Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Unimaginable. The reason for my absence ...

"And the cup He brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.” 
― Kahlil Gibran

I have been over it dozens of times. In my head at least. Repeating words and sentences. Over. And over. And over again. Grappling for the perfect words. Because this, this deserves perfect. But in the end, I have come to realize, there are no perfect words. In fact, there are no words at all. None at least that make sense. None that certainly do justice to a life. A precious, innocent and far too brief of a life.

So I say it. Or rather write it. From my heart. A sometimes worn and a somewhat broken, heart. And once again I bear witness to the unmistakable fact that there is indeed vast and undeniable beauty that dwells alongside utter and complete suffering and sadness. I also stand steadfast in my personal belief that without a faith that tells me that this life, this earthly life, is merely a station, a waiting place, that without that knowledge, I would not survive. I mean my physical body would go on but my spirit, my soul, would be barren. I don't know much these days but that much I am certain of.

The other thing I know, without a shadow of a doubt, is how simply amazing my children are. Each and everyone of them. They are the very best part of me. The very, very best. They all have seen so much over the last 6 years.  Even the little guys. And still, they persevere and they exude joy and they strive do good works in this world. Each and everyday they teach me something about living. They have witnessed things in this life that most parents try desperately to shield their children from. But my children have been immersed in looming tragedy, real loss and still, miraculously, they emerge better. How can that be?

And then, 6 weeks ago, a phone call. An early morning, bring you to your knees, kind of phone call. Life changed on a dime. Again. The unimaginable.

 6 weeks ago, Caitlin and Danny welcomed their second daughter, Grace Margaret into this life. She arrived oh so perfect and beautiful. 2 days before her due date. 8 pounds 3 ounces. And for reasons we will never understand nor reconcile with, at least in this lifetime, she entered this world sleeping and already in the arms of God.

And that last part, "in the arms of God", that part is the part we cling too. And my daughter and my son in-law, they exemplify grace and dignity during the most unspeakable of times. And that statement, "grace and dignity", those words I nearly choked on each and everytime I spoke them in the first few days when describing how they were weathering their moments. For you see, "grace" wasn't just a word anymore. 'GRACE ', was now my granddaughter. But today, I am able to speak those words with much more strength and conviction then before. Because now Caitlin and Danny indeed walk this life "with GRACE and dignity". For she will always be with them. Always.

I never imagined that I would ever kiss my granddaughter hello and goodbye, all in the same breath. Who would ever imagine such a thing? But I did. And I was honored and privileged and beyond heartbroken, to do so.

I believe God cried right along with us 6 weeks ago. He simply must have. I also believe, He was right there beside Gracie that day as well. And although we truly believe that the best place for Grace to be right now, is in her parents loving arms, we also imagine that the arms she is in right now are enfolding her in a love that transcends anything we could possibly know.

We are all finding our way once again. We seem to have gotten good at that. I wonder perhaps, on somedays, when I hear people utter the absurd ,"that God only gives you what you can handle", that maybe I should have curled up into a ball a long time ago. Cried uncle. Sent my memo to the universe. Something. But then again, what good would that have done? That's not how this life works. And, as to "our fair share", well maybe, but life doesn't work that way either. You are not doled out an allotted amount of trial and tragedy and then suddenly some switch gets flipped, voila, and then enough is enough. Not that simple. Wish it were.

We use to over simplify our life with Zoey by using our patent humor and repeat the words of my niece spoken several years ago one Christmas morning: " You get what you get and you don't throw a fit". These days we have changed it up and we say, " You get what you get and its what you DO with it that counts".

Today we choose to do it with faith and hope and most of all ... we choose to do it with GRACE.

39 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Loving you and helping to hold GRACE.

Rachel Douglas said...

"I was honored and privileged and beyond heartbroken"to read this.

Emma said...

Oh Heather, I have been wondering where you've been and eagerly awaiting the news of the new baby's arrival. Very sorry to hear what's happened. Much, much love to Caitlin & Danny, and to all of you. In times like these we just have to trust God knows better than us- He says "For your thoughts are not My thoughts, nor are your ways My ways."

Hold to the promise God gives, He loves you all SO MUCH and has likely been crying with you. Trust in His saving power and invite Him into your lives, if you haven't already done so.

Love and blessings,
E x

Anonymous said...

