Friday, January 13, 2017

Is Time a Healer or a Revealer?

How can it be three years already? Happy third birthday in heaven, Nicole. We love you and miss you like crazy down here.

Three years. In so many ways, it feels like a lifetime ago and yet, when I stop and ponder and remember, the memories pour over me and the feelings, the thoughts, the tears wash over me and it feels like it was only yesterday.

I can remember that first phone call, the concern that there was a chromosome abnormality with Nicole. I was at work. I remember going to the bathroom and just sobbing. It felt so huge, so overwhelming. I remember going home, crying with Dave, researching, and then by the end of the week deciding that we would be given a huge responsibility and blessing to have a special needs child.

I remember so much of that fateful Sunday morning, the fears and the tears. Of going to the hospital and telling Dave, "They're just going to tell me I peed my pants." And then later wishing that that was exactly what they would've told me. Of again, wishing for it all to be over, but then, with God's help, determining that this was possible. I could survive a hospital stay of weeks and months. It would have been one week at home, followed by 10 weeks in the hospital.

Then Monday came, and some of it is blurred. But I remember feeling just awful. I couldn't have cared too much what happened. I remember hearing Nicole's heartbeat for the last time around 3 in the afternoon and realizing it was a bit fast. I remember the beauty of the pain meds as they let me be out of it in between the contractions. I remember my first words after Nicole was born. I remember holding her and crying and the staff being so kind and taking pictures and yet giving us our space.

And I remember the immediate difference I felt. I felt well again, ready to take on the world, in a very limited fashion of course. I remember that Henry's came, and Hannah, and Matt and Sylvia that night yet. How they held her and we planned her funeral service, but mostly I remember how they cared enough to leave their homes at 9:00 at night to come to the hospital to see us.

I remember the beauty of a shower that next morning. I remember all the visitors we got that day: Troy and Sharon, Kerra, Kelsie, Jason and Cheryl, Darrell and Christina, and Hannah again late at night.  I remember the horrible snow storm that was so fitting as well. I remember crying because I couldn't go home yet.

I remember going home and my family being there. Our entire sibling bunch rallied around us and showed up, from New York, from New Jersey, from PA, from Hayward, and from the area. They all came to the funeral of their niece. I still find that amazing and precious. Friends came to support us.

I don't know that anything was worse than that first clod of dirt hitting her little casket in the ground. Nothing compared to that grief. And yet, we lived through it.

I wish I couldn't remember the feelings of pity-me and no one understands that I felt in the ensuing months. I wish I didn't have those feelings to remember, but I did. I struggled with the why's of it. I struggled with feeling like people didn't care or understand.

Now is time a healer or a revealer? I believe it was Ravi Zacharias that said, "Time is a revealer of how God does the healing." And that is true. While these feelings are close to my heart and I can still relive so much of it in my mind and feel in a way what I felt then, God has been good. We have a beautiful, vibrant bundle of energy here with us on earth. God has revealed to me that my attitudes were not right, that I didn't have the right to self-pity, that I didn't have the right to curl up in a corner and want everyone else to make the first move, I didn't have the right to obsess over the ways people weren't there like I thought they should be or that they didn't want to talk about it all the time. God has revealed and is continuing to reveal these areas to me. He's continuing to refine me and it's a hard process. I'm stubborn. I like to pity myself even though it makes me miserable.

God has revealed to me how He cares, how He loves our little ones in heaven with Him. He has given me a compassion for those who lose little ones. I can understand in a way I never could before. He has shown me that His ways are not about my comfort, but about my refining.

Losing babies is not easy and while I'd like to say losing my first two babies taught me everything I needed to know about that, that hasn't been true, but I know God is faithful. It's a continual work of trust and hope and faith. And I'd like to think that if we were ever to lose another Nicole, that I would know more this time, that I would allow the things that God has taught me to refine me even more, that I wouldn't shut myself off and then blame everybody else. That's probably been the hardest realization of all, that self-pity deprived me of so much, even if it would have been painful.

And so, we will celebrate Nicole's life and the things she has taught me and I will strive to be a better person, a better mom because she was in my life, even if only for a short span.

So having a cupcake celebration with the book study ladies feels a bit big for me, yet it is my effort to get outside of myself and my feelings and to celebrate life because we don't know how long life will be given to us. So go eat a cupcake today and celebrate. We're celebrating life, not death. Nicole is way more alive now than she would be if she had lived.

And as you can see, our little miracle to the right there is very much alive and eager and loving life.


  1. Thus made me feel sad. Life is just so hard! And of course we won't get it right all the time and learn it just right....especially when we hurt. I am amazed at your humbled attitude and seeing yourself as a person that needs growth and admitting your mistakes. You amaze me! Your little sweetie there is adorable, adorable! I wish I had a cupcake to celebrate Nicole! Hugs!

    1. Let's just say it's probably a good thing I wrote this post before yesterday or I probably couldn't have written some of it.

  2. I kept thinking of Nicole today, remembering.


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