Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Felicity

John Piper spoke at his granddaughter's funeral today. One day before her due date Felicity was stillborn. You can read about it here. John Piper's teachings on suffering (see sidebar) have really helped me to find peace in the sovereignty of God. If you haven't listened to them, I encourage you to download them, they are free but priceless.

Here is a poem he wrote for her.



Felicity


Felicity, that happy name

was hidden with your forming frame

next to the heart of mom and dad

until the day you came.


You did not come as we presumed—

a place upstairs at home was groomed.

Yet other plans our Sovereign had

and took you from the womb.


Life is never ill-conceived.

He willed through you to make us grieved;

and though our hearts now linger sad,

we know whom we’ve believed.


The God who numbers all our days

no less deserves our endless praise.

He means the loss that now bodes bad

to highlight heaven’s rays.


He’s teaching us to trust his grace

while yet we cannot see his face

like you, in righteousness now clad,

and Fatherly embrace.


Felicity, your name will hence

accomplish mom and dad’s intents

and make the saints of Jesus glad

for every providence.


- John Piper

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Choosing a marker

This is something that has been weighing heavily on my heart the past couple months.

On the one hand, there is the pressure of making something permanant. Really, the only thing to physically mark her place on earth...forever. It has to be right. I don't want to rush into it and regret it, but I don't want to wait too long either.

There is always that 'I'd rather not even think about that' part of it. I'd like to put it off for, say...ever.

On the other hand, there is the pressure to have something to mark her grave. Her existence. About a month after she had died, we went out to her grave and there was nothing there.

Nothing.

My mom had taken fresh flowers out and put them in the ground, and we brought roses. But if not for those flowers, no one would've known it wasn't just a plain old patch of grass. I thought that the funeral service would've put some sort of temporary marker.


My husband said he would make something to put out there, but it would've had that 'I'm 10 and I just buried my hamster' feeling to it. We called the funeral director to ask about something temporary. He said most cemeteries don't do that to make sure people order a real marker. Isabel is buried in a family cemetery, out in the country.

But there is the fear of setting something literally 'in stone' that I might regret later. To be truthful, I feel that there is no way to win. I mean, the choices we choose today are rarely the choices we would choose in five years. How many of you reading this would do your wedding differently if you could go back? I'm thinking pretty much....everyone. At least every woman.

We looked through some books at the funeral home. They had clipart that I felt was unacceptable. It was cherub angel babies with hearts. It wasn't timeless. I just couldn't do that. I couldn't look at that for the rest of my life.

I went to our hometown library and talked to a reference desk librarian. I tried not to cry when I told her what I was looking for, but I couldn't help it. I felt bad for her. It does put people in an awkward spot. But I just couldn't help it. I teared up. She looked away.


She was so nice. She found a great book of clipart for me to look through. This was just the sort of look I had been thinking of. Maybe I should start a marker design business. There's really some sad choices out there.

I do have to make some choices. I started working on it the other day. It all takes time. Little bits here and there. And not something you want to do either.

Not.


Before we left to go home, we drove out to the cemetary and saw that the funeral director had put a temporary marker on Isabel's grave. That was so nice. A little relief in my heart.

She was a person.

She existed.

She mattered to us.

Her body lies here.

Quiet times


We are quiet.


We turn out the light.


We rock.



Often times I cry.


Putting my daughter down to sleep are the times I think most deeply about losing Isabel. My feelings begin to creep out of the misty fog of my busyness. I just barely start to touch them and then I lay her down and it's back to the chaos of life. On to the next thing on the 'to do' list.

Life is so busy. Just feeding the family, feeding the animals, doing laundry, keeping doctor appointments and running errands can encompass every second of the day. That doesn't include keeping in touch with friends and family.

Who has time to include losing a child and coping with that loss on top of those other things? There are more things now...momentos to keep 'somewhere special', thank you cards to the kind folks who gave a gift, sent a card, cooked a meal. On that note, I don't even have a master list of people and what they did. In the middle of the grief, it's not the thing you think of doing.

I suppose it's those little snippets of time added up over time that will work out the emotional healing God wants to bring to us.




Is there something we can do?

I hear this quite a bit. Not as much anymore, but I do occasionally. I decided to put a donation button on the sidebar for those people who feel they want to do something.

Our biggest tangible need now is to pay for Isabel's headstone or what they call a 'marker'. I guess this sounds less morbid. They're pretty expensive, not something you plan for. Insurance doesn't cover it. We want to order a very small one that is like my grandma's baby who died. It's pictured above. It's 10" x 10". The cost is about $1000.

I hope no one feels pressured or anything, it's just a need. I know it will get taken care of eventually and I'm not too stressed about it. I set up a paypal account just for Isabel's marker. And once it gets paid for and ordered, I will remove the button. I just wanted to explain why it is there.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Don't waste your life

At what age does a life become a 'good life' lived. Was it a 'good' life if the person lived to be one hundred but didn't find God or use his life to glorify God?

Isabel lived for 30 minutes or so. Was her life 'a shame' or 'wasted' because it was so short? If in those 30 minutes, she accomplished the purposes God had for her life, then wasn't her life perfectly beautiful?