Yesterday I learned that a dear friend of the family, Gary Stryker, passed away after a very unexpected battle with a rare lung disease. His daughters, Lindsey and Courtney, grew up with Jessica and I at First Baptist Pelham and we are just heartbroken for the loss of their precious dad. Mr. Stryker and family lived just up the street from us while we were kids and he was such a wonderful man and so loved by his friends and family. I know he will be greatly missed but never forgotten. Praying for our sweet friends during this difficult time.
Also, baby Jacob Salter was taken off of his ventilator yesterday (Monday) afternoon at 4pm but lived a little over 17 hours. Amy and Ken were able to hold him and be with him during the entire time. Pray for them as they grieve the loss of their precious baby. They are so lucky to have their families near them at this time.
It's strange that even though I have felt the loss of my own child, I still think in my mind "I cannot imagine how they feel." After losing Lizzy Ann, I realized how different each family's experience is and it is truly impossible to understand how someone feels after they have witnessed the death of their infant child.
Unfortunately, people think that I am now an expert on what to say to grieving parents but honestly there is nothing that eases the crippling heartache you feel when your mind wanders to that day when your world stopped. I have been told many many many many times that "the pain will get better over time." We are at almost 9 months since Lizzy
Ann's birth and I can tell you that the pain I experience when thinking of what we do not have has not subsided.
Then how do we move forward in our grief? How do we begin to think about having more children and potentially facing these nightmares again? Are we strong enough to manage this type of loss again?
How do we do it?........
God's perfect grace
Grace is His sweeping second-hand watch that allows the time between heartaches to grow longer and longer. Those moments of heartache are always as raw and tender as the day you first felt them but the spans inbetween those agonizing moments are mercifully extended. And in those moments of God's grace, you can live in the joyful moments that you had with your sweet baby.
-You see their face behind closed eyes and smile.
-You move a stack of papers and find yet another ultrasound picture of their precious hand.
-You have the strength to tell someone "Yes, we have a child. Her name is Lizzy Ann but she was born still on May 1st of this past year. We miss her very much."
-You find the courage to speak to a crowd of strangers and tell them that Lizzy Ann would want them to help make premature births and birth defects obsolete in the future.
-You think of the nights spent laying quietly in bed feeling her move inside of you and wishing that you could have captured that feeling in a bottle and carried it around forever.
-You think of the gifts of love that friends, family and strangers gave to you to honor her precious life.
-You think of the impact her life had on yours and know that God has forever transformed you.
Loving my friends today and praying for them.
Love to you all,