Oh dear sweet Heather! I am so very very sorry. Prayers are being sent your way. I wish I could do so much more, but there just isn't anything we can do to take this burden from you and your family. Please know that my heart is breaking, and my tears are falling with this news, and I am in awe of the GRACE with which you handle such trajedy. This life isn't all there is - there is a beautiful, painfree, joy filled life that awaits us all, and your Gracie will be there with arms wide open to greet each one of you when that time comes. Much love,
Karen

Just Another Ordinary Miracle said...

you and your family are so loved, from across the miles. xoxoxo
gwen

EDS Warrior said...

There are no words.
Only love and prayers. xx

Cammie Heflin said...

Love and have missed you so much. Always thinking of you and your beautiful family that I love as my own. I missed my yearly visit to Cali in March this year and hope to see you soon. Hugs to all.

Anonymous said...

I wondered often about your absence and for some reason felt the need to check your blog this morning as I got my three little ones up. My heart is truly sorry for your families loss, no other words, as what can you say when the unimaginable happens? Much love and prayers to you all from K in Ireland x

Melissa said...

Oh sweet friend, I am crying this morning, for you, your kids, your granddaughter. You've all been through so much lately, but this is something I wish no family had to endure. Lots of love and prayers for you all.

Rena Weisberg said...

My friend, Phoebe Van Woerden, a buddhist monk, once told me, "Life is medicine." This tweaked my brain a bit because instead of the instinctual "why me?" I instead began to wonder how pain and sadness could help me become stronger, more helpful, more loving and more compassionate to others. I realized in a deeper sense that pain is universal to all people, that everyone feels it and everyone is struggling to cope or avoid it at all costs. Some very unsuccessfully. Heather, you are a leader to every person who comes in contact with you. A precious example of how to bear the pain, and how to find the courage to keep getting up, to keep moving forward. I believe these hardships that come to us, can awaken us. They can be the catalyst to our spiritual growth, can raise us to the next level, give us our shine and glow if we let them. I believe only someone who has sat in a painfully dark place, can then experience the sunrise with all its spectacular glory. May you always have courage. May peace always find its way back home. Keep using your words, your voice to guide others thru the dark. Hugs to you and yours. -Rena

The VW's said...

My heart breaks for your family! What a significant, and painful loss! May you be covered in peace, strength, hope, and GRACE! Love and Big Hugs! In my prayers as always!

Karol said...

I have no words but to say that you are loved.

Amanda said...

Oh Heather, my heart breaks for you and your family. Your words, though genuinely beautiful, fill me with an overwhelming sadness. My deepest sympathy goes out to your daughter and son-in-law. You are all in my thoughts and in my heart today.

Kristin said...

Oh Heather. Tears. We both know there are no words. So so sorry. Hugs and prayers.

Anna said...

Bautiful. On so many levels. It's all grace my friend.

Anonymous said...

I have been a long-time reader, and could not read this without replying. I am so sorry for the loss of Grace. There really are no words besides that. You and your family will all be in my prayers.

EN said...

My heart is broken for you guys. This actually happened to a close friend of mine just a few years ago. Full term and stillborn. It just doesn't make sense. You wrote a beautiful tribute. Praying that your family finds peace and comfort during this difficult time.

Anonymous said...

There are no words... All I can do is pray God showers His love and grace abundantly on your family right now. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Eric Wampler

Eric said...

Oh, Heather, I don't even know what to say. I have been there and I still don't know what to say. My heart is truly with you all today and will be.

If there is a family that I know of that could make it through something like this it would be yours but I know that means nothing when the hurt is still so strong.

If there is anything I could ever do, please don't hesitate to ask.

Rochelle said...

Continuing to hold you all up before our Heavenly Father. My heart aches for you all and I have missed you greatly.
Love and hugs!

Meg said...

So very sorry to read this. I have been an avid reader, enjoying your beautiful writing and the story of your family. I missed your blog and had been worried about you and yours. But never imagined such a sorrowful event.

Sending you prayers and hugs.

Lisa said...

I'm so sorry Heather. Your family has been through so much. And you continue to inspire with your strength and faith in the midst of the storm. Praying for peace to fill your hearts.

Justine said...

Oh Heather! I am so sorry. Such grief is unimaginable. I admire your family's grace in handling such a horrible event.

I don't know if a little anecdote will encourage at all, but here is my experience. At my husband's funeral, I saw a college friend who I hadn't seen in a few months. We attended the same church and the last time I saw her she was nearly ready to have a baby. As I hugged her and she offered her condolences I asked about the baby. Her eyes filled with tears as she told me that her sweet boy had had been stillborn. He had been alive the day before at a checkup but was gone by the delivery. It was an awkward and heartbreaking moment while two women who knew deepest grief hugged each other, but that friend was the first connection I had with someone I felt REALLY knew the depths of my grief. She was able to comfort me in ways no one else could in those first few weeks, and at the same time, my heart broke for her and I think I gained some level of understanding of infant loss. I will forever appreciate her words and her presence at a very tough time in my life. I would imagine that God may use your family in a similar way...not the way any of us want to be used, really, but it is some small good coming from the unimaginably horrible.

