Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Words I Won't Soon Forget

If any of you are like me, in a time of crisis, you search for what it is that will ground you; when life's circumstances seem to be unraveling in a direction that you had never imagined possible, you cling to what it is that makes you feel secure. For me, I cling to words... words from Scripture, words from people who have walked this road, and words from others who seem to say just the right thing. I've been doing a ton of reading lately, and several things that I have read really resonated with me.

In her book Holding On to Hope, Nancy Guthrie talks about the pain of losing her first child, Hope... "Even now, I can't say I'm healed. Part of my heart is no longer mine. I gave it to Hope and she took it with her, and I will forever feel that amputation."

I thought about this for a while. Over the last few weeks, I remember telling Spencer on multiple occasions that my heart hurt... that physically, it hurt. I suppose that's why I was so struck by Guthrie's statement. Part of my heart was given to Isaac... that part of me that resolved to love him at any cost... and that part of my heart will always be with him. And I do feel that amputation, as if part of me is somehow missing.

Another place I have been struck recently is through the words of a daily e-mail to which I subscribe. This e-mail was talking about grief and quoted Larry Crabb... "Knowing the Lord and His comfort does not take away the ache; instead, it supports you in the middle of the ache. Until I get home to heaven, there's going to be an ache that won't quit. The grieving process for me is not so much a matter of getting rid of the pain, but not being controlled by the pain."

I appreciated the fact the Crabb acknowledged that the ache is very real and is very lasting. Yes, in the Lord we have comfort and we have hope; but it can be all too easy to then simply write-off that ache that is real, and present, and lasting. I guess that ache sort of goes along with the limp that I spoke of previously.

In her book After the Darkest Hour, the Sun Will Shine Again, Elizabeth Mehern says this: "Burying a child stands the world on its head." A dear couple at church on Sunday shared this perspective on grief: "Grief is a normal response to abnormal circumstances."

There is nothing that feels normal or right about burying your child. In fact, it feels absolutely wrong. It goes against what we typically deem to be the "natural" order of things. Certainly, God is sovereign over everything, but I suppose we typically assume certain things in life; you expect to bury your grandparents, and sadly (I have a hard time even thinking about this) your parents. But you never, ever expect to bury your child. It stands the world on its head; it feels backwards, upside down, and completely abnormal. And to be honest, that's really hard and often feels incredibly unfair.

A few days ago I received an e-mail from Kathy, my wonderful nurse from the hospital who I have mentioned before. The subject line of the e-mail read: "Thinking of you..." and in the message she wrote, "I just wanted you to know." What a gift to just be given a beautiful, simple, tangible reminder that we are not alone and that others continue to think of us.

Last Friday, on what would have been Isaac's one-month birthday, I received a card and some beautiful gerbera daisies from a dear friend. In the card, she talked all about Isaac... specific things she remembers about him, like his long fingers and the way he smelled, and what she loved about him. Those words were like music to my ears and a balm for my soul. To know that he hasn't been forgotten is such a gift... because one of my greatest fears is forgetting.

And lastly, I stumbled across this passage in the book of Job:

When Job's three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was. ~ Job 2:11-13

What struck me about this was that Job's three friends were simply with Job grieving with him; they weren't trying to speak or provide any answers (at least at this point anyway). They didn't offer up trite or pithy statements which are all too small to fill the vastness of the loss. They simply acknowledged Job's suffering and the magnitude of his loss, and were with him.

Spencer and I appreciate the numerous people who have simply just been with us. I think back to being in the hospital and being visited by a couple with whom we're very close. The wife turned to us and said, "I don't even really know what to say." And that was okay... there presence... just being there in the midst of our pain and our hurt... was of great comfort.

Thank you to the many of you who have offered us words of comfort and encouragement... who simply remind us that you're praying for us and thinking of us... who ask us how we are doing and allow us the space to be however we are, knowing that some days are better than others, and aren't afraid to meet us in that place... who are willing to talk about Isaac with us because you realize that we don't want to be finished talking about him and that his name is like music to our ears. We are grateful.

49 comments:

Marissa said...

beautiful entry with beautiful quotes.

i have no words but wanted you to know i'm still here, still praying and still wishing you peace.

i still very much want to hear about isaac.

Cara said...

The gaping whole never goes away - just narrows over time. Isaac is your son, always.

Liz and Will Timmerman said...

Isaac's name will forever be music to your ears. Everything you said so beautifully in your post expressed the feelings of my heart too. Thank you.

Amy said...

Since first visiting your blog, I have been touched by your story of Isaac, and inspired daily by your openness, and faith. I have also heard the name Isaac more in the past two months than ever before,a nd I believe it is a reminder for me to pray for the two of you...a sweet reminder!

