Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Can I Be Honest?

Who am I kidding?  I will be honest.

It just may ruffle feathers.  I'm sorry in advance.  Especially because there are many dear, dear, dear people who have said these things to me, or to others, with the best of intentions and though I know that...I literally cringe inside every time I hear them.

"Don't be upset when God answers 'No,'....it just means He has something better in store for you."

"Unanswered prayers lead to bigger blessings."

"God needed that baby back."

"God needed another angel."

"Everything happens for a reason."

I just have a really, really hard time with statements like that.

I don't always disagree.  There have been lots of times that I begged God for something and it didn't happen, and later, I was able to see that had it happen, I'd have missed out on something spectacular.  I am totally able to see God's providence in that.

But telling me that God answering my pleas to let Matthew live with, "No," was because He had a bigger blessing in store?????  I realize that the intention is in the right place, but that cuts me to the core.

Luke is such a gift.  An amazing, precious, healing blessing that I am beyond grateful for.

But he is in no way a bigger blessing than Matthew was.  Nor was Matthew a bigger blessing in my life than Luke is.  Or that this new, sweet little one inside is.

Children are NOT replaceable.  To expect that one can replace the other is quite a bit of responsibility on that poor little one, not to mention an insult to a mother's heart...a mother who wants, loves and cherishes EACH of her children.

I don't believe for a second that God "needed" Matthew for anything.  The God in which I believe does not NEED a single.solitary.thing.  And I don't believe for a second that Luke was sent to us as a consolation prize.  I believe that God loves and values and adores each of my boys individually, uniquely, and wholly for who He created them to be...and for however long He allows them to live.  Telling me that God needed Matthew back just doesn't fit with my theology, and further, makes me question why He'd even send him to me in the first place.

I also don't believe that He needed 'another angel.'  I know many moms, and even many theologies believe that their lost babies are now angels in Heaven.  Let me be clear...I have no doubt that each and every single little soul that leaves this earth too soon goes directly to Heaven.  Period.  I just don't believe they go as an angel.  I think angels absolutely exist...and are created by God for specific purposes.  Just as my son was.  But they are different.  In any event, regardless of that belief, it still goes back to God 'needing' a creature more there than here.  And I just don't buy it.

My point in all of this is that I know people just want to say the right thing.  I know they want to give an explanation that soothes the heart and allows some peace.

The reality is that truly, there is only ONE who could do that.  No one else can compare.  And telling me that Matthew dying led to a bigger blessing just belittles Matthew's life and puts a really heavy burden on Luke's...like he's responsible for making us happy after Matthew died.

He DOES make us happy and I don't know how I'd have survived without the hope of him in our lives.

But if you aren't able, with 100% certainty, to extend those statements with the actual reasoning, then maybe just hold back on making the statement.  I used to make the very same statements....especially the everything happens for a reason one.

And I DO believe that everything happens for a reason.

I just don't have any way of knowing that reason, and there's no use in me telling someone that if I can't  go all the way.

It just seems empty now.  Even the best and most loving intentions cannot begin to fill.


  1. Oh my word, yes to everything you said. It makes me cringe too and the 'funny' thing is that most of the people who say these well-meant phrases have never lost a child. Losing a child changes everything.

    Big hugs to you!!!

  2. I completely agree. Sometimes the statements that are said with the best of intentions can actually hurt the most.
    I have never lost a child of my own. I have had to bear witness to that kind of loss when Brian and Kathy lost their only child, Taylor. I know I've written to you about it. Before Taylor passed away, I was guilty of using that "everything happens for a reason" quote.
    But really...I can't find a single reason that Taylor died. There are no other "better" things for Kathy and Brian to have. They can't have more children. Ever. They have found ways to keep Taylor's legacy and memory alive. And that is a balm on their hearts. But they will never, ever be the same. I will never be the same for having witnessed their grief.
    The only thing I have seen that has come from Taylor's passing is the number of lives he's touched. His story, his life, has reached so so so many people. And that is something of a blessing. Taylor died on a football field, from a preventable injury. Because of his death, hopefully others will be saved because Brian and Kathy are doing what they can to educate coaches and players on ways to protect themselves. But really? God didn't make Taylor die so that that could happen. Taylor died. And we all have to live with that and by the grace of God find peace.
    Your precious Matthew has touched me in the same way. You and he are always in my thoughts. And I hold my boys a little tighter because of your story. Thank you for being honest. :)

  3. Every word is perfectly said. Thank you, Lori, for being a voice for those of us who have part of us residing in heaven. Love and hugs to you!

