One year ago, my sweet friend Megan had a baby. Everything went well through her pregnancy. The doctor gave her five or six ultrasounds, but always said things were fine. I remember going to gymnastics and driving home when I got a phone call that the baby was here but that something was wrong.
It was one of those moments I can recall in every visceral detail. I remember how my hands shook on the steering wheel. How my gut wrenched in pain. How all the little stuff immediately became irrelevant.
At the hospital that night, my friend Michelle and I sat with Megan. No one knowing what to say. The shock evident, palpable. I remember worrying about the most trivial things. Do we take a gift for the baby? Do we not? Do we ask questions? Do we not? As I tried to think what Megan would like, and not what I would need if I were the mama, I felt so helpless. In all our time together, things had been good. I didn't know her mourning language. I didn't know if she would prefer to talk or not. To have people there or not. So we went and sat and tried to let her lead.
I tell you these things as I wished I had had a manual. I wish I had known how to help more. I am a bit of a doer in times of crisis. But there was really nothing to do. But sit and wait. And pray.
And pray we did. Selfishly that Ella would be okay. Then trying to be less controlling, we asked that God's will be done. But what God would want to take a baby away from her mother? Though you know that His will isn't to create pain and anguish, thinking of it that way seemed cold. So rather we just started to pray for peace. For Ella. For her family. For our own children who were about to face something that we hoped they never would.
Those prayers led to nearly four months. And while it seems so short, when you are trying to fit a lifetime into each day, four months can be wonderful. It is time enough to have your heart softened. It is time enough to sear images and memories onto your heart forever. It is time enough to see a family torn apart by fear and trauma begin the healing process. It is time enough for family to come say hello and have a turn holding a 5 pound piece of heaven. It is time enough to create a lifetime of incentive to live well and hold to the rod. It is time enough to remind us that we all have a purpose here on earth. And that some of God's finest don't need more than four months to complete their lifetime of service.
Today is Ella's first birthday. Poppy asked how it is Ella's birthday when she is no longer with us. It gave us one more opportunity to remember her, and talk about God's plan. Which is why we will celebrate Ella forever. For she provided an opportunity to remember and talk about God's plan.
Happy birthday sweet baby Ella. We are glad your heart is no longer broken. We are grateful that you have returned to your heavenly home. Our selfish desire to have you here with us still is tempered by our understanding that you are now whole, radiant, and no longer struggling.
Though we still miss you.