I had 9 perfectly normal pregnancies and deliveries. Well, my ninth baby was premature but things worked out fine and we had her at home and kept her at home. She was just a bit on the tiny side but all went fine.
Over the course of the next 2 years, I experienced 3 devastating miscarriages. One right after the other. I was stunned. My body had never betrayed me like this before. I never had trouble conceiving or bearing children. Why was this happening to me? I had never felt this kind of hurt, this bereavement. As a Christian, I comforted myself with the thought that ultimately we all wanted our children to end up in heaven, right? Well, I had 3 that had made it there safely already. Yet my mother’s heart ached and broke for my little ones that I would never hold, never nurse, never kiss good night. I wrote a loving poem for each of my babies. I named them and loved and missed them terribly.
During this time, a very dear friend of mine had also suffered a miscarriage. She and her husband bought a tombstone and buried their baby in the local cemetery. She shared with me how healing it was for her to have a place to go to mourn and cry. She wanted the same thing for me. She asked me to look around for some sort of memorial that I would like and then to let her know what it was and she would send me the money.
Up to $100 she said. Wow! We were so poor that I felt like $100 to buy a memorial was a lot of money! I started looking around at different stores and finally settled on a garden statue that I found at a local nursery. It was a young boy and girl, sitting on a little bench reading a book together. I imagined the book would have the words of Jesus printed on it, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me”. It seemed just right AND it was within my price range.
Unfortunately, the store had to special order it. I called my friend and told her about it and she thought it sounded lovely. She sent me a check and I went back to the store (40 minutes away) and ordered the memorial for my babies.
I never breathed a word about it to my husband. You see, I didn’t know if he would approve or not and I was afraid to ask if it would be okay for fear that he would say no and then I would be stuck. In my world, if my husband said no…that was it. No. I had as much say as one of my children. I figured out that if I just did what I wanted, it was easier to take the consequences and still have “my way” than to risk him saying no and getting nothing. I didn’t use this tactic often, mind you. Just when I absolutely HAD to have what ever it was. And this was one of those times.
I had to wait a few weeks for the statue to arrive. I remember getting ready to plan a grocery shopping trip to the town where the garden center was. I would go after I knew the statue had arrived. I couldn’t make a trip there just to get the statue because then my husband would know about it and he might forbid it. I had planned to just get my statue and bring it home and present it. Then what could he do? It would already be there and he would not have spent any money on it so it should be okay right?
The statue came in. I was SO excited. I brought it home. I held my breath… When I showed it to my husband, he was not at all happy with it. “Take that thing back!! It is just like having an idol in the front yard! I won’t have any idols around here. TAKE IT BACK!” When I tried to explain that I hadn’t spent any of “our” money on it, that it had been a gift, that it was a memorial for my miscarried babies and that it wasn’t an idol, he would not hear of it.
So….being the submissive wife that I truly believed I was supposed to be….I wrapped it back up and returned it. I cried all the way back to the garden center. I can’t remember what the lame excuse was that I gave the cashier when I returned this statue they had special ordered for me but what ever it was, she took pity on me and gave me back the money.
Later that year, I went to another nursery and bought 3 white lilac bushes. These I planted together in the corner of my front yard. They became the memorial for my three lost babes. When my marriage fell apart and I had to leave the farm, I went out to that corner of the yard and stroked the leaves of those young bushes and sobbed my heart out. It was like I was losing my babies all over again.
Christianity was supposed to be a comfort. Something was wrong with the picture. I had no idea what it was then. I thought I was doing the right and godly thing by obeying my husband’s command to return the statue. No matter how I felt about it. Isn’t that what a godly, submissive wife does??
Oh, my precious Nicholas,
My early leaving boy.
I know you’re safe in Heaven now.
God’s filled you with His joy.
You’ll never skin your little knee
Or have a bad night’s dream.
Our Jesus will walk with you
Down Heaven’s streets that gleam.
And though your Mama cries now
Not to hold you near her heart,
The day will come, my precious son,
When we’ll never be apart.
It will seem long to me
Yet to you, just but a day.
While here on earth I toil,
There in Paradise you’ll play.
My loving arms are empty now
But the day will come, I know,
You will not return to me
But to you, my child, I’ll go.
I love you Nicholas!!
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
For Sarah Joy
What is it like there where you live?
Are you filled with the joy only Jesus can give?
Do you dance and play in that beautiful land
Holding your big brother Nicholas’ hand?
Do you sit at the feet of our Savior there?
Does Grandma Adele stroke your beautiful hair?
Does the angel choir thrill your heart
When the harps and voices, their praises start?
Are the city streets really gleaming gold,
And the walls all jewels as we’ve been told?
Can you see my sorrow at losing you?
Do you miss your mama’s love so true?
Do you see my empty arms, my tears
My heart that weeps because you’re not here?
Do you patiently wait for your mama who
Will someday be called to come join you?
Does Jesus kiss you for me each day?
Does He tell you I wanted you so to stay?
My precious daughter, my babe, my own
Into Jesus’ arms so early flown.
I longingly wait for the glorious day
When I’ll look in your eyes and then I’ll say,
“I LOVE YOU SARAH JOY!”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Little Baby yet un-named,
Seems you left before you came.
In the twinkling of an eye
No hello, just sad good bye.
Though you’re hidden from us, we know
Now you bask in Heaven’s glow.
I trust the Savior to hold you tight
And hug and kiss you now good-night.
With Nicholas and Sarah stay;
We’ll come to join you there some day.
I know you’re safely home today
And yet my heart hurts anyway.
I dreamed of holding you close to me,
But, my love, ‘twas not to be
I’ll have to wait until the day
When Jesus calls me home to stay.
Then you’ll take me by the hand
And show to me sweet Heaven’s land
And all you’ll ever know or see
Is Heaven’s joy for Eternity.
For Heidi Rae
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