Wednesday, September 07, 2005

My baby would be 10-years-old

This past weekend was the 10-year anniversary of Noel's due date. Given my track record for early labor, she probably would have actually been born in August, but every "Labor Day" weekend I can't help but stop and reflect on the knowledge that I was due to have been "in labor" this weekend in 1995.

In fact, had we had gotten pregnant as quickly as we would have liked, I could have been a mother of a 12-year-old by now! Two neighborhood kids just celebrated their 10th birthdays this summer. The 12-year-old a street over is named Alexis (Noel's middle name). Ongoing reminders... These are the mind-boggling and continual losses of infertility. I am ever-so-thankful for the joy of mothering the precious children God has so graciously granted me here on earth, but as I raise preschoolers, my heart sometimes wanders to the "what ifs" and "could have beens" and I still grieve for what/who is not.

The crushing grief is not what it was 10 years ago when the anguish of loss was so fresh and our arms so very empty. The pain is not as sharp as it was even 6 1/2 years ago when we were still struggling through primary infertility. Or 4 years ago when we finally had a living child in our home but grieved the back-to-back losses of Joel and Hannah and the ongoing reality of secondary infertility. But even today, as a carry this new preious life within my womb, I must stop and recognize that grief has left a lifetime imprint on my heart.

Happy 10th birthday, our precious Noel Alexis. Mommy still misses you, Little One. I am so very thankful for the hope of Heaven.

Here is an article I recently wrote in reflection of another friend's loss:

Seeing Face to Face

My baby died. I find myself clinging to the only comfort I can find in this sickening sea of grief - knowing that my child is safe, beyond the grasp of human frailty and pain. When I think of Heaven it is with new eagerness, with a longing to see my child’s face and hold him in my arms. I read that my focus in Heaven will be on worshiping the Lamb, but today my mother’s heart is too broken to even imagine this reality, for my longing is for my own “little lamb” for whom I eagerly await our reunion in Eternity. Today it feels like the “eternity” that separates us will never end, but I must trust that this earthly life is truly a vapor and that in the grand scheme of time, I will be with my precious child again very soon.

Had he lived to be 100-years-old here on this earth, I never could have fully conveyed to him my heart. But in the blink-of-an-eye that we did have together, how could he even begin to grasp my depth of love for him? Did he feel comfort and security in my womb? Did the sound of my voice ever ease his fears?

Does he know that he was wanted, yearned for, prayed for, eagerly anticipated? Does he know that I would have willingly traded my life in a heartbeat to spare his? From the glory of Heaven, does he retain even one memory of the brief blip that was his time on earth? Does he too await our reunion with anticipation?

While my head knows that my baby is probably so busy worshiping before the Throne to really “miss” me at all, I can’t help but put my human limitations on him when I dream of his life. My baby and I both have limited horizons, such narrow ability to grasp the other’s present reality. I am a prisoner to human emotion, bound by time, space and earthly perspective. He is impaired by an inability to grasp life outside the borderless, timeless, painless beauty of living in the presence of the Son. If faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see, I must cling to that faith as my mind tries to grasp this awesome, unseen, unknown, unfathomable World that my baby now calls Home.

I want to imagine my child running to me with outstretched arms the moment I cross into Glory. I want to daydream that he is longing to see my face with even a fraction of the anticipation I feel when I think of seeing his. I want to delight at the thought of following my own precious “tour-guide” around those golden streets as we both revel in simply being together. And maybe these beautiful visions aren’t too far from reality, for Scripture does promise that we will know one another and fellowship There. But I wonder how much we will focus on the earthly bonds we once shared when we are in the presence of the King together, as co-heirs with Christ? I see it all as a poor reflection through cloudy glass right now. How I long to know what it will truly be like to know my child, even as I am fully known.

How does God perceive my Homecoming? Just as I crave to think of my baby in eagerness awaiting me at those Gates of Pearl, does the Lord long for my heightened anticipation of my first face-to-face meeting with my Father? Just as my baby “knew love” in the fullest manner a tiny infant possibly could, how far short of grasping the reality of His love for me does my heart fall? Perhaps my limited expectations of Heaven offer a better perspective on the realities of Eternity than I have stopped to realize before. For everything I am hoping and feeling and longing for in missing my baby, perhaps these reflect the feelings my Father has toward me.

Lord, help me to fully entrust my child to you, both in the present and in my hopes and dreams for our future together. You are the Author of life, of love, of family. You understand this mother’s heart and my longing to know my child and be fully known by him. Help me to more fully grasp your Father’s heart toward me as we await Reunion Day.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
- 1 Corinthians 13:12

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