When Matthew died, I was lost. Just lost.
I was alone, even though there were literally hundreds of people emailing and calling and sending cards and basically offering to me (and John) anything we could possibly think of needing.
I felt like it was John and me...we were the only ones in the world who knew what losing Matthew felt like.
But we weren't the only parents who had ever lost a baby. Sadly, in a few minutes of searching on the computer, I found out that there were SO MANY babies who left their parents far too soon. More specifically, there were several mothers who wrote about and shared their experiences and I can not express how grateful for that openness I was.
I wasn't alone any more. There were others who shared similar experiences and were asking the same questions and feeling the same things I was. I found some of them on a wonderful website called Hannah's Prayer. This is a Christian site for infertility, but as so many of us who have suffered infertility know, pregnancy loss is often part of the road traveled. On this site, I came across Heather...and was SO grateful for her blog and her story and just her ability to share and to support. She and Julie were putting together an amazing outreach program through Grieve Out Loud, and I joined their team--looking for support and to be supportive. What a blessing that has been! I also came across, through Heather, Katy and all she does In Hannah's Honor. Again, such a blessing of resources from those women--mainly in the blogs and stories of others who I could relate to and who related to me.
And then...I became part of the Anchored By Hope Bible studies...The Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy study that was specifically designed for pregnancy loss. Each week, I'd do the study questions and scriptures and then share with several other women every Sunday night.
I can't explain how the fellowship and support of this Bible study helped me through so many, many rough days. I had to ask and answer questions I didn't necessarily want to, and I was able to hear the heartache and healing of others as we all processed the "New Normals" we were living. I got so much out of the study, I took it again right after the first one was over...I just needed to continue to be supported in my questions and thoughts, as well as the fellowship that comes from being in a group of those who TRULY get it.
I know the answers and insights and support from those women and those sessions truly were what enabled me to come to a place where I could function every day with hope...hope for reuniting with Matthew, hope for being able to smile again one day and really mean it, hope for the joy of another child...just hope. It is a very aptly named ministry. More, it reminded me that even in those very days that I felt alone....I wasn't.
I am honored to be able to lead the spring study, which will start on March 6, 2011. If you are interested, or know someone who may be, please have them go to the Anchored By Hope page and fill out the information to join. There are only a few spaces left, but there will be another study in the summer as well if this one fills up. One can participate with a phone or video through Skype. The sessions will be on Sunday evenings, from 6-8 EST.
I have to say, I am just grateful for the opportunity, and grateful for the amazing blessings this ministry provides. As ever, just grateful.