My heart is so full for my friend whose beautiful, much-anticipated, much-loved son is now an angel in heaven. I have so many things to say to her that I'm full to bursting, but they're about me, not her, and now is just not the time... So here's a "letter" to my dear friend...
I knew from the first time I saw your million-watt smile at my Natalie's Open House that you were going to make her year. It's so nice to be right. You took care of her, saw to her considerable needs, and along the way, you became my friend. I think you've never met a stranger, but to me, this is no trivial matter.
Becoming a mother has been so important to you. I remember walking past your door one day to find you beaming through tears at the "feeling" you had that your daughter was that day now in the world and would soon be with you and J. I felt your frustration and saw your heartbreak as the international adoption situation caused you to close that door.
I witnessed your walking a new path to your family. You chronicled the IVF procedure along with your hopes and shared with us the miracle of M's conception and growth from your "little jelly bean" to the fully developed, yawning, breathing, kicking, squirming, "stubborn monkey" inside you.
When you went into the hospital, the good wishes poured in. J. kept us all updated on your status. We all waited to hear, "He's here!!" I never once anticipated that the words would be, "[L] needs your prayers....emergency c-section and M[--] flown to GW NICU...he is fighting for his life. Here's where I pray stubborn will make a life's difference." Natalie and I prayed. I prayed again and again. In the morning, I expected to read that he had passed the crisis, whatever it was -- I thought it must be his kidney issue. Instead, I read, "[L]'s little boy passed away early this morning." My devastation, though nothing to yours, brought me sobbing to my knees.
I knew that you needed to be alone for awhile, and I felt helpless to do anything for you. So I checked in on FB, and I watched your blog. I felt sure that you, a public journaler, would need to write it out. Sure enough, your "Goodbye my angel" letter to M. appeared, and you touched us all with your love and your sorrow. You then gave us something tangible to do with your "Thank you friends" post: We were able to donate to help the children in Kyrgyzstan with an EKG machine and to fund the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep foundation's mission. And you gave us M's pictures -- all the beautiful photos of him outside the womb, fighting for his life or resting in his father's arms. I look at them often; I find myself stroking the screen. They will be cherished.
The funeral service was a beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul, a soul created by two loving hearts and God's miracle. So many people were there to support you and J. and your family. That your aunt read your Goodbye letter was a fitting tribute to the power of your words and to your ability to love and to share yourself.
You loved M. fiercely. You allowed us to love him, too.
Now I think about you almost constantly; I grieve for your son, but more, I grieve for your grieving. I read your blog and cry and pray. I have "conversations" with you all the time, trying to help, trying to hold you up to the Lord. I want to be able to offer you comfort, but there is no comfort that I can give for this pain, these expectations not met.
Natalie and I bought M. a Christmas ornament on the day you went into the hospital for the induction. We searched through the Christmas store in the mall and found the perfect one -- a little blue "sock monkey" wearing a Santa hat. A monkey for L's monkey, I thought. I have it on the tree now, and I smile and I feel sad every time I walk by it. And I think, "How much more does L. feel, she who had all his Christmas shopping done weeks before he was born, she who had such plans, hopes and dreams for him." And I grieve for your grieving.
Your "New Normal" is a horrific thing, but I can't rant and rave and shake my fist at the fates. It only makes me more upset, and it does no good. So I pray and I search for comfort, for you and for me. While I don't understand God's plan and don't pretend to, I have found solace in this: "For the Lord does not abandon anyone forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion according to the greatness of his unfailing love." (Lamentations 3:31-32) Brave words for someone who hasn't lost a child, aren't they? But they aren't my words, they're God's.
Oh, L., I believe in my heart of hearts that you will hold M. in your arms again in Heaven. It saddens me that it won't be before then, but I believe it will happen. I believe in my heart of hearts that you will have more children in your family to join the cherished memory of your first-born son. And I believe in my heart of hearts that God is a loving God even when I don't understand.
With love and prayers ongoing,