But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning
them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which
have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with them.
. . . A call came. An unexpected call.
. . . A call that seemed to come too soon.
. . . A call no parent or grandparent anticipates.
. . . A call, where on the other end of the line was the distraught voice of my youngest daughter, filled with pain and disbelief, as she cried, “Mom, there is no heartbeat.”
As a grandmother I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the months of preparation prior to the birth of my grandchildren. With the exception of two adopted granddaughters who became treasured through adoption (and we celebrated them royally at age 2 and 4), I participated in decorating and preparing nurseries for each grandchild, shopping for furniture and gratefully participating in securing all that was needed before the moment when a precious newborn would arrive into the waiting arms of mommy, daddy, and of course, grandma and grandpa. It was no different for the months leading up to the birth of our sixth grandchild, Noelle Tru. We were thrilled as the day got closer. Everything was in place, showers had come and gone, and the day had arrived. Excitement hardly describes our emotions as we anticipated welcoming Noelle into our family. But that would not be our story on April 16, 2013. Instead, that phone call came. Our lives were unexpectedly and dramatically changed that day. Tears of joy and excitement became tears of grief.
My husband and I could not get into the car fast enough as we headed for the hospital. Disbelief, faint hope for positive news, concern for our daughter and son-in-law, an anxious desire to get there as quickly as possible, questions swirling around in our heads, heavy hearts, and constant prayer, both silent and out loud, filled the car and consumed us as we took what seemed to be an endless drive to the hospital.
As we arrived in the delivery room and saw the pained faces of Tyler and Lianna, and after tears and prayer, reality met us with full force. We would not enjoy years with Noelle in our midst. With that intense sense of loss came even further sadness as I looked at Lianna, knowing she would have to endure hours of labor knowing she would deliver a darling daughter who would not give that cry of life and that she would not soothe a crying newborn in her nurturing arms. I, as a grandmother, would not hold Noelle with all the anticipation of years ahead, but rather with eyes that tried to memorize everything about her as I held her still body for those treasured moments.
And on April 17, Noelle was born without that cry, and her still body did not need the soothing arms of her mother who had carried her for nine months. Her daddy would not hear the words “push me higher” as she would swing, and grandma and grandpa would not read stories and sings songs to her or see her enjoy that room so carefully created throughout the prior months.
Sadness consumed me. And the days following the loss of Noelle would bear down on me. I remember the day I was with Lianna as she carefully placed special items of memory in a trunk that she and Tyler purchased. Items that will travel with them wherever they move throughout the coming years. Items they can look at again as they think of their sweet girl. Tears flowed as I watched Lianna so meticulously fill that trunk and then close the lid.
But dear reader, please understand this! Amidst this tragedy of loss, the Lord did not forget us or leave us alone. Praise God that though there were days of agony and still days where our loss is deeply felt, hope remains in the sovereignty and presence of our loving Lord.
“I will be with you when you pass through the waters
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not
overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk
through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.
The Lord knows that we will be met with tragic and impossible circumstances in this life but His promises will not fail. He will be present with us in and through them. I am so thankful for God’s promise of His constant presence, and it calms and comfort me.
I am filled with joy knowing that Noelle is in the arms of her Heavenly Father and is praising Him. This knowledge lifts me. It causes me to also praise Him for His eternal plan for His children, and gives me perspective on this earthly life.
“…I go to prepare a place for you, I will come
again and will take you to myself, that where
I am you may be also.”
Watching, listening to, and seeing the testimony of Lianna and Tyler as they bring glory to God and words of hope to others through their faithfulness to a living and sovereign Lord who cares for His own encourages me.
“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He
comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may
be able to comfort those who are in any kind of
affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive
God’s faithfulness has been reinforced time and time again as I am reminded that God’s purposes prevail and it is He who ordains our days. It is He who brings joy in the morning. Through both joy, sorrow and immeasurable grief, we are gently guided to draw near to Him, to stay laser focused on Him, to abide in His Word for our comfort and strength, and to be reminded of our eternal hope and promise of a future home where there will be no more tears.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,
Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain
will exist no longer, because the previous things
have passed away.”
This promise is breathtaking and can only be realized through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Noelle is already in the presence of her Heavenly Father, giving Him adoration. Praise be to God for His indescribable sacrifice, His enduring love, and His gracious promises, all of which give us hope through the sorrows of this life and the knowledge that one day all who know Him will be united together in His presence for eternity.
“My lips will glorify You because your faithful
love is better than life. So I will praise you as
long as I live; at Your name, I will lift up my hands.
Because you are my helper; I will rejoice in the
Shadow of Your wings. I follow close to You;
Your right hand holds on to me.
The lid to that trunk closed on that heart-wrenching day. Memories lay beneath. But praise God, Noelle was and is safely in the arms of her Heavenly Father. The door of Heaven opened. Memories here, eternal joy there!
This post was originally published at Hope Mommies.