Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Weighing on my heart...

Something has been weighing on my heart since last Sunday and Mark's sermon.

Had Matthew lived, he would have had some serious issues.


I have not really had the courage or the strength to really broach *just* what happened to Matthew and what was said about him and what was done. I have not had the courage to research vasa previa more. I have not had the courage to even try and understand any of it any more because frankly--it doesn't change anything and it just makes my heart hurt.

So, after listening on Sunday, that night, we did our Hanging on to Hope devotional. This was week 8 and Nancy (Guthrie--if you have a hurt heart, she's been there and writes about it beautifully--this book has spoken to us so much in 8 weeks) focused on --wait for it -- DEATH.

Yep, after hearing that death is a deliverance and healing from the horrors of this world, that night we read about something that tied right in with that.

After, I asked John some questions I haven't been brave enough to ask. I asked him if Matthew really lost a lot of blood. (Yes.) I asked him if Matthew was without oxygen for a significant amount of time. (Yes.) I asked him if Matthew would have had serious, serious issues had he lived. (Yes.) I asked him if the doctors had told him that if he survived, Matthew would not have had an easy life. (Yes.) I asked him if he really and truly believed that knowing all of this, did he feel Matthew was better off in Heaven. (Yes.)

Oh friends....please, please, please do not think that John thinking that means that he was not prepared to go to the ends of the earth to ensure that Matthew's life would have been the best life it could have been if he survived. He WAS! I WAS! He told me the NICU doctor from Georgetown had told him Matthew was very sick and was facing some serious issues and he meditated on that the whole drive up there. In his head, he thought about what that meant and how we would deal with it. And deal with it we WOULD!

But...would Matthew ever say my name? Maybe not. Would he ever even walk? Maybe not. Would he have been able to eat or would he have needed tubal feedings? Who knows? Would his life had been the life it would have been 10 minutes before he was born and the vessel hadn't broken? No. Not anywhere near it.

We see little boys and girls with disabilities all over the place and look at each other and say, "We'd take that in A HEARTBEAT."

And we would.

But, in continuing to think of the many, many, many prayers offered for my precious little boy--prayers for him to be ok--I have to really be honest and ask if I think those prayers were answered and he's ok.

I'm not sure I can answer that right now. In my heart, as a mother, I absolutely would not want my son to suffer even one second. In my heart, as a mother, the thought of my son being cradled by Jesus Himself is what I'd want.

But in my heart, as a mother, with unknown possibilities swirling around what could have been, I still ache for him to be right here with me.


  1. This is a beautiful post. One of the ways I think G-d has helped us on this path was that our first son was in an inclusive preschool for the past year. There were 2 children in his class who were so very disabled. While I would have done anything for Oliver and would do anything to have him here in whatever shape or form, I also have comfort in knowing he isn't struggling like that and he is comfortable.

  2. Lori, what a wonderfully written post. I am challenged and encouraged by the things that God is teaching you right now as you struggle through your grief. The imagery of Our Savior cradling beautiful Matthew is such a comforting one despite how much so many of us wish Matthew was in your arms instead. You continue to be in my prayers. God is clearly doing a great work in your life. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

  3. Lori,

    What an honest account of your feelings. In our heads we know that our children would of had many challenges here on Earth and that being born to the arms of Jesus leaves them with "perfect bodies". However, the heart deals with this issue on a much more complex level. In the end we know our babies are healthy, happy and whole, but our hearts ache for more. I suppose they always will.

    I find your ability to ask John those difficult questions very courageous. Your ability to internalize the pain and lean on your faith is admirable. And, your ability to be open, honest and real is a true "gift" to those who've yet to be able to face the questions that you pose.

    More than ever, I stand in awe of your grace and your tenacity to trudge forward to aquire peace. May God continue to hold you and John in the palm of his hand. And, may you always feel the brush of an Angels wings against your heart.

