Getting Through A Loss, Not Over One

March 28, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

There are so many cliches out there like “This too shall pass”, “Time heals all wounds”, etc. etc.  I could probably list about a dozen or so but I won’t.  Trust me, when you are going through a loss, simple words of advice offer little comfort. Some people will say ‘you will get through this’.  And they are right, you will.  Others, however, will say, ‘you will get over it’ and will expect you to ‘return to normal’ rather quickly.  My friends, these people are incorrect.  First, there is no returning to the ‘normal’ you were before; second, you will never truly get over your loss.  Your grief for your baby will forever be in your hearts.  It might not be as intense, but it will always be there. Why? Simply put, our hearts will never ever stop loving those who have gone on before us. 

There are some weeks when I feel like every day since we lost Katelyn has brought with it another learning experience.  It is amazing how reactions from other people have had such an impact on us.  We could have written a book on all of the different ways people treated us after Katelyn died, including the words that comforted and those that didn’t.  Some friends and family chose avoidance, others compassion, others were there with us every step of the way, and still others brushed us off like we were making a big deal out of something that was not that important at all.  Following a loss like ours, it quickly becomes very apparent who truly, completely and without a doubt has Christ’s love in their hearts.  This love shone and continues to shine above all others.  What surprised us the most was the reaction from some close friends and family who claim to love the Lord with their whole being, and yet were part of the avoidance group and still remain there.  

I have to admit, there were times when I was not always that shoulder that someone needed to cry on, or that available listener in the middle of the night.  Since we lost Katelyn, though, I look at these situations differently.  I am also more cognizant of the fact that sometimes when people are flat out mean and hurtful, there could be something they are experiencing that is causing their behavior.  The main reason is because there is no way for me to tell at face value what trials a person is going through, has already experienced, or is about to experience.  Maybe they are not even going through a trial at all. Maybe they are just miserable with life and feel better when they make everyone else feel as miserable as they do.  No matter the reason, I now fully understand that nothing I can say or do will change that person’s heart.  Only God can. 

I remember a few weeks after Katelyn died and going back to work and feeling the pity around me and the sadness.  My wound was still fresh so I was emotionally not ‘all together’ as you might say.  I shared my story with a select few individuals at first, and then to more as time went on.  I remember vividly that there were some people who (though they did not voice this) thought I was loony or something because my faith in Jesus had grown stronger.  I was gathering all my strength from Him.  To be completely honest, I don’t think Scott or I would have been able to get through losing our baby if it wasn’t for the strength and hope we receive from Jesus. 

A few weeks after going back to work I was literally torn to pieces during a conference call with a colleague in the company.  Since this incident happened so soon after losing Katelyn, my emotions were still very raw and close to the surface.  Rather than lashing out at this person, I used my new defense mechanism; I cried.  There were at least 10 or so people on the phone who sat on the other side of the phone silent during the whole exchange.  I received multiple instant messages from others on the phone telling me “You’re doing fine”, or “Don’t worry about it, you’re doing a good job”, etc.  Not one of them spoke up though; they were all too afraid to stand up to this person.  Was the verbal lashing I received valid?  Honestly, no.  But at that time I did not have the strength to fight back.  Professionally, I had poured myself into my work as much as I could, but emotionally I was worn down.  Why am I telling you this story? Because once you experience the loss of a baby like we did, other things that were once top priorities fall more towards the middle.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a very passionate person and still pour myself into everything that I do, but there are some things that are not as important as they once were.  The main thing I have learned is that I cannot get through this or any other less than positive experience on my own.  I need Jesus.

Back to the whole premise of this post; I am getting through this loss, but will never fully get over it.  And that is okay.  Getting over it to me is like forgetting about Katelyn all together. That will never happen.

There is no way I could even list all of the general and specific knowledge we have gained about people, about grief, about loss, about hope, about healing, about listening, about resting, about trusting in God, and just about getting through. I do know one thing for sure, for true healing we need to give it all to God; all our fears, our sadness, our grief.  Only He can truly give us rest and heal our hearts.  There will always be days when we break down and feel lost with our grief, but that only makes us human.  It is on these occasions that we need to pray for Jesus to carry us through.  If on these days you sometimes don’t know exactly how to ask Jesus to help you through, meditate on the words in Psalm 71:1-3:

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
   let me never be put to shame!
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
   incline your ear to me, and save me!
Be to me a rock of refuge,
   to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me,
   for you are my rock and my fortress.

Never fear. God will never leave you or forsake you. Hold that promise close to your heart knowing that He is cradling your baby in Heaven.














