I am still sad about the deaths of my children. I still cry when I think about them. In fact, I cried today, twice. Once in silence, the tears welling up in my eyes. Once more reminiscent of my early days after losing Naomi, with shoulder-shaking weeping because I just want my baby back! I am not entrenched in my grief as I was in those early, dark days, and I thank God for his mercy in carrying me through them. But I am also years out from my first loss, and even now, the sadness and grieving are still part of my life, part of who I am.
You may be there, too, whether your loss was five years ago, or five days ago - or even five decades ago, when a mother would be told outright to move on, to put the loss behind her. If you are, and you are wondering if this is normal or healthy, here is why it is perfectly okay to be sad that your baby is in Heaven.
- Because you miss your child. At its heart, grief is mostly about what or who we are missing. When a loved one succumbs to Alzheimer's, the grieving begins early on, because while the person is still physically here, the person you know them to be is slipping away, and you miss that person very much. When your baby dies, whether in pregnancy or infancy, you miss your child. You miss being pregnant, you miss taking care of him, you miss making plans for the future. You miss everything. And you will miss your child always. The hurt will not always be as bad as at the beginning, but the missing goes on for a lifetime. And that is okay.
- Because your life has been irreversibly changed. Not all of those changes are bad, although at the beginning of this journey it feels impossible that anything good will come of it. But good or bad, change is hard. You are no longer the person you were before your loss, and your life is not the same. Many women who lose a baby see that date as a clear "before" and "after" line. That change is hard to adjust to, and it comes out, often, in our sadness and tears. And that is okay.
- Because the world has lost a precious, irreplaceable soul. I will never know what difference in the world or in the kingdom of God my babies would have made. I will never know if they would have had the same curly blond hair as their brother and sister, or their daddy's love of music. And while I may know that they are in a better place (which I firmly believe they are), I grieve the loss of their impact on our family, our community, and our world. I notice Naomi's absence from this year's kindergarten Sunday School class, and the empty chair that Kyria would have filled in the four-year-old music class on Wednesday nights. I wonder, and it makes me sad, even years later. And that is okay!
But when you feel sad that your baby is in Heaven, I want you to know - it's normal, and it's okay!!