Amy

boltefamily said...

Stacy,

Thank you for writing this. I have read all the books you referenced and needed to be reminded of those things. I am nine months out of my most recent loss and still find the pain to consume me some days. Today is one of those days. The tears won't stop and though I know God is hear, it still hurts. Thanks for making me feel a little more normal.

Monica @ Writer Chic said...

Hi friend. I'm here.

Baseballs and Tutu's said...

Beautiful!!!!!!

I can't verbalize what I'm thinking and do it or you justice so just know that I'm praying for you and I will never forget Isaac's story!

MotherhoodMightBeFatal said...

I found you through another blog and since finding your story I'm unable to look away from your strength. Everyday you inspire me to be a stronger, better person. You are so gracious and moving in all that you write.
I suffered a miscarriage four and a half years ago, I can understand the loss of a child and from someone who doesn't even like to talk about it all these years later, you give me a vision of someone to aspire to. Your faith, your strength, your love for your son and your husband is palpable.

All my wishes and hope for you,
A. Berkoski

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful entry. I often struggle for words to help someone in times of grief and sadness but I have found that an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on is all that is needed at times.

I cannot tell you that it will get better because I do not know that it will (I hope that it will but I cannot guarantee it). I cannot tell you I understand because I have not walked in your shoes or knows how it feels. What I can tell you is that I am here for you both and pray for you daily. I can also tell you that Isaac is beautiful and watches over you daily!

Please take care.

Verna said...

I seemingly never can find the right words to say. But do know how your blog has helped me thru some very rough times lately.
Like you stated, sometimes its not the words spoken, but the fact that someone was just there for you. A hug, a smile or a tear sometimes says more then words do.
Your sharing your feelings and thoughts have helped a lot of others. But please remember, we are all praying for you.
Some days I simply go to your blog and listen to the music as I try to make the most of my day. God will Carry us through, one day, one moment at a time.
Love and prayers to you and Spencer. :)

Marc and Megan said...

I just wanted you to know that I have been touched by your blog, by the feelings you're sharing and your expressions of hope. There is some aspect of comfort that comes from reading someone else's process of grief and recognizing I'm not alone in those feelings.

I know that physical pain in the heart... there isn't a pain I've experienced in my life that has felt worse than that. Our twin girls were born prematurely in July of this year. And, it is backwards and upside down to have to bury a child. It is awful. But, I am finding a clearer perspective in life, a stronger connection with my husband, and a deeper yearning to return to God and my little angels waiting in heaven.

I just want you to know that you're not alone through this journey. There is a grieving mother in California praying for you.

Open your Eyes. said...

I love love love hearing about Isaac - even though he was not here physically for as long as we wanted him to be I still learn new things about him from what you tell us.

Stacy, thank you so much for sharing this with us. I just wanted to hare this with you -

"The happiest of people do not neccassraily have the best of everything, they just make the most of everything that comes their way"

100% and without a doubt you do that - you made the most of everything you could learn and love about Isaac and you still are today and that is - quite simply - to me an amazing gift. It makes you a fantastic Mummmy xxx.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stacy
I found your blog by accident and am moved by your strength. What your are going through is one of the hardest things ever. I have been there, not in the same way as you, but we lost two pregnancies in a row both in the 2nd trimester.
It does get better. It honestly took me about 3 years and those dates are still hard. We are now adoptive parents to a beautiful child and that has healed us somewhat, but we will always miss our other children. Be gentle with yourself. You are a wonderful mother and you will be reunited with Issac someday.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stacy
I found your blog by accident and am moved by your strength. What your are going through is one of the hardest things ever. I have been there, not in the same way as you, but we lost two pregnancies in a row both in the 2nd trimester.
It does get better. It honestly took me about 3 years and those dates are still hard. We are now adoptive parents to a beautiful child and that has healed us somewhat, but we will always miss our other children. Be gentle with yourself. You are a wonderful mother and you will be reunited with Issac someday.

AmandaHoyt said...

I'm thinking of and praying for you and your husband today.
Hugs and prayers,
Amanda

Lynette said...

I was deeply touched by the qoute about the ache that won't quit.
Holding you in my thoughts and prayers.
Lynette

Anonymous said...

Please continue to pray and take care of yourself. Know that many on here are silently sitting with you also.
Alicia

Amanda said...

Stacy,

Every word that you write and everything you share is such a tribute to Issac. I am still praying.

Blessings,
Amanda

Deanna @ oneagleswings said...

I found your blog today.

I'm touched by the photos of your sweet, sweet boy. The love that your family surrounded him with is so evident in the photos of his birth day.

