grief, losing a child

Lean In To It

“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” Psalm 13:2

The grief of losing a child is immeasurable. It is a weight that lays over me like a heavy heavy blanket. Having other children I have learned, multiplies that grief because I am also grieving for the hearts of my living children. I am broken by the hole of losing my daughter and also bearing the burden of her three siblings who have lost a little sister. I am watching my 3 year old play that her baby dolls are dying and being buried… I am sitting with a 6 year old who wants to know why Jesus didn’t let Ellie come back like in the book “Heaven is for Real”… and explaining to a 9 year old that just because we didn’t get the answer we wanted, God is still sovereign. I am watching a 5 year old just a whisper away from death, and wondering if I still believe in miracles.

I know how this story ends, but that does not stop the enemy from planting doubts.

Mark and I started attending a Grief Share group this week. We had some challenges getting there, and almost didn’t make it, but we sure know now that there is something special in store for us. We met a young couple whose baby girl was born at the same hospital the day Ellianna died, and their baby girl, Lily Grace, died ten days later. What an amazing source of comfort it is to have someone who almost literally stood in our shoes. God places the right people in our lives at just the right time. It has been frustrating to us to feel like we are stuck while everyone else has moved on with life… our group is a place where we can be in that spot with others who are walking the journey right along with us. If you are grieving, or need to grieve a loss that you haven’t yet, find a Grief Share near you… it is a powerful resource for an impossible hurdle…

Someone told us grief is something you have to go THROUGH. You can’t go over it, you can’t go around it, you have to go through it…so LEAN into it. Like an ocean wave. That is what we are doing. Sometimes the waves are gentle, sometimes they knock us off our feet, but we are in a journey we can’t avoid.

Please don’t stop praying for us…

Please leave me a comment; it lets me know you’re listening!

faith, funeral, grief, losing a child

Saying Goodbye

The Sunday after Ellianna died I had no intentions of going to church, but I couldn’t bear to let Jacob, Baylie, and Bella be taken without me…what if they needed me?! So I went through the motions to get us there. I held myself together right up until the music started for worship. The tears wouldn’t stop. In the depths of my hurt I couldn’t even offer any praise. The only line I found the strength to utter was “My hiding place is You.” God was there all along—our worship leader told the crowd to sing it out again, but this time to sing it for the people around them that were at a place where they couldn’t. I knew that was me. All around me hands lifted high, holding us up, not even knowing who we were or what we were going through. Our ever-present help in times of trouble.

Wednesday night was Ellie’s visitation. Mark and I went early to have some time alone with her. Hard doesn’t even begin to describe it. She was so beautiful in her tiny white dress, a purple flower perched above her fluffy mohawk. She looked just like she was sleeping. I had been wearing the Piglet necklace Mark had gotten her at Disneyland… we wanted it to stay with her, so I took it off and fastened it around her neck. So sweet. The other kids arrived with Mark’s parents and we led them into the room to see their sister. All three of them crumpled into tears as soon as they saw her. Just when I thought my heart couldn’t break any more, it did. It was a hard night. Each new person that came brought more memories and emotions. We were so thankful to be surrounded by so many family and friends.

Thursday came though we willed it not to. Her service was beautiful. Just the tribute we wanted, with heartfelt music and sharing from close friends and family. As we followed her tiny casket outside I realized this was the last time she would be in our church. The ride to the cemetery was long and peaceful. The kids shared smiles about getting to ride in a limo…their laughter a balm to our bleeding hearts. Her graveside service was brief, and then we stayed behind to watch her be lowered into her final resting place. The great depth of her grave was terrifying to the kids, especially Jacob, but somehow it made me feel she was safe. The day continued with a reception time to visit with friends and family…

This past Sunday was our first day to just be a family again with our relatives and friends having traveled back home. Although the stillness seemed to bring more reality to missing her, it was also a time of peace and reflection. I got her room back in order and placed her flowers in many rooms of the house. I sat in her rocking chair and rocked…and just missed her.

So many have passed on words of encouragement, and as I have told them, even with our faith the hurt does not lessen. We will have a time of grieving where even though we have hope, we will have an ache and an emptiness that cannot be soothed. Ellianna’s death doesn’t have to be God’s will. If everything was God’s will, there would be no reason for us to have free will. We believe He is grieving with us. I’m sure there will be many stages we go through, and for us, the right thing to do is to embrace each one.

Each day holds special memories, sweet smiles, and painful reminders…each night, hollow emptiness and vivid dreams…. Through each tear we have seen promises of tomorrows and healing of yesterdays. One foot in front of the other, our journey continues.

Please leave me a comment; it lets me know you’re listening!