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This ground is holy

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{written April 6, 2013}

 

I thought she would be an opal baby like her mama.

But October never seemed so far away.

She’s a diamond now and I like that too – precious and beautiful and infinite in worth.

When we lost her I knew immediately that I wanted a necklace to wear on days when I especially missed her – a diamond for April when she left the safety of my womb, and a pearl for the gates of heaven where she entered into a whole new kind of safe. (The kind that we all long for.)

A diamond for my baby, lost.

Today I feel grateful; my heart is full.

I have my diamond and pearl now, never mind this diamond isn’t real. (She has never been more real.)

These days have been difficult and fragile (peppered with moments of almost uncomfortable ease) as we uproot the old and make room for the new, knowing the new will never include what we once imagined it would.

On that dark day in that small room where that black screen displayed our fear and mocked our dreams, I wondered how could a mother move? Breathe? Ever get out of bed and put both feet on the floor after her reality crashes so suddenly?

I recoiled in fear of my own desire – the urge to find a cave and crawl in to die there.

I wondered how I could ever care for my family again. (Desperate and dramatic? Yes, I know, but this is how I really felt.)

But only days later and I’m squeezing my eldest’s hand with a smile as he wonders aloud what dinosaurs sounded like and talks of finding a green fish for our new fish bowl and asks if we can visit some friends later that day.

I’m nursing my youngest while he traces lines on my chest with newfound gentleness he’s suddenly discovered and perfecting as he studies me with eyes that seem wiser-than-his-years.

I’m giggling at the new words formed on the lips of a barely speaking boy who still waddles around in diapers and I’m shaking my head in wonder at the ideas formed in the imagination of a curious and clever one who was meant to start preschool on the day I was wheeled down hospital corridors.

We are talking of the future, my love and I, and recounting our short days with her and celebrating her and sharing her brief life with those we love and those we’ve never met. And it all feels so bright—so hopeful—and I wonder if I should feel this measure of joy so soon.

Can I grieve and give thanks in one breath? Can I both cry and laugh? Feel pain unspeakably and joy unashamedly?

Because I am.

There are moments of quiet where I remember the unexpected emptiness of my belly and I reach and rub and whisper I miss you while the tears come flooding again, bringing with them pain unbearable. And then I turn and see images of newborn treasures in the arms of dear friends and I feel yes. Yes, it is good – show me more, let me see.

I give thanks in my sadness and it feels right.

This ground is holy and I dare not put my shoes on for fear of marring it.

I want to stay here forever and I want to run like hell and never look back. (Can I do both? Can I love and despise in the very same breath?)

Losing a child—my child—marks me in a way that I don’t yet know or fully understand. But I sense grace and I embrace peace, even while shaking my head at how this shouldn’t be. For me, and so many others.

She is one. But she is many.

I read their stories and I mourn for their babies, even as I weep for my own. Their wounds, opened again, as they reach out to heal mine.

Together we weep with arms empty and arms full, hearts heavy and hearts alive.

And we heal each other through the fellowship of suffering and the offering of vulnerability and the gift of a Hope that never, ever fails.

(Right? He never fails, right? Remind me again as I remind myself and remind you and remind Him… please don’t fail us.)

Tomorrow will keep coming, and with it the light that refuses to cease. (And mostly we want it, but sometimes we don’t because that light is just so strong, so exposing.) We remember, we rejoice, we mourn, we march on, knowing each step has been travelled before our pilgrimage ever began. Each breath already breathed, each moment already lived, each tear already shed in the heart of Another Who Knows.

So we follow.

And somehow—all mixed together—we form the sound of The Willing. The mother, the father—who have loved and lost and learned how to grieve—now stand prepared to be changed by the darkness and the light and the war that wages in between. Willing to be carried into the expanse of the coming Day, clinging to the promise of a time where every tear will be wiped away.

And all will be made new again.

I bend my knees in surrender and I vow to stay willing.

