March 15, 2009
The thought of losing a child is one too overwhelming for me to ponder. We almost lost Hayley her first week of life and I will never be the same.
I vividly remember being in the ER waiting room after the doctors had essentially kicked me out of triage so they could perform a spinal tap on her. They thought she might have meningitis but really, we didn’t know what was wrong, only that she was floppy like a ragdoll and responding very little to any sort of attempt to wake her.
When I recall that day, my mind swirls. I was exhausted from having just given birth the day before and from having stayed up all night trying to nurse. I was totally overwhelmed with the idea that this little life was mine to care for, that she was completely dependent on me. I was worried of course, having no idea what was wrong but knowing very well that newborns should not sleep indefinitely and that they should wake up when you pinch them as hard as you can in a terrifying moment of panic. And it was all compounded by the fact that this was indeed my worst fear realized – that she would fall asleep and not wake up – since it was so much like my very first memory when my 8 month old brother died of SIDS. (I was 3 at the time and what I understood and witnessed then was that he fell asleep and didn’t wake up. The circumstances of that day occurred in such a way so that I lived the next 10+ years thinking his death was my fault.) So, yes, when my own child fell asleep and didn’t wake up, I was flooded.
God is gracious, but not because Hayley lived. Even if she hadn’t, He’d still be gracious. So very gracious. I can’t say enough how gracious He is. He’s all about redemption and He’s all about good. Even when life isn’t.
I don’t remember many specific details about that day in the ER but I do remember saying one thing over and over and over: ”There must be a purpose. There must be a purpose. There must be a purpose…” I’m not sure if it was involuntary or if I was willing myself to say it, but I believed it, I really did. I didn’t like it, but I believed it. I knew that I knew that I knew that whether we lost her or not, God was still good, He was still in control and His decision to take her or to let us keep her would be the best decision for us. But again, I didn’t like it and I had no idea how I would go on if this was her earthly end.
Why does God let bad things happen? It’s for the same reason He lets good things happen: for His glory and our good. Sometimes He gives. Sometimes He takes away. It doesn’t always make sense to our finite minds, but for the One who is infinite – for the One who sees the whole story – it all makes complete and total sense. And for those of us who choose to accept Christ’s gift of eternal life which He gave us through the cross, one day it will make complete and total sense to us too. In the meantime, we trust.
I wish every day that I would get to hear Felicity’s new words, listen to her post-nap singing, change her stinky diapers. Yet I know that losing her has changed me more than getting to raise her would have.
(HT to Rocks In My Dryer.)
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- Figure out where you’re headed by looking back
- Grief is a path, not a destination
- A Wounded Heart, Part 1