Friday, October 18, 2013
Loss of Our Lydia: How My Girls Are Coping & Another Life Lesson
Charlotte is a very clever girl. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, she was constantly asking me, "Do you have a baby in your tummy?" I would try to play coy and be vague - not wanting to confirm or deny until we knew the pregnancy was going to stick. "Why do you ask?" I'd say. She'd respond with, "Because your tummy is getting bigger" or, "Because Mommy's with babies in their tummies are tired a lot from growing the baby and you are always so tired." She's also super observant.
Once we hit the second trimester, we announced the news. Jubuilant cheers could be heard echoing our apartment walls for weeks. Every morning she would rush in and kiss my tummy and say, "Good morning, little baby!" And then she'd ask questions. Sometimes they were technical questions, "Can the baby hear us? How big is she now?" Sometimes emotional questions, "Will you still love us if you have a new baby?" My favorite question was, "Does it hurt you when the baby eats?" She thought babies had teeth and the baby was biting me on the inside. We had a long discussion about umbilical cords and how they brought food to the baby. She thought it was the coolest thing she'd ever heard and she told all the kids at her preschool the next day. Shortly after that conversation, she announced she was going to be a doctor when she grew up. We weren't the least bit surprised.
And then the most tragic thing that could possibly happen, happened to all of us. Lydia died. I walked in the door from my 18 week appointment, tears streaming down my face into the arms of my sweet husband. We cried for a few minutes together without any words as I'd already called ahead with the bad news. I went back to the bedroom and laid down and cried some more while Jorge took the kids to get pizza.
When my husband returned with the girls, I was still laying in bed, mostly exhausted after having cried for the better part of 2 hours. Charlotte immediately climbed up in bed next to me, laid her head on my tummy and she wept. After about 15 minutes, she wiped her tears, kissed my tummy and looked up at me. "It's ok, Mommy. Jesus is holding our baby now. He'll take care of her, I know it." Oh, the simple sweet and sure faith of a child!
Another invaluable lesson losing Lydia taught my family: "...become as little children... Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3-4).
My girls have a concept of death and belief in heaven. We have taught them about God and His love for us. So, in response to the questions about how my girls are coping with this devastating loss, I say, as well as I expected them to.
We've explained what happened to Lydia. (How ironic that the very thing that was so fascinating to my girls about how Lydia could grow in my tummy became the very reason for her death.) We read books together about child loss. Our favorite book is Something Happened by Cathy R. Blanford. We allowed the girls to talk about how they are feeling. We've had super hard days where we have wept on the floor just holding each other. We've had great days where we are able to talk about how much we love Lydia and how mush we miss her.
But my favorite days are the days that they comfort me with their sure faith. It's almost as if they give me permission to love her and believe all the things we've taught them about God and His goodness. Lydia did exist. She is our baby. She's part of our family now and forever. God is good. He loves us. We are His children. And if we are willing to humble ourselves, becoming as little children, allowing ourselves to have the slightest bit of sure faith, we can be healed.
Thank you again for another amazing lesson, Lydia. We miss you.