Hello & Goodbye

After one of the most difficult weeks of my life I’ve escaped to the local Starbucks once again to blog through the sea of emotions that have been relentlessly tossing me back & forth.

*Trigger Warning* The following post addresses infant loss.

You see, I have had the privilege of seeing each of my brother’s children born. Seeing my nephew {his oldest} take his first breath was one of the most amazing events I’ve ever experienced. Tears filled my eyes in response to the thankfulness my heart felt to be able to witness such a miracle. The love I felt for him in that moment was nothing short of profound. Still today I love him to pieces.

Last Tuesday as my newest niece made her way out of the womb & into this world tears of a different sort streamed down my face. There was the same excitement to see her beautiful face, fingers, & toes but all the joy of seeing her was wrapped in a blanket of deep sadness. A sadness that comes when a baby is born sleeping.

My last post Goats & Unicorns spoke of how Charlotte was the cutest one horned goat ever. Man, she was even more beautiful than that. Her head was full of dark hair & I couldn’t stop peeking at her adorable toes. I showed them off to anyone who came in to check her out. Even in such painful circumstances I still was and am a proud Auntie.

Watching my brother & sis in-love process & grieve. Taking pictures of their last good bye to her on this earth. Driving them home. Going to the funeral home the next day. These were all sacred, beautiful, gut wrenching, & devastating things I never would have imagined doing. I can’t recall hearing or feeling it’s just not fair so many times since I was a child. But alas there aren’t really any better words, it really is just not fair.

As I walked through the halls of the hospital, rode the elevator, made myself eat some food I kept passing by people that had absolutely no idea what I had just witnessed. It really gave more meaning than ever to the saying “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle.” 

We don’t need to handle each other like fragile vases, but we do need to be kind. I saw a sign today that read: Kind people are my kinda people. I really loved that.

These couple of weeks have been what one of my favorite authors Glennon calls brutiful. {Brutal & beautiful}

It was beautiful to see the strength of this mother who gave birth to a baby she would only be able to hold for a few hours.

It was beautiful seeing my brother love on his wife, comfort, & support her during such a difficult process.

It was beautiful to see the friends that have become family to them be a part of encouraging her.

It was beautiful the way the nurses loved on us all, gently guiding us through everything. Helping us to enjoy what we were able. Looking into sweet Charlotte’s face. Taking the time to see her, know her, admire her beauty, ensuring that she would not be forgotten. She matters.

It was beautiful holding her, trying to memorize all the beautiful details of her face {& those beautiful toes!} dreaming of what heaven’s lullabies must sound like.

It was brutal not hearing her cry or feeling her breathe.

It was brutal rocking her for the first & last time.

It was brutal explaining to my son that: no, she would not be opening up her eyes.

It was brutal watching a momma hold onto her babe & not wanting to let go.

It was brutal seeing the broken hearts of those I love.

It was brutal leaving the hospital without her with us.

Life is brutiful.

I know these brutal times will help us be even more thankful for the beautiful times. But in the thick of it, today, I’m not so much concerned about the “why” or making sense of it all. I’m just sad. I’m sad she won’t grow up on earth for us to watch & enjoy. I’m sad my brother & sis in-love have to endure all that this journey brings with it.

We are still fighting to focus on every last thing that can be made good from it all.

Witnessing & enduring sad events is the engine for empathy.

Empathy leads to depression or gratefulness. And it provides opportunity to be inspired to pray & or find a way to help.

I believe that it’s always important to have an eye that looks for ways to help others, even in the smallest of ways.  

Self care is important & necessary to be able to help others. But we shouldn’t find ourselves in a place where we sacrifice taking care of others to take care of ourself or visa versa. Take care of yourself but not at the price of caring for others. We should help the two {self care & caring for others} cohabit together.

My sis in-love is doing just this as she pumps milk to donate to babes in the NICU. I’m even  more blown away by her strength & selflessness. It hurts her both physically & emotionally but she’s pushing through for the sake of others, for the sake of Charlotte Ava. She has decided that caring for others during this difficult time is a way good can come from all of this. I couldn’t be more proud to have her as a part of our family.

So I’m sitting here reflecting on the week behind me & the week ahead of  me that holds Charlotte’s memorial celebration. I’m brokenhearted. I’m also finding comfort & am thankful that scripture says God is close to the brokenhearted. It doesn’t say stop being brokenhearted, it says He binds up our wounds & is close to us.

The healing WILL come. Slowly & little by little, it will come.

It’s still not fair. But He promises to help us turn it into something good & I have no doubt that He will do just that. Not taking the pain away, because we will always have those random twangs, but helping us arrange how it lives within us. Charlotte is a part of us all now, as is losing her.

Through it all, we keep moving forward, together.

Namesste,

Sarah

 

12 thoughts on “Hello & Goodbye

  1. Beautifully written. I love how you said this: scripture says God is close to the brokenhearted. It doesn’t say stop being brokenhearted, it says He binds up our wounds & is close to us.
    Life is indeed brutiful.
    Love and prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been praying and will continue to pray for this precious family and everyone that precious Charlotte touched and will touch. Sadness will stay for quite a while. We buried our baby granddaughter March 2016. She was not supposed to be born, except maybe for a few hours or a couple of days at best. And yet, Olivia didn’t know that. So we held her and loved her and kept sadness close because we knew what would happen. “Livie” lived for 14 months and then as her mom held her, she slipped into heaven. It was heart-wrenching watching her siblings who loved on her mourn for her. And the healing has been slow. She will always be part of our lives. Thousands knew her story of Trisomy 18. They knew what a miracle she was. But Livie touched so many. Just as Charlotte has. Thank you for your beautiful post. I will continue praying for this journey ahead which no one chose for you. Give grace every day. And you’re right, God is near the broken-hearted. So close you can hear his heart beat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your story!
      One of the few things I find good about grief is that even though each story of loss is unique to the the person experiencing it, loss binds us to each other in special way. Grieving with you & your family as well.
      We will keep Moving forward together♥️

      Like

  3. Thanks, Sarah, for sharing so vulnerably the loss of your niece. I’m glad you’ve got such wonderful memories of Charlotte; a blessing for the times ahead.

    Just over 12 years ago, my sister had a caesarian to deliver beautiful Jessica – perfect with her gorgeous face, fingers and toes: and yet no breathing. All of me just wanted to breathe breath into her.

    I will forever treasure the hour I held her – sadly, now I understand the term dead weight. My sister and family were able to take a couple of days to say goodbye to her in the hospital. Not long after the funeral parlour held her birthday service – including helium balloons and one of their number (a minister) dressed as a clown, with friends helping with hand painting and bubble blowing. Later I helped my sister, husband and their two sons take the balloons to the children’s ward of the hospital where Jessica was born.

    Yes, healing will come, with precious memories of Charlotte. I enjoy remembering Jessica, especially on her birthday each year with my sister & others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really is such a brutiful & sacred gift to hold our precious sleeping angels. I’m so sorry for your loss, but am thankful that like our family you were able to celebrate sweet Jessica. Thank you for sharing your story.
      “All of me just wanted to breathe breath into her.” I really understand that & having someone understand is a sad comfort to my heart.♥️

      Like

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