Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Life is a Gift.

Today is a kind of melancholy day. I've gone back and forth on the memories and emotions of this day for 2 years now.
This day 3 years ago my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. They had tried for 11 years to conceive a baby and had given up. Then that spring they got a surprise. We were all ecstatic for them. She had a wonderful pregnancy and it was fun to watch her belly grow and she glow. We had something in common to talk about (we are very different).
At the 20 week sex check, they were given agonizing news. She had lost most of the amniotic fluid and the baby not only had no kidneys, but his little lungs had not developed past 12 weeks gestation.
I stood in numb shock when she sobbed the news to me over the telephone.
To make a long story short, she and my brother-in-law made the agonizing decision to continue to pregnancy (even though by at least one doctor they were encouraged to abort).
I got to be there just after the birth of their precious little boy. He was beautiful and perfect looking. He had lived a full hour without ever taking a breath.
I was privileged to hold him. To touch his tiny head and stroke the soft hair. It was surreal. By the time I arrived at the hospital, he had already passed away. He looked like he was sleeping peacefully...only he was so still. I remember choking back the sobs and wanting to holler "WHY?" I remember curling his little fingers around mine and inwardly feeling guilty that I had 3 precious little ones of my own out in the waiting room. I wanted to gather them into my arms and never let them go. It also made me aware of just how precious and short life truly is and how each day; each breath we take is a gift given to us by our own Father. I held him for a long time.
My sister-in-law gave birth just 5 days later to another beautiful baby girl. I was at the funeral of my little nephew. His casket was the size of shoe box. I held her baby a couple of weeks later and then went home and cried myself to sleep that night. She too was so tiny and so perfect. She was still living and my sister's baby boy was not. I didn't think it was unfair. It was just such a happy and such a sad time. Death and Life being mourned and celebrated within the same week and weeks thereafter. I wanted to be there for both of them in their sorrow and joy and it was a yoyo of opposite emotions.
I don't pretend to know God's ways. I know He was crying with us that day and the weeks and months that followed. I am not angry. I have seen death too many times in my life--even the death of young children to be angry. I just long for heaven so much more. Heaven, where the author of death will never be allowed to work again. Heaven, where I will once again get to embrace those who've gone before me. Heaven, where life NEVER ENDS no matter what the age.
I will cry and remember today my little nephew. I will go to my niece's 3rd birthday on Sunday and rejoice for her life.
My sister and I still have something in common. We are both mothers. She may not get to raise him, but she is still a mother. It has brought us closer together. Grief takes many paths and I've been given a gift in walking through it with her. Life is so precious. Every child is a gift whether they live in this world or not. Life is sweet and after walking through this experience as a family I see even more why Jesus told His disciples, "to let the little children come to me." It's made my job as a mother to my own and then a caregiver to others more profound and important. Life is a gift.


Kristen said...

How heartbreaking. I feel for your sister and am lifting her up in prayer for extra peace today.

lauren said...

wow.. thank you for sharing. yes it does make me say an extra thank you for these babies.

Living Creatively said...

Ohhhh...that is just heart-wrenching. I just want to hug your sister. I'll be praying for her peace, and that someday she will get to raise a child...

Life is a gift. I don't take it for granted.

Thank you for sharing, Melinda. I hope God will give you all peace, even though I know pain remains for such a long time.

the schilps said...

we constantly live a life of tension. thanks for that reminder, melinda. thanks for seeking Christ, and verbalizing that, in the midst of it.