Friday, February 10, 2012

heading where no man has gone before...

No, this post isn't about Star Trek, although I do enjoy a good episode or two. And the movies are generally pretty good too. No, this is about today, which is going to be a big day in the lives of the Grofreeppley family. That's the Gross, Freeby, Peppleys - in case you were wondering. That would be the Matt & Alissa Peppley (us), Randy & Cathy Freeby (Alissa's parents), Matthew & Kim Freeby (Alissa's brother and sister-in-law), and Jason and Katie Gross (Alissa's sister and brother-in-law) families. Also, this day will likely be noted by lots of other people in our extended families.

You may ask yourself why, and that is okay. It's not because today marks the 65th day since our sweet little Anna Joy was born. Nor is it because it's the weekend before Katie's 30th birthday (sorry Katie...or should I say Happy Birthday?), nor is it because we are heading into uncharted territory. You see, today marks the day that Matthew and Kim are having their 3rd little baby girl (heretofore and henceforth known as "Junior") delievered via caesar salad section.
Alissa & Kim a few days before Anna was born.

Well, we are kinda heading into uncharted territory, at least for us. The big question for all of us, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. is how are we supposed to react to this beautiful baby? I'm assuming she's beautiful anyway...most babies (in my opinion) are not pretty, but their first two were pretty cute, so I'm betting number three will be as well. Anyway -- none of us know what to do. Do we sing for joy at the birth of Junior, or do we weep with sorrow at the passing of Anna? Or do we do both? If so, how do you mix joy with sorrow? You see, those two things don't typically mix well. They're kinda like water and oil. Well, not exactly. Water and oil don't mix at all. But joy and sorrow do mix, albeit not that well.

We in the Grofreeppley household have had many discussions over the last few days about this very topic. And there have been lots of tears sitting in the corners of eyes during the conversations. You see, we all miss Anna, but we also can't wait to meet Junior. But how are we going to react? Who knows?

Last night Matthew and I were discussing today's event while we stood in the parking lot at Wal-Mart. Not your typical place for a meaningful conversation, but sometimes you can't choose the ideal locale, so there we were. Both of us wanted to say something to the other, but neither of us knew what to say! From my standpoint, I wanted to tell him to not worry about being happy and joyful for Junior's arrival. From his standpoint, he wanted to tell me to not worry if Alissa and I feel like we can't be around because of too much pain. But then, neither of us felt like that was adequate for what both of us as c0-fathers and c0-brother-in-laws are having to deal with. But the point is that we, as well as the rest of the family, feel like we don't really know what to say to each other.

But we are all trying to be cognizant of each other's feelings. Matthew and I decided that while there must be people out there that have gone through similar situations, we don't know anyone who has had a granddaughter/daughter/niece/cousin/sister born and die eleven days later, and then have a granddaughter/daughter/niece/cousin/sister born about two months later. Crazy! That's what this is. Just plain crazy!

The point of this is this: we will miss Anna Joy a lot today. But we will be extremely pleased to meet Junior (whatever her name will be...) and will be filled with joy. And when I say "we," I mean all of the Grofreeppley household.

By the way, when Anna's Aunt Kim held her on the day she died (Anna died, not Kim...), baby Junior jumped as soon as Anna was placed on Kim's belly. And Junior continued to jump and jump and jump. So we all think that Anna and Junior have a very special connection. Grami Cathy has pictured the two of them giving high fives on their way past each other - Anna going to heaven and Junior coming!

Auntie Kim holding Anna while "Junior" jumps.
Very powerful moment!

Oh, Junior's here now. I think we're going to go see her and cry. A lot.


  1. I can't imagine the mix of emotions you must be feeling today. That's tough! I continue to pray for you both each and every morning. We love you guys!

  2. Thinking of you everyday!I can understand how this must be such an emotional time with lots of confusing feelings. Praying for peace of heart for you all.


  3. Praying for you guys today! I would say feel the emotion that you are feeling in the moment. Don't withhold the joy that wants to spring forth likewise don't withhold the grief and sadness that may and will come. God is a big God and He's designed you two (and the entire extended family) so brilliantly. He can handle the mix of emotions that flood from all of you! And He will help to "tidy" the emotions that you are all feeling at a time that He sees fit. ( I use the word tidy for lack of a better word, really it's messy always, and Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit bring order).