    Continuing to pray for you daily,

  4. Lori, you know my situation. I live in the world of special needs, special education, insurance, therapies... I'm not going to tell you that it's easy raising a couple of kids with special needs; it's a long, hard haul from diagnosis to acceptance. It's another one dealing with the physical needs. Ditto the emotional ones. But you do what has to be done. (And if you secretly contemplate smacking the people who tell you that God gives special children to special people, no one has to know.) I think that part of the journey I'm on is moving beyond the "should have been, could have been, would have been," living with the "is," and striving towards the hope of "what can be." That's my situation.

    I know enough about you to know that had Matthew lived, and had his needs been significant, you and John would have done *everything* humanly possible to ensure that he fulfilled the promise inside him. I feel dopey even saying that out loud because it's just a given with you.

    These are hard "would have beens" you're dealing with. Continued prayers for strength and peace, as always.

  5. What a beautiful post, Lori. Heartbreaking and true.

    Big hugs! Jesus is holding our sweet babies. I know He is.

  6. Lori, thank you for sharing your heart. We face those same issues of "what could have been" with our daughter Bethany.

    My water broke at 23 weeks. Bethany was due May 1st, my water broke on New Year's Eve. In 1999 the technology being what it was, meant that she was not considered viable and would not have lived.

    We were told that I would go into labor within 24-48 hours and most likely Bethany would not survive a vaginal delivery, but a c-section is a major surgery that some doctors just would not do for a baby that was not viable.

    The choice for us was a no brainer, we had to give our baby every chance and if that meant I had major surgery to give her that chance, it was done. Our doctor wept with us as we told him and he told us later that even though he couldn't tell us at the time, we made the same choice he would have made. We knew that a 23 week old baby that survived would most likely have lifelong debilitating issues, but she was our baby whether her body and mind were whole or not.

    God preserved Bethany in my womb until 30 weeks and she was delivered by c-section. At the time there was no way to know what lay ahead for us. She seemed fine for a 30 week old baby, but it would be years before anyone would know the full results of that incredibly hard pregnancy.

    Bethany has mild CP, congnitive delays, and is the joy of our lives! We had her ARD today and we all talked about somehow there is a disconnect in her brain between the stuff going in and what to do with it. Bethany will most likely never live alone, marry or have children. What does every mom dream about with her daughter? Planning a wedding, having grandchildren, and being best friends. We know that Bethany will most likely always be a child to us, we will never reach the "friend" stage of the parent-child relationship. We will always have the job of protecting her, providing for her, teaching her and nurturing her. Would we trade it for a whole Bethany? Yes, in a second. But are we grateful for what we have? Without a doubt.

    We can rejoice that your Matthew is whole and is in the presence of Jesus. And being on the other side of where you are, that is a wonderful thing to trust in if you can't have your child in your arms.

  7. I understand this all too well. If Madelyn had lived, she would have been a very sick little girl, would have needed countless surgeries, and would have never been able to live a normal life. That makes me hurt too, but I, like you, would have taken that over my loss in a heartbeat. However, we can take comfort in knowing our children are completely whole now.

  8. Lori - Your posts always make me cry. By that I mean, your writing is so true and honest and real and introspective. It sounds like John has been a real support for you during these times, and I am happy you have a spouse like that to help you through. And you, to help him through; he is lucky to have such a special wife.

    Love, J

  9. (((((((LORI))))))))

    You are an amazing woman.

  10. Oh Lori, you have written so much of the questions I have asked on behalf of my heavenly Zac. The what if's, the possibilities, the desire to take the hardships if it meant days together with my son. But now the knowledge of my son safe in God's arms. Knowing full well that here on earth he would have had a very very difficult life. Yes, the human mother of me would have taken that...but the mother who never wanted her son to hurt a day in his life...well...I have to trust that he is now whole. It doesn't help the aching...but I have to keep that center in my mind.
    It is so hard to face these truths. It is sooooo hard to face what our realities became. But we have to keep believing and hoping and trusting that our precious boys are now whole, healthy, protected...and waiting for us.
    I'm praying for you!!
    My heart aches with you.

  11. What a beautifully written post. Those were some hard questions to ask and you were so brave. The love for your precious Matthew just shines through your words.

  12. Lori - you continue to amaze and inspire - you are a strong woman, and this is an incredible post...amy