Even now, in this dark place.

Sorrow and joy — all mixed up together.

I am weary. I am hurting. But I am willing… and hopeful.

Selah.

____

 

Dear friends, I wrote this over the weekend but then hesitated to post it as I feel so differently from one day to the next. Last night I felt sad, this morning angry, tonight I just feel tired. I suppose that’s all part of the process though – the waves of grief and the humanity that is exposed through the turmoil of it all, and our inability to predict how and what will expose the pain. I’ve had some very sad days, and it hurts deeply to know that the world keeps spinning as if all is well even though ours has faltered incredibly. Perhaps that’s why it is important for me to post this today – this mess of suffering and joy and pain and gratitude all folded into one another. And to remind myself of the company I’m in – the millions of mothers (and fathers) that stand with me or have gone before me on the saddest of roads. Our daughter is one, but she represents many. In our heartache we are alone, but not alone. Aren’t you glad that tomorrow is a new day?

35 Comments

  • Reply bernardeena 10 April 2013 at 8:16 pm

    I’m so sorry for you loss. I think every day is diffrent, just take each one as it comes. It is ok to cry and question and weep when you need to, but it is also ok to smile and be happy sometimes too despite what has happened. gratitude and grief can walk hand in hand.

  • Reply Kate Baltrotsky 10 April 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Such a beautiful post… you are an amazing mother… sending love and blessings to you and your family.

  • Reply Bek @ Just For Daisy 10 April 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Holding you up in prayer at the moment. We’ve never met but have mutual friends and I have followed along with your blog for a little while now.
    Losing our first baby was certainly the hardest thing I’ve experienced, the greatest grief, immense physical pain as well as the stark reality of someone lost before I even knew them.
    But be assured God will bring you through this storm. There is hope and there is calm and as you say, each day is new. His mercies are new every morning. Praying for you xx For peace, for joy and for comfort xx
    Hugs from one mumma to another xxx
    Bek @ Just For Daisy recently posted..Recipe :: Roast Vegetable FrittataMy Profile

  • Reply Kristi 10 April 2013 at 9:49 pm

    You have captured it well, the paradox of moments of intense grief and surprising joy in the days that follow the loss of a baby. I have two on Earth and three in Heaven, and I have found much comfort in the community of others who have walked this path. I have especially found encouragement in the Hannah’s Prayer (www.hannah.org) online community – and we have many members from Australia! Praying for you this morning as you process and find your new normal.

    • Reply Adriel Booker 11 April 2013 at 12:05 am

      thank you kristi. i’ve not yet heard of hannah’s prayer. thank you for your gentle encouragement and for passing on a resource. i’m sorry that you know this pain too well. x
      Adriel Booker recently posted..He is with us. Really.My Profile

      • Reply Kristi 11 April 2013 at 12:55 am

        Adriel, have you heard of Names in the Sand (namesinthesand.blog spot.com). It is an actual beach in Australia where the photographer Carly Dudley writes the names of babies in the sand and then takes a picture of it at sunrise or sunset to post on her website as a service to parents of babies in heaven. I don’t know where in Australia you are, but that is something you may find encouraging as well.

  • Reply Rachel 10 April 2013 at 10:13 pm

    I’m really glad you have the necklace! What a beautiful idea and tribute to your girl!
    Rachel recently posted..embracing this seasonMy Profile

  • Reply Sheridan 10 April 2013 at 10:45 pm

    I agree with Kristi that you have captured the paradox well. In just a few short weeks, I will be remembering my second child. A little one born in May rather than December. Even though she entered our lives briefly in 2001, she is forever in my heart. Hannah’s Prayer has been a tremendous blessing to me as I grieved her loss and the loss of our third child as well.

    I am immensely sorry for your loss and I pray you ae comforted as you grieve. Thank you for sharing your little one.

