How do you have a baby’s funeral? Even one that you knew was going to happen. There are many parents out there who have had a baby that died, but it’s rarely talked about, certainly not after a while.
Yesterday my long-time and dearest friend experienced that loss… Hope Abigail was born on a Thursday and died 12 days later succumbing to a fatal chromosomal disorder called Trisomy 18. It was quite an emotional ride, even for me as a person who is far removed from it all. My friend lives in Houston and since moving home to North Texas in 2000, we’ve tried to see each other once a year. Not as often in the last few years, now that we both have a young child at home.
Since finding out about this baby’s fate, I have often thought of my friend and how she could be feeling at any given moment. We have not talked on the phone, not even once since the information about T18 was revealed. I’m not sure we could have a meaningful conversation, but rather a cry-fest.
Our society’s written word has had a resurgence in recent months with blogging and texting so readily available and convenient. With this situation, the written word was very handy and the preferred medium of communication.
Such an emotionally charged topic can be managed easier thru the written word. My friend started a blog shortly after leaning her baby’s T18 diagnosis. I’ve followed it regularly.
We’ve texted and emailed several times thru the latter course of her pregnancy, and even a few times the topic wasn’t about the baby or her pregnancy. I hope that was of useful distraction to her, although it felt very selfish of me to even bring up a topic so trivial as mine.
I’ve had a lot on my plate lately but it pales in comparison to planning a baby’s funeral. Of all my friends and acquaintances in this world this friend and her husband are the most capable and willing to care for a special-needs child. They are the most equipped mentally and spiritually to handle the loss of a child too, as if that’s some kind of special trait one would want to have.
Once upon a time before the greatness of blogging there was an old skill called journaling. And after a trip to Houston to see my friends I wrote in my journal about the “house that love built.” And at the time, my perspective on love was from a different point of view.
When I was writing about this house that love built, my heart’s greatest desire was to have a loving husband, a home, a child and a garden. Then, I was thinking about love from the angle that my friends were dedicated to their family and devoted to each other and being in their home you knew their union had stuck—that it was solid. They were on the same page in thought, heart and soul. What they had was something that I hoped to have for myself.
Now looking back on this journal entry, after being blessed with all the desires of my heart, what I was really writing about was God. This is a house that God built. And thru that solid foundation, I know they will survive this tragedy and go on and thrive once more. And their home will always be a house that Love built.