that all would be well.

I pray this season you may have hope, and love and joy and peace and comfort too.  All those things we write and receive on all those Christmas cards.  Read them, know them, feel them.  We are loved and we have reason to rejoice.

Merry Christmas!

Here, again is my favorite hymn of the season 06 – O Holy Night, listen loud, sing it louder.
I posted this last year just after Christmas…

A Thrill of Hope in a Weary World

Oh Holy Night speaks of the dual nature of hope and suffering in life like no other Christmas carol.  It speaks to my heart and gives me reason to praise.  As I seek to sing in a season of remembrance and hope, the lyrics acknowledge I am often pining and weary and hurting.  It says He knows this.  He knows our need.  He knows us! And in knowing Him, our soul finds worth, even in the midst – and maybe especially – when we have trials.  We are loved, valued, treasured – of worth.  I will overcome my suffering, because He will overcome it – all oppression shall cease.  At the top of my lungs, in a pitch I can barely reach, I sing my heart out…
.
.
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angels’ voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim

A Thrill of Hope in a Weary World

Oh Holy Night speaks of the dual nature of hope and suffering in life like no other Christmas carol.  It speaks to my heart and gives me reason to praise.  As I seek to sing in a season of remembrance and hope, the lyrics acknowledge I am often pining and weary and hurting.  It says He knows this.  He knows our need.  He knows us! And in knowing Him, our soul finds worth, even in the midst – and maybe especially – when we have trials.  We are loved, valued, treasured – of worth.  I will overcome my suffering, because He will overcome it – all oppression shall cease.  At the top of my lungs, in a pitch I can barely reach, I sing my heart out…
.
.
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angels’ voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim

Loss and Hope

Writing has been a healing outlet for me.  Hearing other’s stories have been healing as well.  It would be such a privilegde if you would like to share your story or writing about loss and hope here too.  I envision my blog being a place where others can come and read stories that are similar or even very different but be able to resonate with the duality of pain and goodness that is life.


Hiccups

I remember with some clarity that last day of his life.  He was six days overdue.  I spent most of the morning at the kitchen table, most of the day in my pajamas.  I was tired, sick with a bad cough, large in my overdue time with a big baby boy in my belly.  I had been doing so much to prepare for him, to care for my 4 1/2 year old girl and 2 1/2 year old boy.  It was nice to sit.

I sat at the kitchen table decorated with green and red, messy from remaining breakfast and the odd craft project with my laptop in front of me.  I positioned myself with my back to the sliding door so I could take in the sights and sounds of the house and my beloved people.  We were all in waiting.

My mom, who’d arrived a few days before to help when he arrived, and my 2 1/2 year old Barley, so excited to be a big brother, were passing the time by making gingerbread together.  I took pictures of their happiness.

We were happy and playful that day.  It felt like a real Christmas Vacation day when you are a kid and it is so fun to be at home from school and yet you’re just kind of wandering around wondering how to make the best of all this time.  There is one picture burned in my mind when both kids stuffed their bellies full of their animals and my mom took a profile picture of the three of us.  My belly was huge.  Our smiles were huge, that day before everything changed.

Mid-morning Fisher had hiccups, as he had nearly every day before.  We felt his in those moments, having no idea it would be the last time.  Barley’s little hands moved below my big belly, my mom’s on top and mine guided each of theirs to the subtle bumps like a blind person adeptly passing fingers across braille words.  I knew just where to press to feel his little back for thumps, I knew him, inside and out.

Often his hiccups and kicks came at night, or that is when I was most aware of them.  I remember cuddling in my big queen bed with my little 4 1/2 year old girl Bug, her hands and head taking in the wonder of this little life inside me.  I remember the awe in her eyes, the smile on her face, explaining once again how it all worked.  She was going to be at the birth; she wanted to see him come out.

I was sitting at the kitchen table ordering a custom made stamp of his name for his baby announcement.  I’d gathered gray blue-green paper with clay colored stars, a stamp that said “Joy” and a silver star brad to hold his picture over red paper.  It was going to be a play on a Christmas theme, this son who was suppose to be born in the season of remembering our Savior’s birth.  I poured over fonts, this one or that one, measured out size and visualized placement.  I am a thoughtful decision maker, some, my husband mainly, would say slow.  I finalized the sale just in time to take a shower before my OB appointment.

It was late afternoon and snow was starting to fall in Seattle.  A hot shower felt good.

While Scott took his shower we had those few stolen moments to talk that parents of toddlers have. “When do you think this baby is going to come?” he said.

