As the anniversary of my miscarriage drew near, the Lord kept pressing me to "remember."
This seems ridiculous in some ways, because a woman never forgets losing her baby.
But sometimes we only remember the parts that are sad, hurtful, or discouraging.
There is purpose in that, and grief has to be worked through like any emotion, but when the dark clouds have lifted and we are able to glimpse hope, it is time to remember the good.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon reading Matthew's journal.
It was interesting to see the range of emotion written on the pages.
One minute I am praising God and the next minute I am asking how I will ever recover and move forward.
One page reflects my joy that Matthew has only known heaven without any earthly sorrow while another page reveals my intense desire to hold him in my arms again.
The words that most captured my attention, however, were the ones asking the Lord what He was going to do with me. How was He going to use this for good?
I smiled when I read those lines because though I could not see it then, I can see clearly now.
He may still have plans for me that I am unaware of, but I know what He has called me to do now -and I must be obedient.
Forgive my indulgence, for I am going to record a few of my journal excerpts here.
For most it will seem odd.
But for the woman who has just lost her own baby through miscarriage or stillbirth, reading my thoughts will offer comfort and encouragement as she tries to process her own.
I know ... because I was that woman.
God has been faithful every day and every hour since Thursday, March 10, 2006 when my doctor looked at me and said, "I'm afraid you are miscarrying."
He sustained me through four long days of waiting, hoping, praying, and accepting before Matthew Isaac Eastman was delivered at 3:45 am on Monday, March 14th.
There have been times of extreme sadness and overwhelming emotion, and there have been moments of intense growth and understanding.
And through each one, the Lord has been there.
As He always has - and always will be.
Thank You, Lord, for putting me into the fire, and bringing me through it.
I would never have chosen it myself, but now I see how many ways I can praise You because of it!
July 6, 2006 (four months after Matthew was delivered)
Do you even know who I am? Do you sit on the laps of men and angels and ask them to tell you about me? When we join you in heaven will you run to us? Grabbing our hands to drag us through the streets of gold to show us your favorite places?
I miss you.
I can see your little body. Your tiny face. Sometimes I want that day back ... so I can focus on every detail so I can record them in my mind to play over and over again. At times I feel like the memories are fading, starting to grow dim, and I do not want that to happen.
I have nothing tangible to hold on to. No cry or smile, wiggle or laugh. All was silent, except for the sobs of anguish of those in the room. But you, my son, were silent.
Your due date is coming soon.
Should I tell your daddy that I am dreading this day? Should I remind him that I am not okay? Should I remind anyone?
I spoke with another woman who lost a baby. It was so comforting to hear someone speak my own thoughts - to know she fully comprehends my emotions any my pain. She cried. I cried. And it was good.
It's so hard, Matthew, because I WANT to talk about that day. I want someone to ask me about it. Anyone. Some have. Some will. But not many. Death puts you in a very lonely, dark and quiet place because people don't know what to do with you.
Perhaps there is purpose to the loneliness. Perhaps there is a need for it. Perhaps the simple truth is that without it we cannot grow for we have no need to look UP.
Lord, help me in my need! I do not need to know WHY. I just need to know WHAT.
What am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to learn? Teach? Use? There has to be something greater than me ... it has to go beyond that. You comfort us so we can comfort others. Who will I comfort, Lord? Who needs me?
Show me, Father, how the death of my son was not in vain.
Matthew, I love you.
August 9th is coming, and you are not.
Knowing you are in heaven, seeing the face of God ... it makes me feel okay.
But oh, how I miss you!
You are forever my son.
(This is a note I recorded in my journal, written to friends asking for support as the due date approached. The Lord was working on me - teaching me to ask for help ... without feeling like a burden - and allowing my friends to love me when I needed to be loved. How else will they know, unless I tell them?)
I am writing to ask you to pray for me.
After Matthew died people warned me the due date would be a difficult hurdle. It seemed illogical as I thought, "Either way my son is gone - what would a date matter?"
But they were right.
I am overwhelmed with emotion, sadness and utter grief. I hear his name and I cry. I look at his memory box and I just want to scream until he is in my arms again. I miss him so much it aches.
I will confess to you, as Scripture commands, that for the past couple of weeks when someone has asked me how I am doing, I have lied. I say "I'm fine" just to avoid the emotion. To avoid breaking down in front of the person, not knowing if they actually want to hear my heart. I am a woman who has buried her son, and I am not okay with that.
I keep thinking of God's words to Abraham, "Is anything too difficult for the Lord?"
If nothing is too hard for Him, than lessening my hurt and my grief will be easy.
I have to believe that God's ways are not mine, and I need to trust.
And I will. I will do so in the midst of my tears.
That is okay, right?
"There is a time to weep and a time to laugh" and we are to "in everything give thanks" - so cannot both happen simultaneously? I pray so.
Thank you for loving me.
I think of you every day. But I find myself not feeling sad when I think of you.
I really do not know how to explain it. At times I feel guilty because I CAN go through a day without thinking of you. I can picture your face and not cry. I can remember holding you and not feel my heart break. Shouldn't I still be sad, I wonder? Shouldn't I still be emotional and hurting and feel a sense of emptiness? As soon as I start to feel BAD for feeling good - I have to stop.
Is this not exactly what I asked the Lord to do? Did I not ask for the pain to decrease? Does He not promise in His Word to heal the brokenhearted?
If all of this is true, then why am I surprised to have found healing in my own heart? To find strength and joy where there once was pain?
God did this, Matthew!
Praise be to Him!
I imagine my writings will grow more scarce as the Lord continues to heal and restore me, but know you are always in my thoughts and forever in my heart, my son. My Matthew.
I love you.
If you are working through the grief and loss of someone you love, I encourage you to write.
Even if it is simple scribbles on scratch paper, record your thoughts.
Not just to remember the details or the pain, but to see the way God works in the middle of it all.
We cannot always find the beauty in the ashes when they are falling down around us, but we can look back, and see the the finished product when hope and joy have been restored.