I'll be praying for your family. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Stacy--still lifting you and Spencer up to the Lord daily, praying for peace and the strength for you to get through each day.

Anonymous said...

No one knows how you feel. Not even Spencer. Just know that however you feel is okay, acceptable, known to the Lord. You may not recognize the world anymore because nothing is the same. How can people look happy? Celebrate? When you feel so hurt, remain sad, have empty arms that ache to hold your son. Remember, though, that God is holding you in the palm of his hands and that he also is holding Isaac close to him until you are all together again. Your connection to him is your faith that you will see him again. So feel as must all those emotions and never feel guilty about how you react to others, resent your fate, but always love God as he loves you and Spencer and Isaac--and all of us.

Nichelle said...

Still praying for you!!!

Rebekah Joseph said...

I've read your blog for some time, but never really knew what to say. I want you to know that your story, your Isaac, your faith all of it, has made my faith stronger. I have been keeping you in my prayers. My small group at church has as well. I don't know if you have heard it, but there is a song by Hillsong that I heard recently, and thought about you, its called Desert Song. If you have time to listen to it, I hope it blesses you.

Lindsay said...

Hi Stacy,

I heard about your blog from a friend on The Nest. I really enjoy reading your entries.

I also read a blog written by another mother of an angel baby. She is also a nestie. She lost her baby at 20 weeks.

Both she and you have such strong faith. You both help me to see how important it is. If you get a chance you may want to visit her blog. It is www.whenhellomeansgoodbye.blogspot.com.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feeling with us. Isaac is a beautiful baby boy. He is always in my heart and in my prayers.

Delayna said...

Always praying for you guys, and for your sweet Isaac.

Corie said...

Im not sure if I have commented before, but I have followed your story. I have been so blessed by it. Todays post is great and spoke to me. I lost my son in January and I have to say the ache is there. Not as intense, bearable at times and yet it is still there. Honestly now...the hurt I have become comfortable with. Not desiring it to go away, but knowing that this side of Heaven it will be there. Keeps me focused on Eternity where Larson is. Dear friend..I am praying. This is a hard road, yet the most magnificent Comforter is walking right with you and in front of you and behind you. I am on my knees for you...praying. You have walked this road well and I know you will continue to even in the ache and the pain...ITS OK!

The Barron's said...

I pray for you and your husband and think of you everyday. My friend and I were talking at Bible Study about what a beautiful baby Issac is. My heart just aches for you. I admire all of your strength and faith in God! You inspire me!

Anonymous said...

i have followed your blog for a while and wanted to share somethin that i heard at church this weekend with you- when i read your post about words today, i knew immediately that i had to!

i was sitting in church this sunday, listening to our pastor preach. she was talking about having enough oil, or faith, for the long haul. she said something along the lines of "we all know people whose faith shines quietly through the darkest of times." i immediately thought of you and the journey you've been on- how you've shared your story, touched so many people, and through it all, your faith has continued to shine. it is truly an inspiration to so many.

please continue to share your stories and thoughts about isaac and your journey. you have many people, including myself, praying for you.

Travelwahine said...

Everytime I read your blog I cry. I cry for Isaac, I cry for my son Ethan and all of the other babies now in heaven.

You are an inspiration. It was a beautiful post.

Stacy and Spencer, I am here with you.

Kimberly said...

:)

Anonymous said...

Your words are so inspiring. This past Sunday I was given a ticket to spend an evening in December listening to Nancy Guthrie speak. I am so looking forward to her wisdom and testimony.
Continuing to keep you in our prayers.

Erika said...

Stacy, thank you so much for sharing. I love hearing about Isaac, just as I love hearing about my Vivian and Annemarie. You are not alone- and Isaac will never be forgotten. Showering you with hugs and love, Erika

Anonymous said...

Stacy,

I can understand the fear of forgetting, even though I don't think you will EVER forget anything even small about Isaac..... just the sting of losing him will hurt less over time.

Have you considered to continue writing letters to him?

Continuing to pray for you.

-Connie

Sara said...

God bless your heart. We have a bond that no one wants to have. We both know the pain of losing a child. When you said that your heart physically hurt, I went back to those few months immediately after losing Samuel. I remember that feeling so clearly that the pain came back as I read your post.
I am coming up on a year. Samuel's birthday is next Wed. and he went to Heaven five days after. My pain is better. I know that my baby boy is watching out for me, as is yours.

Mrs. Spit said...

Abiding. It's perhaps the strongest gift that God gives us, and the only gift us dead baby mum's know to give each other. I am sorry with you.

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing your sweet Issac with all of us. We will never tire of hearing about him. He will never be forgotten!

