Thursday, September 30, 2010


Perhaps you’ve noticed I haven’t been writing here lately...a smattering of whatever now and then but nothing really besides that. This is my fourth attempt at writing a post about what’s been happening here and I’ve made up my mind not to get up until I post something...except to get my tea.

OK. Tea acquired. Here we go.

How I’ve been lately can really be summed up in one word: angry. Part of the reason I’ve had such a difficult time writing lately is that my anger tends to come out all whiny and feeling sorry for myself. That’s not how I feel, but often it’s how it sounds. I make a slew of “I” statements (I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel like I want to take a sledgehammer to my whole house and start over somewhere else) and it all sounds like complaining. I don’t want to complain. OK. Well. Sometimes I want to complain. But I hope that’s not what you’ll hear.

What I’m feeling now is the kind of anger towards something that happens that you know had to happen but you didn’t want it to and you can’t change it. I know Lydia had to die. I didn’t want her to and I can’t change the fact that she’s not here. Of course, I wouldn’t bring her back now to suffer in this world, but sometimes I think I’d give everything I have just to kiss her one more time. The fact that I can’t and the fact that I don’t understand why I can’t makes me angry - deeply, soul crushingly angry.

That anger is naturally (and unfortunately) directed at God. I point my finger and say, “You did this. You took her. This was YOUR plan.” It’s not pretty. It’s not right. But it’s what it is. I just can’t understand it.

We were speaking with our counselor the other day and he put words to something I have been feeling but haven’t had words for. We were talking about how when Lydia was alive, it was so much easier to claim and hold on to the true things. God gave us the exact child He wanted us to have .She was created the way God wanted her to be. She was made for a purpose. He would use her life for His good. He would bring glory to Himself. It was so easy, when looking at my girl who had one foot in heaven all the time she was here, to believe these things. There was a purpose. I knew there had to be a purpose.

But now as every day goes by and I get further and further away from remembering the sound of her breathing or her scent, I cannot see the purpose. I see it in the past when I think of her and what we went through, but now as the emptiness stretches out in front of me, I cannot see a purpose in my emptiness. How could there be purpose in such a wretched, broken feeling?

And there’s more too. I want so much the feeling of closeness with my Savior. I want to be comforted. I don’t want to be angry. But it’s just not that easy. Now we have all of our future ahead of us. Before Lydia was conceived, we gave all of our planning and the life of our future child into His hands. When I was pregnant, we gave her life to Him. When her brain wasn’t perfect and we weren’t sure, we committed her again to His keeping.

Then, when she was born, everyday we gave her back to God, believing He had her best and ours in mind. And He took her. We offered her up and He took her. I don’t know why this surprised me or makes me angry now, but I guess I thought all along He wouldn’t take her. Now, as we look into the future, trying to understand what to do next, I don’t really want Him to have any part of it. We gave Him Lydia’s life and He took her away from us. Does He honestly expect that I’ll trust Him now? Seriously?

It’s so complicated. Even in the middle of my anger, I still know the truth. I know, in the end, we cannot go forward unless He goes with us. I will not find answers unless He provides them. I will not know peace or healing unless I let Him near me. I have no other hope but Him.

Sometimes it seems like a cruel joke that the source of our suffering and the healing from it should come from the same place. Cruel too that so often our healing only comes from more pain.

At the end of the day, after I’ve fought and cried my hardest and demand and beg for an answer, when the calm comes again I understand only that I don’t understand. In those moments, I utter the only prayer I’ve been able to pray for the last months.

Help me believe.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Stone for Lydia

My friend Megan, who has walked through her own painful time with the loss of her son, wrote Lydia's (and many other babies' in heaven) name on a stone. She sent me some pictures and I wanted to share one of them with you.

To have Lydia's name spoken or written does something in my heart that I can't explain. Thank you, friend, for remembering our girl.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Respite Retreat

The past week or so has been difficult. Getting back into the swing of work (which, turns out, is hard to do when you only have teach three days of school in two weeks) has me pretty wiped out, despite being only part time. I will say, the first day of school was lovely. I don't know that I've ever felt more appreciated, so thanks to all students and teachers who made the day a heck of a lot better than I thought it would be. Of course, I cried like a loon when I got home, but come on. You expect it at this point.

There's been a lot of angry lately. Hope feels far and it's gotten easy to forget the times and ways that God has been faithful to me. Especially easy when I start to think that the God who loves me plays a significant role in my pain. How can I trust someone who has had a hand in my pain? I don't know. I don't know how to work it all out. I know I will, I just don't know how.

That's why this past weekend was a gift. Micah and I went down to Nashville, TN for a retreat run by David and Nancy Guthrie. It was a retreat just for parents who had lost a child. Here are the eleven wonderful couples that we got to meet and spend time with.

There were many wonderful things about the weekend. The most looked forward to was that we got to meet Jen and Kent. Lilly and Lydia were born two weeks apart and went to heaven two weeks apart, both from Zellweger Syndrome. Jen found this blog when Lilly was three months old and we've been e-mail and phone friends ever since. To see her IN REAL LIFE was fantastic.

In addition to meeting them, we met these ten couples. I can't explain to you the blessing it is to sit in a room full of people and look into their eyes, knowing they understand the kind of broken my heart is. The first night we were there and the beginning of the next morning we told the stories of our children. It was the first time that we told Lydia's story, specifically the end of it, all the way through. These dear people laughed and cried with us as we told about our beautiful girl and at the end, we prayed thanking God for Lydia's life.

I didn't have a big breakthrough, but I had many small moments of understanding that I haven't had before. As we talked, I realized how blessed we are to have people around us who miss Lydia, who speak of her, who care that she's not here anymore. It hadn't occurred to me that it could be any other way - that people's families don't care or speak of their child after they die. I'm surrounded by people who loved our girl and who love her still, though she's not here. Sometimes it's difficult to navigate other people's feelings about Lydia's death, but this time made me realize that whether or not I always appreciate how people express the fact that the miss her, I am so so so grateful that they miss her at all.

I was thankful to be reminded again that this huge pain won't last forever. As it is now, I still cry all the time and church is still unbearably painful. I sat across the dinner table one night from Jill. Knowing she was further down this grief road that I, I asked her if she hated going to church. She told me she did, but that it eventually got better. I think I know this practically, but it seems so far away that it's hard to focus in on anything but how it feels now. Thanks, Jill, for reminding me that the dark days aren't forever.

During times and talks with Nancy and David, I was reminded again about the patience of my Savior. Though I know I'm acting like a child who is screaming and screaming and refusing to be consoled, I know that I am being held tightly. I know that no matter how long I rage, He's not going to put me down. He will stay until I'm comforted.

I was thankful to remember again that I am not alone. One of the greatest tools of the enemy is the belief that this pain secludes me from the rest of the world. Eleven other couples, twenty-two other people have walked this road. They still walk it. They are not defeated. If you are reading this, please know how your strength has encouraged me. You have kept going when you didn't want to. I know that I can too. You have found Christ in the midst of your sorrow. I know I can too.

Nancy said it best - better days are coming. I will hold on until they do.