Praying for you and your loved ones.

Joyce said...

A piece of my heart just broke in two. I can't imagine nor understand what your family is going through. I do know that you are the epitome of grace. Holding those in my house tighter and for longer in memory of sweet grandchild #2. So much love to Caitlin & Danny and all of you. You make us better people by sharing your grief.

Anonymous said...

So, so sorry. Hugs to you all.

Anonymous said...

Oh...I just don't have words. I am so, so sorry for your family. Prayers of peace to you all.

Brenda said...

I am so sorry for your family Heather. I feel like I know you all, although we have never met. My daughter lost a baby in December. It is so hard. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

colleen said...

Remembering Grace and her beautiful mother and grandmother

Scrappy quilter said...

Heather, my heart breaks for you. You are loved.

dayna said...

after following your blog for many years after having my own little boy with down syndrome, same age as your beautiful zoe.. I marveled at your strength, faith and amazing children. it did not compare however to unexpectedly meeting you and your amazing family at Disneyland last month. Your children, yourself and your husband truly exude such warmth and kindness that I can not put it into words.. all of you took time to stop and speak with my little boy.. and it was so sweet.. and zoe.. well zoe is just beautiful. You are all so blessed to have each other
I am so so sorry to hear about the loss of your precious granddaughter.. please know prayers from my home are going out to your home..

krlr said...

Anything you need, anytime. Much love.

Merideth said...

Oh Heather. There are no words. Only as much love, healing,peace, hugs, as I can possibly offer. I am heartbroken for you ALL. If there is anything more tangible I can do, all you have to do is ask.

SO much love in the world


Merideth

Mary Reichert said...

Heather -
My heart breaks and aches for you and your family, especially as Gramma. I know you feel the loss keenly. Caitlin and Danny need all your love right now - as you so well know. Having a little love-bug just snatched from you is so hard. Yes, SO HARD. And you are wise enough to know that your other kids also need your hugs - especially your boys and Zoe who can't comprehend such an event in their lives. Hang onto your hubby and cry together.
Even though I don't know you very well, I have felt your faith and strength so many times in your writing. You had to hang on to that faith when your mother passed recently, and now it comes to hold you and surround you again. God promises that He will comfort you in the middle of your grief. He gives you that hand to hold in this very dark time for you all.
Love,
Mary Reichert in Turlock

Lindsay Marie said...

I'm so sorry :( I'm praying for your entire family.

Cole said...

Oh I am so sorry for your family's unimaginable loss dear Heather. That is something that no parent should have to go through. Sending prayers of love and comfort your family's way.

Gabriela said...

((((( )))))
Gabriela

Anonymous said...

Here is a passage by Marianne Williamson that brought me great comfort and peace. I wanted to share it with your beautiful family. Sending my love, prayers, and healing energy your way! "Opening up to the pain of death, our own or that of someone we love, is one of the most mysterious blessings of life. Nothing focuses us more clearly on what matters, helps us drop our defenses more quickly or gives us more compassion for human suffering. I used to think that the Angel of Death would be a horrible thing. I realize now that the Angel of Death would have to be God's most tender and understanding angel, to be sent to us at such a significant, frightening juncture. There are many among us now who have seen the angel of Death or have had to start thinking about it before our time. Death has become one of our greatest teachers in the transition to a spiritually awakened world. "Death shall be the last enemy," said Jesus. What He meant was that we would no longer perceive death as an enemy. We would recognize that death is not death but a recycling of energy, a remodulation of the cells according to higher assignments in a soul's progression. The spirit does not die, but rather enters new channels of life. The power of God is greater than death. Our relationships are not severed at death, but refocused beyond physical connection. As our vision of life changes, so will the physical world. As we lift our eyes above the illusion of death, we will begin to the the eternity of life. Jesus did not die when He died, and neither do we." Illuminata by Marianne Williamson

ardith said...

Oh Heather, my heart breaks for you all. So hard for you as a grandmother, but even harder as a mother, watching your precious child endure this.

My thoughts are with you

Michelle said...

I have not been on my blog reader for a while now, so I realize I'm late in sending my condolences, but I am deeply sorry for your family's loss. Sending loves, and hugs, and prayers.