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Grace like Scarlett

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Saying good-bye to Scarlett Grace

It was as perfect a day as I can remember, with sun glistening and birds singing and palms swaying and golden beach all rolled out before us. We ate ice cream and watched the children play and held hands and smiled big as we spoke of the day our baby died.

Could it have only been yesterday? And why do we feel so… ‘happy’ in our sadness? 

Grief is an illusive beast – wildly roaring and then quietly circling and then sometimes laying down (seemingly harmless) all together.

That day grief looked like the Peace That Surpasses and the quiet assurance that we had each other and we’d be okay and the sun was still shining and God was still there.

We remembered how she was conceived and the promise and the miracle and how much we loved her and imagined her fitting into our family.

I knew her name that day – Scarlett Grace – but I couldn’t yet articulate why or how or the story or journey of those two beautiful words. When I shared with Ryan he nodded, with tears, and we decided to hold that name in our hearts until the doctor’s reports came back, bringing some sort of closure so we could exhale and celebrate and release her completely.

The weeks that followed were a brutal mix of life-as-normal and how-can-this-be-real – such excruciating pain.

Does anybody know the depth of this anguish we carry?

I knew the answer to that but there were days where I felt so alone, unable to find comfort from anything other than stories of other people’s pain.

And so I scoured the internet and downloaded books and read and read and read about others who had lost babies – miscarriages, still births, neonatal death.

I am not alone. (We are never alone.)

Comparing notes and pain and grief, I cried their tears and kept crying my own.

The day we visited our doctor to hear results from the tests we were met with more disappointment as we learned of the surgeon’s empty promises and lack of follow through. Is it possible she dished out outright lies? Unfortunately, yes. (It’s not even worth getting into here but I will say we’re filing a formal complaint – it was that bad.)

Our doctor shared with us and we shook our heads with half-smiles – disbelief at how unprofessional the whole ordeal was and yet relief to know that this was all we’d know. We needed to let go and this gave us permission.

Scarlett Grace, we confirmed as we left the office. It felt so good to give her an identity and refer to her by name.

We weren’t angry, we weren’t bitter. Our reaction showed us that our forgiveness had been genuine, and for that we were pleased. (Grace, so real.)

God has been good to us as we’ve suffered and lost and grieved and lamented.

Two-and-a-half months later and I no longer cry every day. I’ve since faced pregnancy announcements and miscarriages among friends and babies being born and the rollercoaster of hormones as my body adjusts to cycling after four straight years on pregnancy/breastfeeding hiatus… and the whole spectrum of emotions that come barreling down the wake of those events.

I’ve been shaky at times but I’m finding my feet again.

I’m still learning how to navigate the waves of grief and yet feeling more and more confident as I discover that the weight doesn’t cause me to crumble as it once had.

Our grieving isn’t over, but the intensity has subsided and the ability to dream has come quietly crawling back in. I’ll continue to say that the only way to grieve is to grieve with hope – grief without hope will bury you alive, I’m absolutely convinced.

And I know that our story—her story—is only one of many – needing and waiting and yearning to be told as we learn how to remember our dead, barely-there children and care for hurting families who have no gravestone to visit, no photograph to frame, no baby to hold.

These babies are not lost to us. They are gone, but not lost.

Scarlett – For the sacrifice, the pain, the suffering, the blood spilt, the hope, the promise, the purity, the holiness, and the redemption of Christ Jesus in our lives. He’s given and taught us so much through his life and death (and Life)… and also through hers.

Grace – For possibility and purpose and goodness and life and all that God gives. Grace abounds – unending, undeserving, inexplicable, and unequivocally reliable and rich and all-encompassing.

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Dear friends, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but we named our little girl Scarlett Grace about six weeks ago. I realized I had shared through social media but never here in this space. I wanted you to know, too.

Love,
A

11 Comments

  • Reply Liz Barber 27 June 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Adriel, thank you so much for sharing your heart about Scarlett Grace and all the feelings that go with losing an unborn child. There are so many who have experienced this and yet do not share for some reason.
    I am so grateful for the hope we have as believers in Christ. I love how you wrote :the only way to grieve is to grieve with hope – grief without hope will bury you alive, I’m absolutely convinced”
    I couldn’t agree more with that statement!

