A Year Later

It was a year ago that we went in for our first specialist visit to discover the extent of our unborn daughter’s heart condition. Katie was somewhere around 21 weeks and we had just celebrated Christmas. We laid our little girl to rest on March 19, and two weeks ago we were finally able to get her monument set. Here are a few haphazard but sincere thoughts regarding the last year.

We still love the little girl God gave us. We have no memories with her to treasure, no pictures outside of ultrasounds and echocardiograms save the ones taken at the hospital after she was delivered. So it is just raw love anchored in a future hope. We talk about her in heaven and the kids bring her up all the time. It’s amazing to me how real she is to them, even though they never got to meet her. But if Penny were our only child, I would still consider myself a father for the love I have for her.

The Lord alone is a refuge for the day of calamity. Truth led us and Compassion kept us. We were never outside the love and power of our God for a second, so even in that terrible tomb of a hospital room we were safe. Money could not have sustained us. Friends could not have kept us. Only a God who Himself had conquered the sting of death was enough.

Suffering is everywhere. We know so many who this year have lost children through miscarriages. We know so many who have suffered in other ways that are foreign to us. None of us can plant our flag on the island of suffering and claim it for our own. We all live in this sin cursed world and the lie of unique suffering makes fools of those who believe it.

Loss is debilitating. After Penny passed, writing was hard. It had been my- our- way of processing our emotions and sharing our burden with our friends and family. But then it just became hard to write. Or preach. Or go to work. Nothing seemed worth writing about after Penny.

Parents never give up hope. Whether addictions or relationships or health, a parent is usually the last one to give up. We talked to so many doctors and cardiologists and specialists and almost all of them (there was one exception I can think of) tried to convince us that Penny would pass away. And we tried to convince them that she wouldn’t. Does it matter that they were right? Not a bit. I appreciate that they wanted us to be emotionally prepared for her passing, but we wanted them to be medically prepared for her survival. It’s a parent’s job to believe all things, because that’s what love does.

Continuing to live life is not a betrayal of the dead. Laughing at a joke is not a sin. Enjoying a good meal is not a transgression. Playing with my other children is not evil. The people around us do not have to apologize for celebrating births and birthdays. We cannot hold the world hostage to our grief.

The wise build their house to withstand storms. I’ve been very thankful over the last year for our marriage, which has been a source of comfort instead of anxiety. It would have been difficult to repair a relationship while walking through this valley. Deal with problems early and don’t let anything come between you. If you wait to repair your ship until the storm is lashing the harbor it is going to be much harder. Not impossible, but harder.

Everything I learned in Sunday School is true. Well, maybe not quite everything, but the parts that came from the Bible were all true. God is faithful. Trust in the Lord with all your might. Jesus saves. I know it’s a season of society where many are abandoning the faith, but I cannot fathom what they are abandoning it for. “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” (Ps 12:6). God has been faithful and true to His Word.

So here we are, a year later, perched on the edge of the calendar year. The same and yet different. Grieving and yet joyful. Tired but ready for the next thing. And thankful for all your prayers, all your comfort, and all of your love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s