My wife, Laura, and I lost our grandbaby, our precious Rosalee, Tuesday, July 13.
A few months earlier, our son, Trey, and daughter-in-law, Maria, had shared the news of the pregnancy by handing me a pacifier. “Huh,” I said, not getting the message. “It’s a binky.”
Long pause, as everyone started to smile.
“Wait…are you guys pregnant?!”
Smiles, hugs and laughter all around.
Maria had been sick quite a bit in the weeks between, but we chalked it up to morning sickness. Then came the text message one night that rocked our world:
“Taking Maria to the hospital. She might be going into labor. Please pray!”
She was only 23 weeks along.
Sure, I was concerned, but I knew God could handle this. Our daughter, Jess, a nurse, told us the grim statistics of the chances of survival for a 23-week-old baby.
“I’m not worried,” I said. “God doesn’t care about the statistics, and neither do I.”
A while later, Jess and I were on the front porch when the phone rang. Mid-sentence, she stopped and said, “Wait….shhh….that might be them.”
A few seconds later, Laura screamed, “Oh my GOD, Trey!! Oh my GOD, I’m so sorry! STILLBORN!!”
Our three-year-old granddaughter, Jenna-Maria, was wailing, repeating the words her Nana kept sobbing: “This wasn’t supposed to happen!” Our eight-year-old grandson, Joshua, just cried and cried and cried. It was nearly a howling, from the pit of his soul, man. It was gut-wrenching, I kid you not. Even now, I can’t get the sound of his cries outta my head.
Oh, Lord give me strength, I’m crying as I type this.
That’s all I’m prepared to say about the whole affair right now. I literally can’t go deeper into the story at this point.
Fast-forward to this week.
A few weeks after the funeral.
After visits to our precious Rosalee’s gravesite, while we patiently wait for the headstone to arrive.
Our granddaughter, Jenna-Marie, at the grave of Rosalee.
Lord, You know I’ve done my best to be strong for everyone. Now I suppose it’s my turn to feel. I hear You knocking on the door of my spirit, trying to break through, trying to make me FEEL the brunt of the horror of loss.
It’s just so much easier to keep hiding.
But not healthy, I know. I am moving toward some kind of moment—or moments—I’ve never wanted. The Holy Spirit is asking me to confront the full impact of my grief, and that scares the daylights outta me.
When others have traversed this dark valley, I’ve carried on, throwing out an “I’ll be praying for you.” All the while, however, secretly praying, “Please, Jesus…please don’t ever take one of my babies. Don’t ever let me be able to personally relate to their torment.”
Yet here we are.
Now one of my own is in His arms, and there’s NOTHING I can do about it.
In thinking about what awaits me, the confrontation of my grief, I whittled out this little poem:
“The Fragility of Grief”
By Rob Weddle
“I feel so fragile, Lord
I’m also thinkin’ this grief is a luxury I can’t afford
I’ve been the crying shoulder
The leaning rock
The solid oak tree
So why is it You now lead me onto grief’s scarcely-frozen lake?
I see the bitter waters whooshing beneath me
Just below the crackling surface
That’s freaking terrifying, God
I don’t wanna go there
Please don’t make me go there!
Why can’t I carry on as I am now?
Veiling the anguish?
The tiny girl we so hoped for…
…the one who slipped quietly away on what should
have been an average Tuesday night…
…is in Your everlasting arms, Jesus
I know that
I have not a shred of doubt
So, why can’t that be enough?
Why can’t just knowing be enough?!
I don’t wanna step out on this boney pond
The grief, Lord. The grief! Please shield me.
I just wanna go on
Go on being the pillar
Go on masking pain
Hiding from rain
Tricking my brain
Cheating my heart of the chance to feel
Is it not better to disappear within a shroud of deceit?
No, maybe not
Ok, Lord. I trust You. I’ve always trusted You.
I got my walkin’ shoes on
So, as the Joker said…
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18
“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4