    Thank you for encouraging me through your writing- you are someone who has blessed me time and again.
    Liz Barber recently posted..What Being a Mom Has Taught MeMy Profile

  • Reply Rachel 1 July 2013 at 11:49 am

    A beautiful post. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  • Reply Alicia 7 July 2013 at 6:07 am

    What a beautiful way to honor and remember your precious daughter! Thanks for sharing this.

  • Reply When you don't feel at home, at home. And yet you do. | AdrielBooker.comAdrielBooker.com 19 July 2013 at 12:36 am

    […] My home is in heaven – a theme not new, but running deeper through my entire being since losing Scarlett Grace. […]

  • Reply alana 10 August 2013 at 9:58 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you and for me as I to have lost a baby very recently. The pain is indescribable. I love what you did with the balloons, such a beautiful idea.

  • Reply I Am From (A Synchroblog with SheLoves Magazine) | Adriel BookerAdriel Booker 1 October 2013 at 9:26 am

    […] I am from belly stretched and empty womb and battle scars and triumphant entries. I am from against the odds. I am from hello. I am from goodbye. […]

  • Reply Breaking the silence: Stories of miscarriage, stillbirth & baby loss 16 October 2013 at 8:00 pm

    […] Scarlett Grace has been that to me – just what her name represents: life and death and resurrection all undergirded by Amazing Grace. Still, I miss her. And I remember her today, every day. […]

  • Reply Jenn 2 February 2014 at 9:26 am

    Adriel –

    I just found your site through Pinterest. What a great find!

    This post made my eyes mist. My husband and I lost our baby 2 1/2 months ago (at 11 weeks). This baby was our first. That moment when my excitement of having a bedside ultrasound turned to absolute horror and unspeakable grief will forever be with me. We had a blighted ovum (sometimes not even recognized as a life, from what I’ve heard), and baby had been lost four weeks before they caught it. Dr. said that because of how long it had been, it would be best to have a D&C to avoid infection.

    After my D&C, I had a horrible recovery complete with contractions and things that I had hoped to avoid seeing. I called my mom (another pregnancy loss mama), and she told me that the pains were similar, but worse than the real thing. Just because there was nothing coming at the end.

    I have five sisters-in-law that are pregnant, and my best friend is due in a month. Losing my baby while they were so clearly healthy and happy felt like nothing I had imagined. I struggled with envy, longing, and many, many tears over them. Most didn’t even know what to say – so I heard very little from very few people after our loss. I sat through holidays of birth planning and name choosing and “what happened at your ultrasound last week”. Needless to say, I felt miserable.

    We decided to name our baby Tikvah (“hope” in Hebrew). We had those precious weeks of hope and joy and expectation. And I have come to realize that (by God’s grace) is a most dear gift. To regret those would be worse than anything.

    Now, 2 1/2 months later, we can be asked by the occasional person how our pregnancy is going and smile and tell them that the Lord knew what he was doing. He gave us an amazing opportunity to grow five months into our marriage. And we wouldn’t change it.

    To read what you said helped me even more. What an encouragement to hear of another mother and her story of her baby. Your attitude is admirable. And, to be honest, exactly what I needed to hear.

    Thank you!

    • Reply Adriel 13 February 2014 at 9:37 am

      Hi Jenn. I’m so sorry to hear your story, and yet grateful that you’d feel safe to tell it. It’s important – that these stories of loss and hope are told and not buried along with our sadness.

      The pain of watching the world go on around you when you feel left behind is some of the most difficult pain I’ve ever experienced. We love and celebrate the babies and life and friendships, and yet the sting is very real as it reminds us of our own “should have been’s”.

      Thanks for your courage to share you story. May God continue to heal you in the days ahead. Much love, sis. x
      Adriel recently posted..The dream and the wait: On being born, put to death, and resurrected My Profile

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