Thursday, February 28, 2013

I don’t understand why everything didn’t stop


It is the most bittersweet story of our family.

My sister and her husband – expecting their second baby girl.

I was eight years into being involuntarily childless – and I threw myself into being the Fun Aunt.





And then a radiology technician took a little too long.

And got quiet.

And your entire life turns upside down.


Gracie Ultrasound


I’ve shared about Gracie before.

And you guys have been so loving, so compassionate.


Today is her birthday.

And instead of a party with her third-grade classmates, she is probably playing Guitar Hero with Moses and eating Cheetos with Jesus.


I wanted to let my sister share her with you.

So you can read in her own words what Gracie means to her.




Her gift with words.  I felt suckerpunched when I read it and the loss was immediately so new again.

But do you get it?


That is real motherhood.

To sacrifice for your child.

To refuse to see only sadness, but to DELIGHT in your baby girl.

To allow yourself to fall in love because




It matters not that Gracie has a heavenly zipcode – her momma’s heart is every bit devoted to her.


I’m reminded again, the incredible mix of emotions I saw on my sister’s face as we stood around Gracie’s tiny NICU bed.













It felt like holy ground, knowing that her time was short and we desperately wanted her to feel how much she meant to us.

Completely and utterly loved.


My heart breaks at the picture of my sister and her husband holding her for the first time.



She was already dying.

And in the moments before she was gone, she loved like only she could.





We left the next day.  With tiny clothes and pictures.

Pushing the hospital doors out into a windy spring day with masses of people moving in every direction – going on with their everyday lives.

And it felt so wrong.


With a box instead of a baby.  And no one stopped.  No one knew we were leaving our hearts on a floor high above street level.  Nothing had changed for them.

But we were changed.




Angelwithatwist said...

Acckkk I should have read this tomorrow.. no wait no.. See I had a friend a while back who cursed me for telling her she was pregnant, with twins, about a month before she found out she was really pregnant. Don't ask I don't know how I know I just do. Chancellor and Julian were born 2 months premature, without warning. They lived for 3 days. Brain bleeds and major issues and doctors told my friends they would be vegetables. Not could be but would be. Dependent on life support for all of their days the brain damage and so many things that went wrong with their unexpected entrance. Together they decided to let them go. They held them, the sicker of the two passed in 10 minutes the other held on for another 40. They did not take either of them till both had passed. My friends held them and counted fingers and toes. Apologizing for not being able to do more, for having made a decision to give them peace, for everything. They loved on them, they cried, they held. All of the above. At the funeral I slipped a letter into their pockets. One that said that despite all the odds they gave them a chance. That instead of hanging on and keeping them attached to tubes and wires they loved them enough to say enough. That was the measure of a parent. When you put the well being of your child's life, regardless of how short, above your own. Beautiful pictures and a heart wrenching story.

Pam Bowers said...

Happy birthday sweet Gracie!

Cynthia Murray said...

Thank you for heart goes out to you all once again. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
We shall see her again.

Saimi said...

My heart goes out to your brave, faithful sister who chose to follow Gods plan instead of the doctors.

Happy Birthday sweet Gracie!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday and new-birthday Baby Gracie - we luv u forever :)

Bethany said...

Rachel, my heart breaks for your sister, you, your mom and the many, many people who would have loved to spend a lifetime with Gracie. I'm so blessed that you continue to share her story and your grief. Your transparency is a gift. Sending love and prayers to your whole family today.

Stacy said...

My heart hurts reading Gracie's story, but that little babe knew love before she passed. I love how your family remembers her every year and keeps her memory alive.

I have a friend who right now is pregnant with a little girl with Trisomy 18, heart issues and a whole list of reasons why she won't survive. She was given the option to abort, too. She is going to go to term. I told her about, but said if that wouldn't work out I would come and take pictures for them. I get so darn emotional these days I know it will be so hard. I've done it before and it just hurts to watch friends in pain.

I have no doubt that this little girl's short life has a purpose. Her daddy got stress induced angina from the news, which showed he had blocked arteries and needed a heart bypass surgery (at 40!).

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday Gracie! I look forward to the day we get to share a tea party with Jesus!

Julie Ball said...

This brought tears to my eyes... and blogs don't often do that to me. You and your sister both have the gift of words. Thanks to both of you for sharing Gracie and your love for her with the world. Happy birthday, beautiful Gracie!

Emily said...

Glad I'm not wearing make-up it. It would be one smeared mess. My heart is broken and praising Jesus at the same time reading this.

Aunt Crazy said...

Happy Birthday Gracie! I hope you are singing and dancing in Heaven today and every day.

Unknown said...

With tears rolling down my cheeks, I can tell you I am touched, very touched. Babies are such a blessed gift. It's a shame some never realize it but for those of who do, we see God in the soul of an infant.

Daddy Hawk said...

That story just kills me. The queen and I can't have kids of our own, and we were very blessed to adopt M&M. I can't imagine losing her much less under those circumstances. Your sister has a huge heart and tremendous strength to stand up and try again after that trial.

rachel said...

Thank you for this post. Playing guitar hero and eating Cheetos? I will forever think of our second daughter, Mina, doing just exactly that. xoxo

Emmy said...

Dang, totally crying now. Thank you for sharing this. What an amazing women your sister is and yes they will be able to hold their beautiful baby girl and raise her someday, I truly do believe that.

Katie said...

Oh the look on your sister's face in that picture as she holds her little one! That brought on the water works. Happy birthday, sweet Gracie, thank you for proving that miracles still do happen!

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Julie said...

Wow. It's an honor to see such love. I'm grateful each year for the life that Gracie was given. Your sister and her husband exemplified parenting. It wasn't convenient. It wasn't easy. It was not what our society expects. And I'm grateful I witnessed such strength and honor. Thank you for sharing her words. They brought tears to my eyes, and a comfort of His Love at the same time. Happy Birthday, Gracie.

Anonymous said...

How beautiful this is.....thank you for sharing this.....your heart... your life.....your Gracie. I remember hearing about her passing and as I was driving home through the country.....I looked at a pasture of horses actually dancing with abandon and delight. The expression of freedom was astounding and all I could think of was Gracie doing the same with our Lord.
The loss, so deep, is ever present but it changes as time moves on and ends up becoming something that is so beautiful that there are no words that can express such beauty.
Thank you both for sharing this beauty with us. You could have kept this to yourselves but you decided to share the beauty and the love with us. What an amazing gift........with love, Candra

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