    • Reply Adriel Booker 11 April 2013 at 12:06 am

      thank you so much sheridan. and thank you for letting me know about hannah’s prayer as well. i will definitely visit. xx
      Adriel Booker recently posted..The day I lost my babyMy Profile

  • Reply Rachel J. 10 April 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Yes, you can absolutely have joy, even now. I think He gives us moments of joy to remind us that even though we live in a broken, unfair world, His mercies are new every morning. I have also been there and remember so well the sorrow and brokenness…keep clinging to the hope of the joy that lies ahead. Your babies have a very special mama. 🙂
    Rachel J. recently posted..On Losing Heart And Finding It AgainMy Profile

  • Reply Jess S 11 April 2013 at 12:58 am

    This was beautiful. I’m glad you decided to post it.

  • Reply Sarah 11 April 2013 at 12:58 am

    Thank you so much for sharing that with us. I have lost 3 babies and have yet to feel the joy of holding them. Your letter was encouraging to me and I wept with you as I relived my own story. It was comforting to hear the same emotions and frustrations that I have felt 3x over. I pray that God continues to comfort us together as we mourn the loss of our children.

  • Reply Beki 11 April 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Thank you, just thank you, five-times-thank-you! I’ll be praying for you as you walk steadily through your grief … still giving thanks, still praising the One who made us all. When I went through my miscarriages I always wanted to ask God “Why?” … and now, when I look into the faces of my three Littles, who came into our family through the miracle of adoption, I think I know at least some of the why; if I hadn’t lost those I carried in my womb I would never have known the faces and hearts I get the privilege of seeing every day – and as much as losing those children I carried so briefly was desperately painful, I could never choose to not have even one of the children I have now!

  • Reply Roxy 11 April 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Adriel, Thank you for your wonderful and honest blog.
    Your story brought back many memories, some long forgotten, some refreshingly new as I remember 42 years ago and the loss of my first little girl. At the time I remember thinking the all time ‘why’, but now these years later I realize and am so grateful for the wonderful way that God works, giving such blessing.
    My thought after reading your story was “perhaps my little girl is introducing your little girl to all of the wonder of heaven and the beauty of Jesus.”
    Blessing to you and your family during this time of healing.

  • Reply Christi Hofman 11 April 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Adriel, I know there are no words to truly share my sorrow, sympathy and kinship with where you’re at in processing the loss of your baby girl. My Erin has been 4 years in heaven since last Christmas and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of her, desire her by my side or see her in my other children! I’m thankful every day that Jesus is her comfort and mine! She has changed my life…and although there are still days I ache to touch her, I am blessed to have been able to experience carrying her life inside of me and thankful for all the growth Papa God has walked me through since! A special friend suggested that I do some creative writing to commemorate my daughter much like you have done in “This ground is holy”. I hope this poem will encourage you!

    DANCING IN RAINBOWS
    By: Christi Hofman

    Having a “treasure” very dear, torn away,
    Leaving a gaping hole.
    Feeling lost, sitting alone,
    Enjoying the darkness of my cloud,
    But crying out for the return of the the sun…
    …of Joy

    You came and whispered in my ear,

    “Why are you here?”

    “Am I not allowed to mourn?”

    “Do you recognize that I hurt with you?
    I want you to see My light shining through your tears.”

    “I don’t see light, I don’t see hope. I don’t see a future!”

    “Are you sure?”

    Earthly sun explodes through heavy rain clouds!
    It brings a last light that adds fire to all it touches.
    The same raindrops that seemed so heavy, so dark,
    Suddenly come alive with rainbows of color!

    My other “little treasures”,
    Captivated and delighted
    With the dancing light and colors,
    Laughed gleefully, spinning around and around!

    “Look Mommy, look Mommy, LOOK AT ME!!! Look at my rainbows!!! Look at all the beautiful colors!!!”

    Then you whispered again,

    “Let ME be the light, to bring beauty and color to your rain.
    Let me help you learn to take JOY in your ‘treasures’ again!
    And trust that I hold dear, all you ‘treasure’ too!”

