Monday, April 7, 2014

Even There...

Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. --Psalm 139:10


It's 1am and I awake to the pain of contractions.

No, I think.  Not again.

I am 18 weeks pregnant and yesterday there was spotting.  Immediately I know I am losing this baby.  Experience tells me this, for 3 years ago, I had a similar loss.


I don't want to leave the warm comfort of my bed, confirming what I already know.  If I can just lay here a little longer, I can delay the pain I know is coming, even if only for a few minutes.

I'm no longer pregnant.  There was no kicking yesterday, along with the spotting.  The little life inside of me has already slipped away.

I know what I must face, so I will myself out of bed to the bathroom, preparing myself for the sight of blood.  My husband is at my side as the precious still-warm lifeless little body slips out.

My boy.

My perfectly formed, tiny soft boy who fits perfectly in my hand.  Eyes closed, mouth in the shape of an "o"-- like an angel singing God's praises.


He's up there now singing praises right along with the angels.


I grapple to understand how just the other day I felt the flutters, the gentle nudging of legs and arms squirming about.  I know that life is fleeting, I have lived sudden losses before.  Will it always be this way, I wonder?  Will loved ones just keep slipping away without warning, death like a thief in the night?

Even there...

We go to the hospital for there is lots of bleeding now and I bring my boy with me in the car.

How odd, I think, to be bringing my baby to the hospital and not the other way around.  In a daze I welcome the sympathetic care of nurses and doctors around me.  Here, in the ER, they know sadness like this.  They witness trauma, the faces of the bereaved and bewildered each and every day.  These kind faces know all too well the fragility of life and the faces of the grieved.

God knows this grief, too.  He watched His only Son suffer and die, a lamb to the slaughter.  He knows this pain, the pain of a lifeless child.  There is comfort in that.




Even there...

The priest comes to the hospital so we can baptize our little boy.  He's all wrapped up in a tiny blue hat now, a hat knit with love for newborns to wear home.

But my little boy won't be coming home.  

This sweet little hat serves another purpose today.  Fitting perfectly as a blanket, my wee one still wearing his "o" mouth, tucked snugly in all that baby blue.

We need to pick a name.  Brendan was a name we always liked, and Kevin reminds me of the story of St. Brendan the Voyager who sailed his way to the Isle of the Saints.  It's perfect.

Our little boy sailed his way to the saints, too.

The priest pours the water three times, only the smallest droplets needed for his tiny little head.  And still he goes right on singing, that perfect "o" mouth set in endless song.  We recite the familiar words, the words I've said all my life: the Our Father, the Baptismal Promises, though it's hard to get them all out because the tears are coming hard now.

Even there...

I recieve Jesus on my tongue and the words the bible run through my mind--the ones I've heard hundreds of times at funerals (I used to be a music director and have sung at many many funerals), the lyrics I've sung again and again, run through my mind like a melody of comfort: In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, their departure was thought to be an affliction...but they are at peace...may Christ who called you take you home, may angels lead you to our parents side...give eternal rest O Lord and may your light shine on Him forever...even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

I thank God for these words of truth.  I cling to them.

The words of eternity and Truth are branded into my heart, and I didn't even know I had memorized them all until now.  The feel the hope and peace wash over me, right here in this hospital bed of grief and pain and all that red that just keeps coming.  Lord help me get through this long and awful night.  Knowing my Brendan has sailed his way home makes this pain more bearable.

Even there...

After a long and sleepless night we are home.  

Home without him. 

I want an image of St. Brendan to view, so I search online.  And I find this:



The words--the words along the border are the very same words of comfort I had recited to myself just the night before:

Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

I read the entire psalm and of course it's all so perfect, so fitting:


You have searched me, Lord, 
 and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise;
  you perceive my thoughts from afar. 
 You discern my going out and my lying down;
  you are familiar with all my ways. 
 Before a word is on my tongue
  you, Lord, know it completely. 
 You hem me in behind and before,
  and you lay your hand upon me. 
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
  too lofty for me to attain.

 Where can I go from your Spirit?
  Where can I flee from your presence? 
 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
  if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 
 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
  if I settle on the far side of the sea,
 even there your hand will guide me,
  your right hand will hold me fast. 
 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
  and the light become night around me,” 
 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
  the night will shine like the day,
  for darkness is as light to you.

 For you created my inmost being;
  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
  your works are wonderful,
  I know that full well. 
 My frame was not hidden from you
  when I was made in the secret place,
  when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
  all the days ordained for me were written in your book
  before one of them came to be. 
 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
  How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
  they would outnumber the grains of sand—
  when I awake, I am still with you.
 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
  Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! 
 They speak of you with evil intent;
  your adversaries misuse your name. 
 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
  and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? 
 I have nothing but hatred for them;
  I count them my enemies. 
 Search me, God, and know my heart;
  test me and know my anxious thoughts. 
 See if there is any offensive way in me,
  and lead me in the way everlasting.




The Lord knows me, He knows this pain.  I am precious to Him and was knit in the secret place, just like my Brendan. He had a plan for my boy all along. I cannot outrun His love, for even the night is like the day.  He will keep right on pursuing me to offer His comfort, dispelling the darkness. He will carry me through. 


I know I have, once more, encountered a thin placeI've known thin places before--the precious sacred spaces, the spaces between heaven and earth, where you feel God's loving touch so powerfully you can almost reach right out and touch heaven.  I thank God for this newest thin place, and know I will be ok. I will thrive, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.


Even there.


 

15 comments:

  1. I am sorry for your loss. I will add you to my prayer list.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for your prayers. God bless!

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  2. I am deeply sorry for your loss. May God bless you and carry you~
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate them.

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    2. Have you heard of The Shrine of Holy innocents? You can put your babies names in there. It's so comforting. Here is the site. Prayers for you~
      http://www.innocents.com/shrine.asp

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    3. I should have said, in the Book of Life. Sorry.

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    4. Yes, I'm familiar with it. Such a beautiful thing--I'm so happy to know about it. Thanks for mentioning it.

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  3. Oh Erin. I am so, so sorry. ((hugs)) and prayers for your sweet family as you grieve the loss of your little boy.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the virtual hugs (almost as good as the in-person ones!). I thank you for keeping us in your prayers. Blessings to you. :)

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  4. I am so sorry for your loss. I too have experienced the pain of miscarriage several times, though much earlier in the pregnancy. May God grant you and your family comfort in your sorrow.

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