I really have no idea of the date that year. Sometime in April. Those first days and weeks after we lost her all run together in one giant ball of emotions.
But I know it was Good Friday. We picked her up from the hospital where they had been kind enough to keep her for us for the last several weeks. A nurse dressed her in a burial gown made by a dear friend. We took pictures. We had some moments with her, alone, in the chapel. We met with the hospital chaplain, who prayed with us and for us. And we walked out of the hospital with our daughter in a chest made by the father of one of the Labor and Delivery nurses. Our arms full and yet empty at the same time.
We drove three hours to Ramsey Creek Preserve, the natural burial ground we had chosen to lay her in. It was us, our daughter, my parents, and a sweet friend who offered to come with us. It was raining, and while I worried about the weather interfering with her burial, I also thought it fitting that Heaven should weep with us.
At the Preserve, we were joined by the couple who cares for it. They had graciously prepared the place we had chosen. We walked to the chapel that was halfway between the parking lot and the place we had chosen and transferred Naomi from the box the hospital had provided to a treasure chest made by my husband the day before. One more time to look at her sweet face, and then we closed the lid and turned the key in the small lock. Our treasure, to be buried in anticipation of the resurrection.
The walk from the chapel to the burial ground was both the longest and the shortest I had ever taken. We laid our treasure in the pitifully small hole in the ground, to the achingly sweet strains of "Amazing Grace." Words I had planned on saying were drowned by tears that needed to be shed, tears that were outdone, finally, by the rain that had grown stronger all morning.
The drive home seemed longer than the drive there. My Good Friday was over, and my Saturday was beginning. The healing had begun, but the process was achingly slow. Since her burial place was so far away, we planted a memorial garden in a corner of our yard, a place to remember her. Over the next several years, we had more health challenges. More losses as we said hello and good-bye, first to Kyria and then to Jordan. Another garden in another corner. Finally a clean bill of health, but then a year of nothing. No losses, but no pregnancies either. We began Naomi's Circle and also a website for parents of only children. We looked ahead to the future, trusting God to guide our steps.
Then...a positive pregnancy test. A year of anxious waiting, but also of promise. A new beginning....
Yesterday was the first birthday of our son. Easter changing dates the way it does, the day of his birth was separated from the holiday, but I'm glad that this year, we could celebrate his life at the same time that we remember the path we have walked since Good Friday four years ago.
Two thousand years ago, on the first Good Friday, there was a death, and a burial. Friends and family saying good-bye too soon. Questions that seemed to have no answers. A tomb sealed in a garden. The glory of the Resurrection was just around the corner, but they didn't know it.
Was the birth of my son the equivalent of my Easter, putting an end to my personal Good Friday?
Oh yes, it helps, I won't deny that. But my hope in all of my Good Friday moments is not in experiencing blessings on Earth, however sweet they may be. "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." Jesus' blood shed on the cross, overcoming both sin and death in His resurrection, the hope of eternity. That is my hope. My promise. The legacy that I want to pass along to my living children and to everyone else I know.