Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Loss Of A Child

This has been a very sad holiday season for us. The husband of a dear friend was killed in a car accident earlier in the month and his funeral...the most beautiful, everything-pointed-to-our-Lord-and-Saviour-Jesus-Christ-funeral I've ever  been to...was held yesterday. Though my heart aches terribly for all of his family...especially the dearly loved, beautiful, young wife that he left behind...it was Tim's mother that held my attention yesterday. Tim was her son. And it is Christmas-time. And she hurts. And...even though I only held my son for a short time...and she held hers for 36 years...I know that pain. The pain of a mother that has lost a son. My heart goes out to her. To all the family on both sides. But today...especially to that mother that has lost her son.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the loss of my own son, Nathan. It is his birthday and his death day. I wrote this post last year and am reposting it today in his memory. It is dedicated to all mother's who have lost a child, but...this year...especially to my beloved Mrs. S.

Mrs. S...although you may never see this post...this piece is dedicated to you this year...and in the memory of your precious son, Timothy Andrew (by the way...your boy and my boy shared the same middle name). Tim, just as with my own precious son that is no longer with us, you are much loved and will be greatly missed, but one glorious day we WILL see you again! Until then...as your father said yesterday...it is bye-bye for now.

Now...for last year's post...

It was exactly 29 years ago at this very time that Nathan Andrew was born. Something had been wrong for a very long time. I had been bleeding off and on since my second month of pregnancy...at times very heavily.

On the 18th of December I was out Christmas shopping with my mother, my aunt, my 1 1/2-year-old daughter, and my three little cousins. All of a sudden I went into labor. My aunt took my daughter home with her and her children, and my mother rushed me to the hospital. Next thing I knew I was being strapped to a gurney and was being shipped by ambulance to a bigger hospital...one that was attached by a walkway to Children's Mercy in Kansas City. Even though I had been given a lot of medication and was pretty much out of it, I could hear the doctors and nurses talking. If they didn't get me to the other, better equipped hospital soon, they were going to lose me AND the baby. It was one of the most frightening experiences I've ever had. All I could think about was what would happen to my little daughter at home if I died.

I arrived at the other hospital in record time and was immediately surrounded by all sorts of doctors and nurses. I was plugged into every kind of equipment they had...which wasn't nearly as good as the equipment that they have now, but, at the time, it was state-of-the-art. Immediately, the head doctor wanted to know who my doctor was and how long I had been bleeding. She said that the placenta had torn away from the uterus wall and that this baby should have been "taken" months ago. What was she talking about? I would never have allowed my baby to be "taken!"

Long story short...27 hours of intense labor later (I had been given every kind of pain medicine available and nothing seemed to be helping) Nathan Andrew was born...in the hallway on the way to delivery. He was immediately rushed across the walkway to Children's Mercy and I was taken on into delivery where a DNC was performed. A few hours later the doctor came into my room with a nurse who was carrying my baby. Nathan had fought hard and lived for two hours, but his lungs were just too little. Now days they probably could have saved him, but, back then...there was nothing they could do. There was just nothing that they could do. :'(

Nathan was perfectly formed. He had long, black hair, had perfectly formed features, perfect, tiny, little fingers and fingernails...toes and toenails...on the outside he was just that...perfect! Tiny, yes (he was 10 inches long and he only weighed a pound)! But still...perfect.

Not having money for a funeral left me with few choices. I would not be allowed to leave the hospital without signing papers for Nathan's body to, either, be donated to scientific research, or be cremated in the hospital crematory. Not wanting to do either I chose the lesser of the two evils...the hospital crematory. To this day I regret that, but I don't know what else I could have done under the circumstances. It still hurts me beyond anything that I could ever express and there's never been anywhere to mourn Nathan's loss. I came home on Christmas Eve with two very blurry pictures, a set of tiny footprints on a piece of paper, and a poem that the hospital chaplain had given me.

I've never written about all this before, but, tonight, I felt a need to do so. Perhaps there is someone else out there who has been through a similar experience...someone who needs a word of encouragement. Even though all that I went through was, and still is, very sad...there are two things that have ministered to me over the years since Nathan's death...

#1 - The poem that the chaplain shared with me. It was entitled FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND, and I had never read it until the night that she gave it to me there in the hospital. It is still very special to me.

#2 - There's a verse of scripture that the Lord gave to me many, many years later, and it is still the verse that comes to mind whenever I think of Nathan. The verse is found in Psalm 30...verse 5...and it says, "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." I know beyond the shadow of any doubt that Nathan is with Jesus and that someday I will see him again! Not as a premature baby, but as the spirit man that God created him to be!

And, if you've suffered the loss of a child...whether it be at birth or beyond...know that, if you are a born-again, Bible-believing, follower of Christ, and child of God, then you, too, will see that child again and be reunited with them in days to come!

And as you remember that trial that you've gone through...perhaps you're asking (or have asked), "Why God? Where were You when I was going through all that? Why weren't you there for me?" I leave you now with that beautiful poem that was shared with me by that wonderful, old chaplain at Children's Mercy...


FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed He was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from His life. For each scene He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonging to Him and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of His life flashed before Him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of His life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of His life.

This really bothered Him and He questioned the LORD about it. LORD you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.

The LORD replied, my precious, precious child, I Love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.

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