(This is Alissa. I wrote this January 19th when the power was out, so couldn't post then...)
We’re covered in snow and ice in Olympia, WA. The cold combined with power-outages has presented a new aspect of grief to me today. It’s kind of an eery feeling that brings additional emptiness. Things are dark, shut-down, damaged, quiet, buried, unsure, paused, heavy. Maybe these circumstances bring a new emptiness because all of the words I just used to describe our town resonate with my spirit right now.
My fragile newborn girl died one month ago. One month. “The 19th” will probably bring varied emotions related to Anna’s passing for the rest of my life. It seems so very long ago, yet my body, mind, and heart ache like it was yesterday. If you haven’t experienced death close to you, you can’t understand how weird it is to breathe in someone’s spirit one moment, then try to grasp how it is suddenly gone the next. Wait... she was just breathing, looking around, making facial expressions two seconds ago... she can’t be gone! Her imperfect little heart was still fighting to beat longer than the medical staff expected. But it stopped. And some things in my spirit stopped with it. Babies aren’t supposed to die before their parents.
* * *
(I wrote this just now...)
Thank you for continuing to read this blog. Thank you for praying, sending cards, and sharing how Anna's life has touched yours. All of these lift us a bit higher and carry us through another blurred, exhausting day.
I'm still struggling with migraines and stomach aches. Please pray that we figure these things out so I can take care of my husband & son like I need to, spend time with friends, let myself grieve properly, etc. Matt has a cold again, and he doesn't usually get sick very often. We spent 4 nights at my parents' house this week while the power was out. Theirs was too, but they had a generator kicking heat out from the gas fireplace, and hot water. It wasn't too bad, really. We managed just fine, but it is good to be in our own home again. Praise God: I have had small breaks from the migraines off and on a couple of times this week, so I actually folded laundry, put dishes away, and swept the kitchen floor.
Speaking of the kitchen floor...
Today I was making dinner (another task I haven't done in months!) and started crying while listening to a song that hit me. It was "Stars Will Fall" by Aaron Shust:
When there's no breath in my lungs to scream
When there's no strength left inside of me
When there's no light that my eyes can see
I will say Your name
And stars will fall like rain
All the heavens and the earth will start to shake
Every mountain will be moved and cast away
At the mention of Your name
When hope is a long lost friend
And the broken that was meant to bend
Lift the wounds that will never mend
I will say Your name
I cry JESUS!
I leaned on the kitchen counter as I cried, and Isaac immediately knew. He notices when I cry, and is quite sensitive and loving when I do. I sat down on the floor and let the tears come. Why didn't you move mountains for Anna, God? I cried out Your name so many times before and after she was born, believing you could. What stars did you make fall? Did the heavens and earth shake? I was sure hoping they would for my little girl. Why do other babies get better and get to go home? God, my hands feel so empty...
Isaac climbed into my lap as I cried, and just stayed there. Every few seconds he sweetly said, "Mommy?" like he wanted to help but wasn't sure how. He knew I needed comfort.
Most of the time I feel I'm trying to figure out whether I need to cry, laugh, scream, punch a wall, or run away. I'm so glad God carries me moment-by-moment, and gets me through when I never figure out which one I need.
Like the song lyrics above, I feel like there's no breath in my lungs to scream, no strength left, and it's very hard to see the light most of the time. I believe I will eventually. And even now I get glimpses. But it's been awfully cold lately.
I still cry out His name. There is power in the name of Jesus. I can't see what He's doing, all the ways He's moving... but I call to Him - cry to Him - run to Him - sing to Him... and I know He is with me, even when I can't feel it.
The beginning of this post is a portion of what I wrote on the 19th. My flip calendar displays this quote by Gloria Gaither for that day:
God walks with us... He scoops us up in His arms
or simply sits with us in silent strength until we
cannot avoid the awesome recognition that yes,
even now, He is here.
I can't avoid recognizing that Jesus is present. I'm wounded and beaten down. But as I look back on the past 2 months, although the memories are a blur, I see Him doing all of those things mentioned in the quote above. He has walked with us, held us in His arms, and sat with us in "silent strength". He got us through those stressful, scary days, and He'll get us through those ahead.
Maybe God's "mountain-moving" in Anna's story is a million miracles I can't see.