Last night as I was reaching into my youngest daughter’s closet for a jacket that was way in the back, I found our little memory box. It was resting on a hanger right above the jacket I was reaching for, almost as if it was strategically placed there. I had almost forgotten about this little box. It isn’t because I forgot what it symbolized. No, I could never forget that. But, I believe, I had pushed this so far into the back of my mind because of the pain involved in the entire situation. You see, ten years ago I was pregnant and due to deliver in October of 2003. When we first heard the wonderful news that we were expecting a precious little baby, we were filled with so much joy and happiness! We were smiling so widely and dancing around with glee. That feeling was short lived as was the pregnancy as I was rushed to the hospital in extreme pain with a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. We were told at that time by the medical team that it wasn’t a “viable pregnancy” as it implanted in my tube instead, and as it tried to grow, it did so against the walls of the tiny tube thus causing it to rupture. I had emergency surgery, and due to the removal of the ruptured tube, my chances of becoming pregnant again were slim. We felt as if one moment we were happily swimming in the sea when a tidal wave appeared suddenly, slamming us into the rocks along the shore. We were crushed beyond comprehension. To say we were devastated by this news does not even begin to explain how we truly felt at that time.
This little memory box was hand painted by my friend, Jennifer. Inside the little box is a note still safely tucked inside that reads:
Memories Last Forever
I painted each stroke with love for your child
And said silent prayers for you
May you find inner strength to cope with your loss
Allowing others to help you through
Though you must feel alone please know that you are not
As I reach out to show you I care
You can place items of love in this memory box
To hold dear to your heart or to share.
This little box touched my heart tremendously when Jennifer sent it to me all the way from her home in California. She took the time to acknowledge the painful loss we had just endured and offered support in our time of need. She validated our child that should have been but just could not be. Whereas people like the medical staff and our relatives and friends moved right along after saying, “It wasn’t a viable pregnancy,” we could not do the same. Our lives were forever changed that day. We were so excited and filled with such love for this little one when we first heard the news that I was pregnant! We had such joy and happiness in our hearts and were looking forward to the day that we would see this precious little one’s face. The love we felt was indescribable. It was very much a viable pregnancy to us. We had such love, high hopes, and dreams that just would not come to be for this little one here on this earth. Jennifer will never know how much it meant to us then and still means to us to this very day that she took the time to hand paint this box for us. Every single stroke of her brush was done in pure love. At a time when she could not do any thing else to ease the pain we felt, she took out her painting supplies and got to work on this box just for us. Her loving kindness is displayed in her beautiful painting on this box with our little one listed. She didn’t just paint a generic box. She deliberately painted this box for us by placing our little one’s name on the box as well.
Although these last few posts have appeared full of sadness and sorrow, I shared them as it is a time of reflection around the holidays. I can relate to the pain that others feel. I am not some type of super woman that is immune to heartache and pain. I feel it, too. I allow the feelings for a little while. I think back on that time in my life and how it shaped me and molded me to this very day.
This entire message is not doom and gloom, but if you have stayed with me to this point, I want to let you hear me shout my praises to God above. Why would I when I lost a child? Because God picked me up out of my pit of despair, carried me in His loving arms through this storm in my life, and in HIS timing, He provided a miracle for our family. While I did not have this little one to love in this life, I still love … I always will love … and ONE day I believe that I will see my little baby in Heaven. I will finally get to cradle my baby in my arms, kiss the little forehead, feel the little tiny fingers wrapped around my own. I look forward to that day when I see my little one in Heaven. I believe my baby is there. I believe that my sister was there at the time the tube ruptured and the pregnancy was no more. I believe that God placed this baby into my sister’s arms for her to love, care for, and nurture this little one in Heaven. While I was here on this earth caring for my sister’s baby that she left behind at only two weeks old, my sister was now in Heaven caring for my own little baby.
The miracle that I spoke of … although my chances of conceiving were slim at this point, God still had the final say! We went through procedure after procedure, and after one disappointment after another God, after crying out to God, begging and pleading with Him, He reached down His great and mighty hand and performed a miracle for us. God gave me the gift of my miracle baby that was born in late 2004. God took a nearly hopeless situation and turned it into something so very beautiful. God’s light and love offered hope for our hurting hearts … that is the message I hope that you will receive today. In a situation where our hearts were shattered, God picked up the broken pieces, kissed every single one and wrapped them in His love. His light shined down over our lives and turned the darkness we felt into light. He offered hope. He provided a miracle.
This morning I remembered my little one that is in Heaven. I walked into my youngest daughter’s room and paused to admire her sleeping soundly in her bed with her beautiful curls falling slightly over the snow white skin of her cheeks. Watching her as she slept, hoping she was having peaceful dreams. I thanked God for my miracle baby that is now nine years old. I did feel the sting and felt my heart sink as I remembered my other little baby that never had a chance in this world. This little one would be ten years old right now. I allowed those feelings for a moment, then I shifted my focus back to the beautiful little miracle laying right before my eyes all snuggled into her bed.
I thank God for the memory box. I don’t believe I found it by accident or that it had simply fallen off of the top shelf into this position where I would find it reaching for that jacket. It was truly as if it was placed there as a simple reminder that caring people still exist in this world. My friend, Jennifer, is living proof. There are no words to express my deepest and most sincere appreciation for what she did by remembering our little baby, by acknowledging and validating our feelings at a time when so many brushed it aside and went on with their lives. She took the time to reach out and touch our hearts with that of her own.
I believe that the memory box was discovered right when I needed to be reminded of God’s goodness, His love, His compassion, His comfort, and of the miracle He performed in our lives.
I also believe that at a time when we just attended a ceremony remembering my sister that this was also a sign to remember our little one along with my sister as our baby was a child lost too soon. Now I will look at the Angel of Hope a little differently when I approach her at the gardens the next time. I will stand before this angel remembering and honoring my sister as well as my baby that is being loved and cared for in Heaven by my sister and by the loving hands of our God.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. It is Christmas time. A time of reflection and remembrance.
I was reminded last night in words spoken at the end of a Christmas program that Christmas is not necessarily a time of happiness for a lot of people, but it can be a time of joy. Although I remember the sting, the sadness, and the pain, I remember God’s miracle and am once again filled with joy and happiness! It is my hope that although you have endured your own struggles, heartache, and pain in this life that you will still be able to find some joy this holiday season.