Our girls should be 2 days old (ish) today. Our due date was July 22nd. God has given us special grace. This week was not nearly so difficult as I expected.
Last week is an entirely different story. I think the anticipation of this week became the straw that broke the camel's back. I was at a party with a lady's small group we used to have at church and 90% of the conversation was about pregnancy, childbirth, co-sleeping, homeschooling, potty training, and all sorts of other things that flow abundant from the mouths of mommies to 0-2 year olds, all of whom my dear friends now are. It was difficult to see that in the years since our precious group met, all of my friends have moved on to give birth to one and sometimes two children, while we're still waiting. I struggle so much with comparing and asking the "what about us?" I knew that if I stayed at the party, I'd go on a downward spiral and I just couldn't go there. Not again. God saw fit to protect me from that and I made a quick exit. Each time, it hurts a little less, though I miss them all the more. I did come home and have myself a good cry and a lot of fretting with God, but He protected my heart from plummeting to the absolute depths of my grief. I don't know if that makes any sense or not.
What that evening did though I think was open the floodgate a little early, which made this week so much less overwhelming. I'm grateful that He saw fit to not let the waters build up too strongly before releasing them. Honestly I stressed so much about the approach of the due date that when it finally came, I could make it through it because it wasn't as bad as I thought.
As much as I miss and love our daughters, I am relieved that their due date has come and gone. While we were still in the time of "their" pregnancy, I always felt like I couldn't move on. I felt like that was "their" time and any thoughts of moving toward another transfer would be either betraying or attempting to replace them. And not that I've moved on from them now. In terms of love for them and memory of them, I never will. But I do feel now like a book has closed and we have opened a new one. A "this-is-our-new-normal, without-them book," rather than a "we-should-be-waiting-for-them, not ________" book. The feeling that I'm no longer stealing time away that should have been being spent differently is really freeing.
But dear friends, I am so blessed. In my loss, God has given abundantly to me.
My dear sweet husband. How I wish you all could know him! He is truly the sweetest, kindest, most gentle, loving, faithful man I have ever met. In his grief he has shown even more of his tender spirit, and that has been such a gift to me. Though I grieve to see his heart ache like this, I am blessed to have been witness to another part of his soul. What an amazing husband and papa he is.
My dear friend Amie. Amie sends me notes when I need them most. Amie has the kind of walk with God that I long to have. She is so in-tune with God's compassionate heart and she is so sensitive to His promptings when He puts people on her heart. Around Mother's Day, she sent me this note
Spent extra time praying for you today as you mourn your babies. We heard an amazing sermon today that was such a blessing. Our family visited Marylou today and left some flowers by her grave, we took two aside and threw them into the wind on the lookout view over the cemetery in honor of your twins and prayed for you as a family. WE love you!
I hope one day I will be able to minister to you to even a fraction of the degree that you have blessed my heart. Thank you for everything. In every interaction with you, I learn more about the heart of God.
Dear Cindy-You are so generous to me with your friendship and mentorship. Thanks for picking up the pieces, so very many times and for being so tireless with your mercy and love.
My friend Erica. Erica is another who has the gift of compassion and mercy. She reaches out to me so faithfully and is such an example to me in so many ways.
Heather. Dear Heather! Fellow mommy at heart! I can't wait to meet your little Snowflakes. How blessed I am by your friendship. Thank you for continuing to reach out to me even though I've been lousy at reciprocating.
Grandpa and Grandma-thank you for your constant reminders of love. Thank you for remembering everything, always. I have a box full of notes and cards that I will always treasure. Thank you for loving us through your gifts of time and encouragement.
T-Thank you for being the sister I never had.
Grace and Niki, my due-date sisters. I miss all of our angels. And I love you both. Thank you for your friendship. Though I hate that any of us are going through this, I am grateful God gave us each other!
Jessica-your friendship, your love for others, your compassion, your wisdom and your wit teach me so much! I hope that I can be as intentional of a mom as you are. You are truly one of the most gifted women I know.
My sweet godson. He truly is balm for my soul. I love his little laugh, the joy in his heart, seeing the world through his eyes. Thank you, sweet friends, for honoring us by allowing us to share in his life.
Diana-our journeys are different, but so similar. Thank you for being so consistent in your friendship, your sweet emails, the things you remember!
Sweet PJ. You have the Lord's Shepherd's heart. It's beautiful and we are so thankful for it. Thank you for dedicating your life to the Lord's service and to our church family.
All of the friends and strangers who have reached out to us through this blog. Thank you for the notes of encouragement, the admonishments, the resources, the prayers and the wisdom. The internet has been used for a lot of awful things, but I have seen through this blog how God can redeem it and truly use it for His name's sake.
I always hesitate when I consider posting something like this because I don't want anyone to feel left out or under appreciated. I truly hope I don't communicate that to anyone. This season of loss has forced me to focus on how much I've truly been given and I want to shout from the rooftops what a great God we have, and publicly praise Him for these gifts He has bestowed upon me. All of you are an example to me. In some respects I feel like putting off parenting until I have learned all that God has to teach me through all of you. However, I know if I did that, I'd never be done. Christendom is a better place because of you. I am a better woman because of you.
Thank you, sweet Jesus, for using the loss of my girls to give these generous gifts to me. Grace and peace to you, dearest friends!