I am continually praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stacy, I have been gone a couple days, but I am still always praying for you. You have many of us to "sit" with you through what you so eloquently described in this post. No parent should have to bury their child--it is an out of sequence event. And we will keep by your side as you process your upside down world.

Isaac is and always will be your son. That is heart wrenching and comforting at the same time. I hope all the conflicting emotions somehow come together for you.

Isaac will not be forgotten. I have been travelling up to the Grotto in Emmitsburg, and lighting a candle for Isaac whenever I can. I always light the same one--it is all the way to the left, and its flame dances the brightest because it gets the most wind. It also stays lit for shorter periods of time, but the twinkling of it so bright. I think it is the most beautiful, but most vulnerable candle there. You can bet I will keep it lit.
Much love, Jill

Anonymous said...

In high school, a dear friend of mine passed away from cancer at 15. I remember my mother saying to his mother at the viewing, "there are no words.." Later on, she mentioned to me, when you lose your spouse you become a widow, there is no word in the dictionary for a mother that loses their child. Your son is indeed a beauty...

Joanne said...

There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of you and your precious son. Your story has touched so many lives and caused many to grow in faith. You are in my prayers.

Taylor said...

I'm thinking of you all the time Stacy. I wish you could still have Isaac. I wish we could watch him grow up. But I'm so, so thankful for him and the way he has influenced my heart and the hearts of so many other people. I will never, ever forget him. His picture is in our big frame hanging on our wall that faces the front door.
-- Taylor

Pavla said...

I understand why God wanted to have Isaac in heaven. Because he is so cute!!!
I'll be praying for your family. God bless you!!!
Pavla

pollykinz said...

You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Isaac will never be forgotten, he has touched more lives in his short time here than most of us will in a lifetime.

Julie said...

Your words are so beautiful and I wish I could write as eloquently as you. Those words ring so true to my heart. I remember reading Nancy Gutherie's quote and it really struck home to me.

I had a similar experience with a dear friend who simply sent me a card to say "I don't know what to say, but I'm thinking of you." HOnestly, that meant more to me than what most people had said and I appreciated the thought so much.

Thinking of you - always. And continuing to send prayers for your aching heart.

Foreverloves said...

I really love this entry.

One of the greatest things I remember hearing from people was, "I don't know what to say" or "I don't know what to do". I used to say thank you to them; that it was the PERFECT thing to say.

We think of you often and wish you incredible peace, while knowing that that peace is so hard to find. I don't know that I have much of it, really.

Isaac is known and remembered because of everything you write and everything you do. His name shall live among all the names of our angels, because of who his parents are. His legacy grows greater by the day, and he will never be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Because of you, I hug my son tighter each night.

Anonymous said...

I am with you- wordless- but my thoughts,my prayers, my ache..is with you.

Jen

Jan said...

I never really understood the value of silence until I was 3000 miles from home, with my only sister who was dying of cancer. She was 45.

An 85 year old woman from my church at home called. She had lost both her sons and a husband within 10 years.

She said, "I wish I could say something to make it better, but I know that there is nothing I can say, so I'll sing you a little song to make you think of something else."

She then belted out the WORST rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star ever heard on earth. For the short time the song lasted, I could only think of how to escape the noise.

When she was done, she asked if I had thought about my troubles and sorrow while she was singing. I had to admit that I had other things on my mind.

"Good!" she said. "That's just I wanted to hear. Now let's pray that you remember that minute when you think you have too much sorrow in your heart."

We prayed. I can't say it was all better, but for a minute, it was.

I won't sing for you, but imagine what it would sound like and for just one minute, maybe you can let it go.

In between those minutes, we're praying for you and Spencer. Your story is so amazing and so is your spirit. We can never forget you, Spencer and Issac.

My friend and I pray for you daily and I will protect your ears. She really did want to sing for you.

In HIS love,
With OUR love,
Jan and her friend, Gretchen (Who is now 92.

Anonymous said...

I have never met you, but stumbled upon your blog months ago and have followed it ever since. Each morning I pray for your family and each day, at different times, you enter my thoughts. It is amazing how someone's life can impact another without even meeting. I will continue to pray for you. I pray that God reveals how much your faithfulness has touched the lives of so many. I can say that my life was altered by your life's journey and will never be the same.

Amanda said...

Since someone told me your blog a couple of months ago I have been checking in frequently to see how you have been doing. I'm sitting her bawling after reading your posts as I cannot even begin to imagine your pain.

For the last month every time I've heard someone say Isaac, your sweet little boy is the thing on my mind and I'm positive that I'm not the only one. I have never met you (and most likely never will), but your story has touched me on many levels. Hang in there and know that there are a LOT of people out here sending our best prayers and thoughts your way.