    On another note: This post made me laugh and cry. Matt you are really funny, Cesar Salad Selection! I almost didn't even notice it as my eyes wanted to read Cesarian Section. Too funny. And yet you bring me to tears with the real dilemma you guys are facing. God can and He will!

    Love you all and praying for the whole family. God Bless.

  4. Grofreeppley household enjoy that beautiful baby girl even if you cry. congrats.

  5. Pour your love for Anna all over Claire (Junior). Feel everything, savor the moment. God has His hand on you.

  6. God made you to feel all the feelings you have. Feel the love, the grief, the conflict. He is there with you in all of it. Prayers follow all of you...

  7. This is quite an emotional journey... Big hugs and lots of love to all of the Grofreeppley clan. I love you all so much.

  8. I would like to echo what Mr. Slocum offered . . . Claire's arrival is another gift from God, as was Anna Joy. Go with your emotions at the moment

  9. No wonder you came strongly to my mind this morning, out of the blue, all of the sudden. And so I prayed. The Holy Spirit is so interesting like that, don't you think?

    His hand is indeed on each of you.

  10. I'm already crying. Just at the thought of what a precious new miracle joining you all and in the deep deep sorrow that you will be facing, but most of all that photo you posted of Kim holding Anna. Tears welled up in my eyes watching both women weep. God is amazing and powerful and His spirit moves in mighty ways and I believe the Holy Spirit was moving in that photo. I am deeply moved. I am praying for you all today.

  11. I have no words. I ache for you and feel joy for you at the same time. Your sweet new niece will be so special to you. I think of you and your sweet Anna so often. You don't know me, I started praying for you when a friend led me to your story and blog. Your family has remained so special in my heart. God bless you, I'll keep you in my prayers. :-)

  12. My pastor's two daughters were both pregnant with girls, due at the same time (within days of the other). One daughter's baby was premature by a couple of months and, for reasons unknown to me (heart, lungs?), died within a couple of hours of birth. The other daughter's baby was recently born, healthy and just fine. You are not alone in this situation. My pastor said it was and still is very bittersweet for everyone. They very much miss the baby that passed, but at the same time are joyful for the new life. You are free to experience whatever emotion may come your way my dear.

    Continuing to pray for you.

  13. I have been reading your blog for some time now.. And for some reason I find myself back here daily. Its like I want a different outcome. I come back hoping that it will be different... I can't explain in words how sad I am for your loss.... She is the most beautiful baby. I know God is taking good care of her now.. but I know it would be hard to give up something so perfect..

    With love and prayers..
    -karen from Idaho

  14. Still praying and thinking of you guys daily. I hope you only spend time listening to and dwelling on truth. God's love for you is unfathomable even when you cannot feel it. I am guessing you feel vulnerable and just plain exhausted. Know that you are being lifted in prayer. I hope you will dive into God's Word. It will surround you with a wall of Truth to stand behind as these waves you must be experiencing continue to pound you. You are loved.

  15. Thank you for continuing to share your hearts. I think of you all so often and hope you are feeling God's peace daily.

  16. Remembering with you, and praying. God be with you.

  17. I don't think you should worry about what to do. Trust that what you feel is real and behold the glory of this child and its okay to cry or celebrate I did both. Whichever, you will hold Jr. dear. (My niece was born 3 months after I lost my baby). As I watch my niece grow I was able to see the milestones that my baby would have had. How would my nieces life would have been different if my girl was around? That was 27 years ago and my niece and I still have a special bond. I love that kid.

  18. I just wanted to share something that comes into my head every time I read your blog. I am not a Christian myself, choosing to follow a different path but I was raised CofE and learnt many hymns at school as a child.

    This one has run through my head every time I think of all you are going through

    "One day at a time sweet Jesus
    That's all I'm asking from you.
    Just give me the strength
    To do everyday what I have to do.
    Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus
    And tomorrow may never be mine.
    Oh Lord, for my sake, teach me to take
    One day at a time. "

    I hope it may help even a little.