Pray For Those Left Behind

March 21, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

After Katelyn went to Heaven, we received many cards and letters from family members, friends, church members, pastors and even people we barely knew.  Just simply knowing that so many people had us in their prayers made each day a little easier.  We could never have endured our loss without the prayerful support of those close to us.

We also received more than a few cards from people with notices that money was donated so that Katelyn would be part of a Mass or a Service conducted to pray for the dead.  There are many groups and churches that claim to be Bible-based and Christian, but I can say with true certainty that Katelyn doesn’t need our prayers, and neither do any of the other babies who were born without life.  They are with Jesus, so what prayers could they possibly need?

Growing up in a strict Catholic church and school, I remember days when as a class we would pray for our loved ones who had passed since they were supposedly in a place called Purgatory.  We were taught that when people die, they go to this place and are basically there waiting for enough people to ‘pray’ for them so that they can gain passage into Heaven.  So what about the people who choose Jesus and yet have no family or loved ones to pray for them?  Do they just stay in limbo for all of eternity?  Absolutely not. Why? The answer can be found in the Bible.  Simply put, there is no mention of ‘Purgatory’ in the Bible.  Jesus never taught about a place such as this.  He did not offer us the gift of eternal life with the stipulation that we would only see Him if enough people ‘prayed us in’.  We either choose Jesus and follow Him, or we don’t.  There is no gray area.  If you need confirmation, read John 3:16: “For God so Loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus died for our sins so that we could be forgiven if only we ask this of Him and repent.  Again, we have a choice – choose Jesus or choose the world. Period. 

Have faith that our babies are with our Heavenly Father.  It is only through God’s grace that we have the choice to follow Jesus and live for Him, knowing that we will see Him one day and our babies too.

 So, though we appreciate the gestures of these kind souls, we want them and everyone else to know the truth.  Heaven is the only place these babies ever knew or will ever know.  They are with our Heavenly Father.  So do they need our prayers? Absolutely not.  Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 18:3 “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.”  

So who needs prayer? The families of these babies.  They are the ones feeling the loss.  Their babies were Still Born, just in Heaven, not on earth.   

A Loss is a Loss

March 16, 2009 by Audreys · Leave a Comment 

I finally made it to the point where I was beginning to heal enough so that I could talk about Katelyn without crying and bring her up in ordinary conversation with a smile on my face.  I would try to imagine how much fun she was having with all of the other babies that were born in Heaven, and try to imagine how Jesus was holding each of them at once.  I was healing.  But yesterday morning, for the first time in a long time, a wave of grief hit me so unexpectedly that I was unable to cope with it on my own.

Yesterday marked 7 months since Katelyn went to Heaven to meet Jesus.  To be completely honest, I wasn’t paying much attention to the dates until it hit me right in the middle of a church service yesterday morning.  It was a family-centered service where the children who normally went off to classes stayed with their parents for the service. Surrounded by children, and watching some of them run up to the stage to volunteer to sing in a special ‘volunteer choir’ and listening as they sang their hearts out brought tears to my eyes.

Toward the end of the service, there were a few guests who spoke about adoption and how God placed a desire on their hearts to adopt one or more special needs children.  The one couple spoke of a very early miscarriage (after just a few weeks) and how devastating that was for them.  I then thought to myself, how can a loss that early on be nearly as devastating as losing a child who is within days of being born. I admit I was ashamed at my thoughts, because a loss is a loss, but I have trouble relating their situation to ours since we were within days of holding our newborn baby girl and then her little heart stopped for no medical reason at all.

I just sat for the remainder of the service weeping.  I was emotionally spent and feeling very guilty about my thoughts about the other couples’ loss.  I took one look at Katelyn’s picture that was in my Bible and tears started to stream down my face.  I honestly could not have stopped them on my own.  Sometimes people may say I am too sensitive and emotional, but I would rather be able to show my emotions than keep them to myself.

So what helped? Praying for God to forgive me for my thoughts and asking one of the pastors at Harvest to pray for Scott and me.  I felt as if we just lost Katelyn yesterday; the sadness was that overpowering.  After he prayed with us, I felt completely covered with such a peace that I can’t even describe it.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because even though Scott and I launched this website to help other parents of stillborn babies, we still struggle ourselves.  After all, we are only human.  Our strength comes from the Lord.  The only way we will get through this is through Him.  He loves us so much, and holding on to His promises keeps us going every day.   

So, for those parents who have suffered early miscarriages, late miscarriages, stillbirths, and early infant death, I want you to know that God loves you so much that He was there with open arms when our babies took their last breaths.  And I learned a valuable lesson yesterday; no matter when our babies died, we all suffered, and one loss is not greater than another.  Know that my prayers are with you, even though we have never met.