I am writing you this letter just a few hours before the one year anniversary of when you left us that early April morning. In some ways, that painful, horrible day (and the day that followed) feels like it was just yesterday, and in others, it feels like a lifetime ago. A day hasn’t gone by, though, when I have not thought about you, about what my and your Dad’s life would look like had you survived, been born and been in our arms the past 4 months. You aren’t here, though, and no matter how much I wish otherwise, you are not coming back. No matter how much I wish otherwise, the part of me that went with you is not coming back, either, this side of Heaven. No, Little One, you have a piece of your Mommy’s heart, and I pray you can sense that as you sit safely at the feet of Jesus instead of snuggled in my arms.
Though He answered my prayer for a child in a way in which I was not imagining or planning, especially during that time when we were just starting the adoption process and working through the surrogacy option, I need you to know that just because you were not planned, that does not mean you were not loved nor wanted. Had He allowed you to stay, I would have risked, and even given, my life for yours, Beloved One, and I would have done it with great pride and without second thought. I would have done anything in my power to give you life here on Earth, but now I am forced to live with the fact that I am called to continue to live my life without you physically here with me.
Though I never had scientific evidence that you existed until after you were gone, and often doubted what the Holy Spirit told me and instead felt crazy and unstable for believing you were inside of me during the days before you were taken Home, I am thankful that I allowed the Lord to speak so powerfully to me during that time. I am thankful that His presence was shown so powerfully to me during that morning one year ago when I woke up at 5:15am in a cold sweat and with stabbing pain. For those minutes you were still with me, instead of waking your Daddy, I knew the LORD was asking me to go out to the family room and be with Him. I knew He was asking me to pray the same passage (I Sam. 1:1-19) that I had prayed so many hundreds of times over my children. I also knew that He was asking me to give you back to Him, when I was not even 100% sure you existed, to trust Him with my children’s future, just as He had asked of me hundreds of times. Furthermore, I knew He was asking me to put away my doubt and believe what He had told me, to embrace the fact that I was indeed with child, and then just as quickly, let you go. As I got on my knees and cried out to God, the last thing I wanted to do, Little One, was let you go. As I felt my body begin to reject you, I felt as if it was rejecting me, as well.
The days after a medical diagnosis finally told me what I had known all along (that you were gone) were dark and felt like an eternity. I had no idea the grief I would experience or how hard it would be to say goodbye to someone whose existence was never tangibly verified until they were long gone. Many people were very well-intentioned but few and far between had the right words to say, and even those who did, quickly moved on and were not comfortable with the months it took to process my multiple layers of sorrow. I had no idea the grief ran so deep until I began working through it myself, but it was a necessary evil for me to walk through all of it, even if hardly anyone understood or knew how to handle the hot mess I was for a very long time. I couldn’t stand the thought of planning for another child during the time you were supposed to be growing inside of me; it felt, at least at the time, like a betrayal. I was just so afraid of forgetting about you, of not giving your life tremendous value when our Creator knitted you in my womb and gave you personhood from the beginning, even when you weren’t known about. You, Beloved One, are a person who may not have ever had the opportunity to live on Earth but still has a God-ordained, Kingdom purpose far beyond what I could have ever conjured up on my own for my first child.
I have seen how you, as microscopic as you were, have been an encouragement to other women who have also lost their precious babies due to my willingness to speak about you, to not give into the temptation to feel shamed and therefore hide the imprint you made on my heart, on your Dad’s heart. I have seen how speaking about you has caused others to re-visit the memories of the children maybe they lost even several decades ago, after literally 30+ years of trying to convince themselves it was too “silly” to still miss them after all of this time. The Lord has so graciously used you to heal not only your Mommy’s heart but also others’, as well. As much as I would love to have you here with me, Little One, knowing that God still had a plan for your short life brings me great joy and pride; it helps me to see the divine purpose for the horrific loss we have endured. It helps me to continue to understand God’s sovereignty and goodness amidst human suffering, which I know is my life calling and a concept that is a great privilege, yet very, very hard, to truly grasp.
There are still days when I think about how you are gone that my heart aches just as much as it did a year ago. There are days that I wonder like whom you would have looked, whose personality you would have had. There are days I look at my friends’ children, who would have consequently been your friends, and I imagine you playing with them. There are days I laugh and play with those precious children and long to laugh and play with you, to shower you with affection and look into your eyes and tell you just how much I love you. As time moves on, though, I am learning to celebrate the eternal difference you have made in my life and the lives of others’ more so than dwell on the natural desire I have to be the mother of an almost-four-month old, whom I get to tangibly love every day, instead of the mother of a child who is absent from the body but present with the Lord. His ways and thoughts truly are higher than ours, though, and I know He has answered my prayer and has used you for His glory. No matter how many children we welcome into our home, you will never be replaced; you will never be forgotten; you will always be loved, just as much as they are.
Until we meet again, I love you, Beloved One, and always will.