“I just don’t feel like he is going to, well not today” I said, “but I want to bring my bag for the hospital to this appointment though, just in case.”

In all my three pregnancies, I had never brought my bag of things to an OB appointment before.  In the steamy warm room I wiggled my naked round belly dancing around on the soft white bath mat.  “Maybe I can wiggle this baby out of me!”

We both laughed at how funny I looked.  How audacious of me to be so silly!  I often remember that last carefree moment.

I put a few more necessary things in my suitcase; a second outfit for Fisher, an extra blanket, two more cozy pairs of socks for me and a few toiletries.  It made us a few minutes late getting out the door, but I was determined to bring these things along, again, just in case.  Scott wouldn’t take my advice and left his things at home, he thought I was being overly prepared but obliged the “crazy pregnant lady notions.”  I like to be prepared for things.

The kids were napping and since my mom was here to watch them we let them stay sleeping.  We thought we might even grab a warm drink and a little time together after the appointment.  There is a Starbucks below the OB office and I fondly remember going there after many of my appointments with our first baby, when it was just us and we could do things like that, linger over a conversation and hang in the lull of anticipation without any little ones with needs at our feet or to quickly return to at home.

We’d been bringing the kids to all the appointments, getting them used to the idea of a new baby in any way we could.  They loved to hear the heartbeat on the doppler.  Thank God they were sleeping and that my mom was here.  Thank God.

The falling snow compounded our lateness as the traffic was not moving near our house.  I was anxious to get there and knew it was my fault we were late.  We re-routed ourselves and headed through downtown Seattle, where it wasn’t moving much faster.  I called my office to tell them how late we were running and offered to reschedule.  “No, just come in” the receptionist said “if you can get here in 20 minutes Dr. B will see you as her last patient.”

The last patient of the day meant the other pregnant women would mostly be gone. That was a gift from God too.

These small bits of provision on this most horrible of days gave me hope that Someone, a loving God whom I don’t fully understand or know how He works and wish above all else He had spared my son, but still, a loving God was taking care of me in all this.  In so many profound and often unexplainable ways, I was cared for.


Due

Today was his due date, two years ago.  I might be able to conjure what I was doing, I am sure it is written in the journal I was creating for him, but I clearly remember what I was feeling.  Happy.  Hopeful.  Expectant.

I am not someone who wants pregnancy to end early.  I have a dear friend who, in response to the topic of procrastination put a positive spin on it by saying “I work well to a deadline.”

I resonate with that.  I seem to always have a mile long to-do list and work up to the last minute getting things done.  The gift of time is a true gift to me.  My due date had come and gone with each of my two older children, this was my “normal” and I appreciated the borrowed time.

I like to be prepared in life, especially for my babies, so there was no question of whether or not I would find out his gender. I want to know as much as I could about him and would often daydream about who he might be in our little family.  This being my 3rd, I knew even more that I needed to get everything in order ahead of time; I was determined to relish those sweet newborn days that stream into each other as one foggy haze of holding, feeding, spurts of sleep and overwhelming love at the miracle of life in my arms.  With a 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 year old to care for, everything else needed to be in order.

I love the process of baby preparations.  My creativity and nesting energies converge full force and I pour out all that love into whimsical, cozy and practical dwellings.  His clothes were all washed and put away in his newly painted sky blue dresser.  I spent hours searching for drawer liners to freshen every surface of our craiglist find and gave up when I found simple blue striped thick matte wrapping paper at a fancy stationary store.  I remember cutting each piece to size, spritzing them with baby perfume I bought in France and carefully fitting them to the boys’ drawers.  It was a ridiculous little detail, but one will find me wiping away tears in the laundry area of the Container Store and my heart will be breaking.

I painted the room he’d share with his big brother Barley with 8 feet tall blades of grass and tucked in various bugs playing peek-a-boo in shades of blue.  I put a few special ones strategically near his crib where he was to lie and look for so many hours of his lovely life.  I remember cuddling with my sweet  3 year-old son and looking over to see those bugs.  Forgetting how intentional I had been with that 4 foot stretch of wall, I was caught off guard a few months later when it came into focus.

Moments like that were like an unexpected punch to my stomach from out of nowhere.  I’d be caught off guard and suddenly breathless, sobbing over so many little triggers that opened up a deep wound reminding me of the boy I had spent so many days hoping for.

This was the day I worked so hard and so lovingly for to be ready for an entire lifetime.