  • Reply Jessica W 12 April 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Oh friend. So beautiful. I always said there was a sweetness that came with the sorrow. Walking through the process made me feel more holy because it made me desperately cling to the Holiest One. I know you are drawing nearer to him through this process and you will only come out of it shining brighter like that diamond and as smooth as that pearl. There is sweetness in sorrow and beauty because he is there.
    Jessica W recently posted..My Not So Perfect {and yet perfect} Family TreeMy Profile

  • Reply Lynsie Lanning 12 April 2013 at 2:52 pm

    It has been so long since we have talked. But I wanted you to know how much I love you. I am so very sorry for your loss. I so admire your strength and your willingness to share with people as you do. You’re bringing comfort to so many people through what your write on your blog. I am so proud that I can say I have known you and have been able to call you friend. Your courage astounds me. I know your heavenly Father is so proud of you, weeping with you and sharing every crazy emotion you endure. Thank you for being a big sister to me and a mother in the faith. You are such a wonderful mama. Again, I love you!

  • Reply Longing for Heaven After Loss, Heartache, and Grief 15 June 2013 at 4:24 am

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  • Reply Jen McCartha-Pearce 17 August 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Adriel, I just discovered your blog tonight, contacted you on facebook about how one of your postings gave me such joy, and now I am crying over your loss. I cannot say that I have gone through the horror and physical loss of a daughter like you have. Yet I am the (happy, grateful) mom of all boys and I have always secretly mourned the loss of the experience of having and raising a daughter. God is truly good and heaven is your personal ideal. I am convinced we will both experience the JOY and DELIGHT of raising these little girls in heaven……you will be reunited with the daughter you lost and I will be reunited with the daughter I never had. I BELIEVE. Praying for you to have comfort and peace at this difficult time.

    • Reply Adriel 18 August 2013 at 9:22 pm

      thank you jen! i am doing well, though still tender at some moments (and of course i will never “get over” losing a child). but god is gracious, the pain is lessening, and i am healing.

      heaven is going to be a glorious place, no doubt, no doubt. xx
      Adriel recently posted..Because—drama aside—women really do care about women.My Profile

  • Reply Breaking the silence: Stories of miscarriage, stillbirth & baby lossAdriel Booker 15 October 2013 at 1:18 pm

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  • Reply How to care for a friend after miscarriage as she wades through grief 18 April 2015 at 6:54 am

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  • Reply Emily Hicks 18 September 2015 at 6:35 am

    I am so so sorry for your loss. I caught a glimpse of your blog when I first found out I was pregnant. I even booked marked it as “Mommy blog”. I read this post then and my heart broke. Little did I know a few weeks later I would now be experiencing the traumatic pain of losing my baby. Thank you for your posts and your encouragement and sharing your story. It makes me feel less alone. This was my first baby and I sometimes feel like the pain wont be filled. I must remember that God does have a plan and I have to keep my hope in Him on sad and angry days. Thank you so much for your posts.

    • Reply Emily Hicks 18 September 2015 at 6:36 am

      Hole* not pain 🙂

    • Reply Adriel Booker 5 November 2015 at 11:47 pm

      Emily. Oh Emily. I am so sorry to hear you lost your baby. There is no pain like it, my girl. How is your heart? Are you healing? Finding peace? I hope you have a good support system around you. You are not alone, but we need people close to us to remind us sometimes.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share some of your story. Praying for your heart tonight. xoxo
      Adriel Booker recently posted..Coming Clean: This teen star’s confessional should inspire us allMy Profile

      • Reply Emily Hicks 11 November 2015 at 12:56 am

        Thank you so much for taking the time to read my comment and comment back ♡ I appreciate your prayers very much. It is still very hard but I feel like I’m finally getting to the point where all I can do is trust God and remember all of his promises 🙂
        I love reading your posts. You are a blessing!

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