'But God said to me, “My GRACE is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9'

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Happy 3 month birthday

Happy 1/4 year birthday beautiful girl! We wish you were celebrating today here on earth with us, rather than in heaven. I can hardly believe it has been 3 months today since I went in to the hospital to have you, and since we got to meet you for the first time. Daddy and I were so excited when we were first told that we had a daughter, and we proudly announced your name! I still remember the first thing I heard one of the doctors say when you were born - she told one of the other theatre staff that you were sooo beautiful! And she was so right about that! We had such a hard, but joyful, week with you Hannah; but it will never feel like enough. It wasn't enough. But as it is all we had, we will continue to treasure every moment of it. We can't wait to spend more time with you once we get to heaven - and I'm sure you will show us around and introduce us to all your friends up there ;)

I hope you know that as your Mummy and Daddy, we love you so much; and that you are still our precious first child. Jeremy and I are still parents, and we still have a daughter. It's just that the Lord is babysitting you for us until the day when we can hold you again ;) You will always be an important part of our family.

I received a gift in the mail the other day, just in time for your 3 month birthday. It is a beautiful bracelet, with your initials on it. So now I wear your footprints on a necklace, and your initials on a bracelet! It is a priviledge to be your Mum and to carry these reminders of you around on me. The bracelet is beautiful, and was such a thoughtful and encouraging gift!

The card that came along with this gift read that God is using your life for such a big impact. It said that your life has given me as a Mum the opportunity to minister to the lost and to help others to heal from their pain. That God has allowed us to be on this path, and that He will see us through to the end. That He catches every tear that we shed. And that He is never far away.

The card concluded with a verse from Isaiah 43 that I love - "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned, and the flames will not set you ablaze"

God has, and is, and will continue to, be with us through this journey. He sustained us through the pregnancy and through our week after you were born Hannah, and He will continue to give us the strength we need as we grieve and miss you desperately. It is so painful and hard, but God is faithful.

Happy 3 month birthday Hannah Grace. I love you.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Hi from Dad

Hi everyone,
This is Hannah’s Daddy writing. I haven’t made any posts on Hannah Grace’s blog yet, but have helped and encouraged her mummy as she set it up. I wanted to write to give a bit of a Dad’s perspective on grief, and to brag a bit about my beautiful daughter!

Hannah was (as is) the most wonderful, beautiful, inspiring and encouraging daughter any Dad could ask for! This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, given the characteristics of her Mum! I was surprised what a close bond she had with us at such a young age, and how differently she responded to us, compared with others. This was particularly obvious to us given our situation, as her heart and breathing monitors showed us numerically how much calmer she was while we were around. I suppose I knew this would be the case for Rebecca, but it touched me to see the connection Hannah had with me as well, looking into my eyes and responding to my voice. I love her and miss her so much!

It will be 11 weeks tomorrow since she left us to spend her days in a place much better than here. A place of peace, with none of the pain or hurt or rubbish that goes on in this world. Never have I longed for that place so much as I have over the past few months. I now understand what Paul meant when he said that compared with earth, being with Christ is “better by far”. When my days finally come to an end, I will be waiting to give her a big hug, and to let her know that Daddy missed her and loves her so much.     

Grief is a strange thing. Having never experienced any pain that even comes close to losing my daughter, it feels like walking down a very unfamiliar road. While some days I feel Rebecca and I walk the same road together; some days each of us seem to be walking different roads. Occasionally we meet, which is nice and hard at the same time. But as the weeks and months go on, it seems like our grief journeys are more and more different.

As a man I feel I can often get so consumed by my work, or general daily life, that I can forget about Hannah for periods. Or maybe not forget, but manage to bury her into a deeper part of me. This often makes me feel guilty, as Rebecca’s grief is still so raw and at the surface. It seems that Hannah pervades every part of everything she is doing, whereas my thoughts of her come in intense, focused waves. Seeing Rebecca so distraught has hurt me almost as much as the pain of losing Hannah. It takes not being able to ‘fix it’ to a whole new level! Sometimes I don’t even feel I can cry with her, as my surface level grief has been so expended that there doesn’t appear to be anything left.  

As we journey together we have wept, grown, given, received, and wept some more. It feels like our relationship is building stronger through the loss of Hannah; but I am more and more aware that we have only taken the first few steps on a journey that has no obvious route or destination. I pray every day that God will guide us, and comfort us, and build us along the way, that we might help others on similar or different journeys, and ultimately come to know Him even more. 

God Bless and talk to you again soon.   

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

When a baby dies

This is just a short post, to share a YouTube video I came across. It is a powerful story of a Mum sharing how she feels after losing her baby. It very accurately depicts the feelings and emotions that follow the loss of a precious child; emotions that cannot be fully understood unless you have been in that same situation. But I think this video gives a little glimpse of what life is like.

When A Baby Dies

I love you and miss you Hannah Grace. Life will never be the same again. I heard the quote that after the death of a baby, as a Mum you don't 'move on' but you do learn to 'move forward'. Hannah you have inspired me to go on and make a difference in this world, to continue your legacy. You have made me a stronger, more courageous, more loving, more understanding, person. And I thank you for that. Your life is continuing to have a huge impact xxx

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

My pair of shoes

Below is a poem I found, that I thought describes well what it is like being a Mum who has lost her child. It is a painful journey to walk. And one that cannot fully be understood unless you have experienced it yourself. But the poem describes it better than I can...

My pair of shoes

I am wearing a pair of shoes.

They are ugly shoes, uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.

Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.

I get funny looks wearing these shoes, they are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.

To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.

I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don't hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.

No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.

I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

(Author unknown)

I wear these 'shoes'. But I wouldn't trade them for any other pair, if it meant not having Hannah Grace. There is pain, but there is also joy. Our time with her had a huge impact on me, and from now on it will always affect who I am as a person.