Three years ago today, September 17, 2011, was my due date with our third child. Joanna Rae. I still feel raw some days. I still see my table missing one, my van lacking a car seat, that there should be 5 and not 4. It is really hard to answer the question "how many kids do you have?" We have been getting that question often with the start of school and preschool and meeting new people. And each time, I pause before answering. It's too much to go into and explain how we have 5, but there are only 4 here for that quick question that people are asking in that moment.
In 2011 and 2012, September was rough. They were big reminders of what we had lost. Whose birthday should have been celebrated. We only have a due date to celebrate her with, and it felt weird to not be able to do that. And then God in his great mercy and wisdom gave me Haddie last September. I wasn't due with her until October, so it never occurred to me that He would redeem the month to me in such a sweet and special way. In His gentle way, He reminded me once again that He is my Father and that He cares for me. He had already given us Ellie to be born in February (just shy of a year from when we lost Rae). He in such a loving way gave me my two girls that I get to love and hold and care for on this side of heaven during the two months that hold memories of Rae.
I know this post is super jumbled and random. But I just felt in me that I needed to do something for her. I don't want the day to go by unnoticed or unacknowledged. I am not meaning that I am seeking for those things from others, but by me, her mom. I want to remember her and spend just a moment grieving for what could have been. And then, I am going to go and squeeze her four siblings. I am going to remember that the Lord has given them me to parent until He calls me or them home. I will spend a few extra minutes loving them today. And being so very thankful for every gift from God.
For anyone currently mourning a loss, be it fresh or years ago, I pray that you will feel the Lord's presence. I hope that you remember even in the midst how good He is to us. I pray you have hope as you're grieving. We continue to pray that God would use our loss to point others to a saving faith in the only One who can comfort us in these times.