  4. Oh that I would have the guts to say out loud what you have just written when I confronted with those statements! Usually I smile and nod, knowing that he/she is just trying to be a comfort to me . . . if only they would know how UNcomforting it is! I pray that my loss will turn others to JESUS, not "pop theology" that tricks us into putting everything in a neat little box with a pretty bow, yet doesn't stand up to Scripture. Good words . . . thanks. Much love to you and your Munchkins. :)

  5. Amen.

    I love the way you see things ... always with truth and honesty of who God is and what His love is for ALL of us. I agree with everything you said ... moreover, I don't honestly believe God plans these things in advance either (maybe you don't agree? I don't know). I don't think He planned for Matthew to grow happily in your belly, thriving and perfect only to say ... "eh, I think I'll take him back and see how you handle this." I do believe though, that when these horrible, tragic things do happen, He weeps with us and cherishes when we do lean on Him and allow Him to take over. I just love you ... you really are so wonderful and your babies are all so blessed.

  6. Oh my. You said it SO perfectly.

    Can I just pledgerize?! You wrote the words that are in my heart. Perfectly.


  7. Amen, and amen. You are able to verbalize those thoughts and feelings with such eloquence. Much love to you!

  8. I especially loved the part about the angels. Spot on.

  9. You know today at clinical Lori , I was telling my friend Sara (my classmate) how I will be celebrating Naomi's birthday next month with another dear friend of mine who also lost a baby. And I told her again because she asked about Naomi and what happened. I told her she lived 35 days. and then my friends baby lived 3 months in the NICU. She said "probably more harder because he lived longer". That just struck me. I wanted to yell at her and say no. But she truely just didnt and doesnt and wont understand the pain or loss of a baby or child-at least I hope not.

    But yes I agree with you sweet mama. I hate those phrases, all of them

  10. I totally agree with the things you said. My son died on Sept. 13 2010. He was 23 months old. If God had a plan, then why would the "plan" be to give my child a lie sentence o a terminal disease? I had a few people after the passed away say to me "you can always have another child". I can never replace my Michael nor would I ever want to. We are in a "club" that no one knows how to respond to. Thanks foe shareing

  11. I have not experienced the full depth of loss as you have experiencing an entire pregnancy, giving birth, and going home without your child as so many take for granted. But I do know the joy, hope, and dreams of seeing a positive pregnancy test, and the utter grief and sadness of losing that tiny little gift. the one thing that has gotten me through some of my darkest times during my miscarriages is that the only reason I could fathom going through them would be because God knew that even tossed with such dire times I could still love him and become a beacon of hope for others in my shoes. And I think you do the same. You are open and honest. You help others feel what you have felt through reading your blog.

    It doesn't make sense that God would have to take our babies at all, why give us the chance to know about them to just take them away? That doesn't seem like a God thing to me at all, but he allows it. Just as he allowed Satan to toss obstacles unfathomable Job's way...but He never leaves our side during any of it. So yes, things do happen for a reason...we live in a broken world, where us as Christians are those who are supposed to be ones to spread hope. To be the light, showing Jesus to others. Maybe it doesn't make sense to you that way, but it is the only way I can even begin to face another moment trying for another precious child is because I know I can spread some light of hope into another woman's darkness. <3 Thinking of you today.

  12. Yes! What a great post!
    I feel the same as you about angels...and I really don't like to use the term "rainbow baby." Just my preference...not that it is bad. Just my personal preference. I hope I don't get slammed for this...never shared this with anyone, but your post was about being honest...

    Love your heart, Lori. Have since the first day I 'met' you.

  13. While I haven't been through what you & John have endured, I agree with everything you say and think it is great timing for me to read this as my friend recently lost her daughter to Trisomy 13. None of those comments would help her now. For me, the only thing I can think to say (which I hope is ok!) is just how very sorry we are and that we will do everything we can to support our friends during this time. If only God knows and understands His purposes & reasons, why do we as humans try to explain everything?

    Thanks for sharing and for your honesty.

  14. I've struggled with the hurt or anger from well intentioned comments for more than a decade (though about a different situation). Always praying for you...

  15. I have read your blog from time to time, but I have never commented.

    But your post really got me thinking a lot about the comment "Everything happens for a reason..." And in any situation of grief, and in especially the situation of the heart rending grief of losing a child, I have always wondered - how is this statement supposed to be helpful? Even in the "ideal" situation of knowing the reason, and even knowing that it was a good and noble one, how does this knowledge mitigate the pain, the missing, the aching, the lost dreams?

    It doesn't. it can't.

    Thank you for taking the time, and having the courage to be so honest. Your words are helpful to so many.

  16. "I'm sorry for your loss." is the one that really ruffles my feathers!

    I didn't lose my keys, my child died. My children died!

  17. Agreed! 100% Agreed! My friend lost her dad this week and I was struck by all I've learned from losing my babies and reading these things and knowing that there are just things that you don't say. They come to your mouth automatically and it's sad. I'm sorry and you're in my prayers, those are acceptable sentiments, unless God has spoken to you directly to send me an answer--the end!

  18. totally agree w/ everything you have said!!!!!!!!

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  22. Perfectly said.
    God has the perfect plan for our little ones and can't think of anyone but him who'd is trust to be making a perfect plan
    May God continue to be your purpose x