It’s been three years today. I sit reflecting on the short lives that I once carried. Sadness swells within, and I feel that familiar grief try to creep up into my heart.
I’m sad for me, not them. It’s self-pity really for all that I experienced. Their bodies lay in the ground, but they aren’t there, yet I visit each year.
This year’s visit was a little different. My daughter, 20 months, in tow, we bring roses to lay on their grave marker. One pink, two red. This year, Peanut gets to carry her sister’s rose. I lay the twins roses down, and I show her where to lay hers.
I pick her up, and I tell her why we were there. “Mommy comes here each year to remember, reflect, and pray. You have a sister and two brothers.”
“Elmo! Elmo!,” she interrupts, pointing across the yard. I know she doesn’t understand, but it’s good practice for the day she will. I continue.
“They were born early like you, but instead of being here with us, they are in Heaven with Jesus. One day, we will get to see them again.”
“Elmo! Elmo,” she squeals. I acknowledge the Elmo balloon she sees. It’s attached to another grave.
“Will you help mommy pray?”
She gives a big nod. I smile.
I pray something like this, “Father, I love you and praise you for You are good. Always. Thank you for my 3 babies. Thank you for their lives, although short. Most of all, thank you for the hope I have in You. Thank you for the work You have done in my heart through suffering. Thank you that you are victorious!”
“Thank you for our miracle, for allowing her to live. Thank you for giving us the honor of being her parents. Thank you for the joy that she brings.”
“Elmo! Elmo,” she insists again. I begin to walk towards the balloon and continue to pray for my daughter, her daddy and I.
Walking through the yard, my eyes cross over all the other markers. The cemetery has an area marked “Holy Innocents Section.” It’s filled with other parent’s hopes and dreams of a life never realized or cut too soon.
We reach the balloon. My heart starts beating a little faster, and sorrow enters my heart. It’s a “fresh one.” A grave recently dug. A child recently buried. No marker yet. No identification. Just balloons, flowers, and other grave decorations.
And my heart cries out for a mother. It grieves for her, and every other mother who has had to bury their child.
Because I know the emptiness losing a child leaves. I know the utter despair it can bring. And I know the longing for a child that can never be replaced.
But I also know HOPE.
And that HOPE has a name. Jesus. And it whispers, “Look to Me. Look to the cross.”
And with tears, I surrender to the hope that is Christ, the hope of glory. I focus my eyes on my Victor who will one day make all things new. And joy permeates my heart. A familiar song rises within my soul:
I’d love to hear your story! Have you ever lost someone dear to you? What has the Lord shown you through your suffering? If you are a grieving mother, I’d love to pray for you.