Friday, June 8, 2012

6 months

I delivered Anna Joy six months ago today. 
There is so much to say, and yet I'm having difficulty finding a place to start.

I miss by baby girl so much. It's been a rough week. I am recognizing that the initial shock of trauma and loss is starting to wear off, and I'm experiencing waves of grief at a deeper level. It's sinking in that this really happened and it's not going away. I hate that. This experience is real, not just a bad dream. But it's like living a bad dream. 

The waves that throw me under and keep me down for a while are more fierce, and I come up gasping for air, covered in dark filth. The waves that push me up, the ones I've learned to ride - that give me a glimpse of perspective - have started to provide a tiny bit more relief instead of deepening ache. Sometimes I can actually smile at memories and thank God for certain blessings in Anna's story. These moments don't happen often, but they do and I'm grateful. Every small step makes progress toward healing. Often a few small steps forward will be followed by a huge fall backward. I don't usually know when the fierce waves are coming, but I'm not shocked by them anymore. I know that I have to endure them; they're part of the process of living on the shore I've been on the past year. I really want to move so I don't have to deal with the changing tides. But I realize living here for a while is necessary, because the waves will reach me somehow, someday... if I don't let them hit me now. I don't know how long I'll have to live here, which is daunting. 

I feel like I've written these words before. If I have, please forgive me. 

Six months ago I was in the labor/delivery room at UW Medical Center, wearing a stylish gown and trying to find a comfortable way to sit on the uncomfortable bed as I managed light contractions. I remember trying to stay in the balance of distraction and engagement - always seeking God's peace & strength - as various medical activity and conversation was taking place around me. It's 7:40 right now. None of us knew that my water would break in thirty minutes, and that the long awaited and anticipated little girl would arrive in less than two hours from now... 9:36am on Thursday, December 8, 2011. What a day. What a beautiful child. I remember seeing her for the first time as they held her up after she was born. Her little face was scrunched up, and I stroked her left cheek with my right index finger. At that moment, all physical pain I had just endured disappeared and I was filled with awe. I'm totally serious. I was blessed with a wave of clarity and supernatural connection for a few seconds. Then they took her away and the pain came back until I got to hold her for a short time. 
I will never forget this moment.
This week I've been struggling with the concept of finding a solution to this heartache. At first I felt that there isn't one. I thought, There is no solution for losing a child! And in a way, there isn't. She can't be brought back. The pain of her absence will always linger. The "what might have been" is a forever mystery. And all of that hurts terribly. It's awful. Like, please just let me die so I don't have to feel the ache anymore. Seriously. 

As I wrestled with the no solution concept, I believe my merciful heavenly Father revealed something to my broken heart. I now long for heaven like never before. I see people as eternal souls in a fresh, new way. Through my long, weary days I can somehow see a bigger purpose down the road. I can't see what it is, but I know in my gut that it's there. I have an interest in heaven that is deeper than intellect - there is a spiritual connection that draws me to learn. There is more to this life! The "solution" to this ache is really nothing new to any of us. We all long for heaven, for perfection, for our fulfilled callings... as I've written about before. So... WHAT DO WE DO WITH THAT LONGING? It should change the way we live. 

And that is grace. Only a good, graceful God of hope could use loss and produce such perspective. 

What if every time I miss Anna, I let God turn it around and help me to pour my heart into what is before me today? What if every time I'm paralyzed on my bed, bawling my eyes out from the finality of it all (it happened just this past Monday), I somehow ask for help to see a new way? What if every time I'm tempted to give up (and it will continue to happen), I remember that people are giving up every day without hope? What can I do to share the true Hope I know?

Someday it will be the right time for me to minister. Right now God keeps reminding me that it's OK to miss Anna, bawl on my bed, and want to give up (temporarily). I must ride these waves for a while. I'm thankful He is showing me light and lessons along the way... even if I must reside on the shore of grief indefinitely. 

I long to hold my baby again. Sometimes I can almost feel her. I'm so sad she was taken from us... from me. I still can't believe it most days. 

Today is hard. It's hard to believe it's been six months. It's still surreal. 

Even if I don't feel it, I know hope is real. It's not an empty wish or unsure longing. My hope is sure. God made me for Himself - for love, eternal purpose, and to experience hope become reality someday. Heaven awaits. This pain reminds me to keep on. If there was no pain, we wouldn't have to fight for good. 

Yet again, here is a song that says it well.

It's 9:36am. One more strong contraction, scream, push... and here she is! "Hi, beautiful! It's so good to see you! Welcome to the world."

"How I long for the sunrise"...


  1. Again I find myself catching up on your blog. And weeping. Just weeping. Like it comes deep from in my chest. I feel this grief for you from a place that wasnt there before I was a mom. I feel your anguish. I know there is nothing I can do to relieve it. Maybe just knowing someone else carries a tiny amount of it too...

  2. Believing fir that sunrise, holding on with you until it comes.

  3. I'm continuing to pray for you and Matt. A song from Natalie Grant which came out sometime after our loss ministered to us deeply. It's called "Held." I don't know if you've heard it before, but if you haven't, I would recommend it highly. It's very, very close to your situation. May God comfort you today in person.

  4. Alissa, you don't know me, but I have followed your story. I want to offer you a place to look for hope. The girl whose blog is found at has experienced unspeakable loss. She started a foundation called Faces of Loss. I truly feel you would benefit from hearing her story and seeing how God has blessed her in the end. I will continue to pray for His will in your life.

    God bless,

  5. As I read this, "often a few small steps forward will be followed by a huge fall backward" I was so moved by the truth in those words, and I picture Jesus leading you forward through the grief, caressing your hair as He walks with you and then when you are overwhelmed and fall backward the arms of the Father hold you until you are ready to walk again. You are such an inspiration. Those words may feel empty to you today, but praise God for what He is doing with your willingness to be transparent and vulnerable with your heart. You continue to be a blessing to me and a reminder of His love and provision. Hugs Kathy

  6. We hold you up to the Father on a regular basis, asking him to relieve your burden of pain so that you can move ahead. But it's in His hands not mine, or you wouldn't feel even a twinge of sorrow! I sure understand the longing for heaven comment. Once we have precious family waiting for us, heaven becomes even more desirable. I keep coming back to Todd Burpo's book Heaven is for Real and how little Colton said that Jesus really, really loves little children. He kept repeating that again and again. Jesus really, really loves the little children. I truly believe that He really, really loves sweet Anna Joy whose every need is satisfied in Him. As you move through the darkness into His light, remember you are always supported by many of us who follow your struggle to reconcile your grief, and we pray for you. You are loved.

  7. Thank you for sharing your Heart Alissa.....