Friday, April 20, 2007

Matthias Journal Part III

August 3rd, 2006

Next week will be the one-year anniversary of my baby’s birth and death. One YEAR has passed! Now Moses is here, my arms are full, my days and nights are consumed with him. God has healed so much hurt. The wound is no longer raw. He has given me joy for my sadness, gladness for my mourning. I still miss my sweet Matthias. Moses looks so much like him.

Would he be walking now? I wish I could know a one-year-old Matthias. He will never be more than a two-day-old baby to me. But he is my baby, and my memory of him is sweet.

I have been having vivid flashbacks the last couple of weeks. It’s August; hot. I remember going to buy his casket, his burial gown. I remember the heavy, heavy burden of sadness on me all the time. Sitting in the parking lot while Richard ran into a store and crying. Thinking, how can all these people go on with their lives, so oblivious to the fact that my baby just DIED?! Watching hour after hour of “24”. Being so utterly sad.

I’m not as sad as that anymore, but I remember it clearly and the memory of it makes me cry still. It hurt so much that Matthias died. How could I shoulder that heavy load of grief? The Lord – the Lord was faithful. He held me up under it.

And now he has given me so much joy. Moses does not replace Matthias, but he heals the hurt. I feel the Lord smiling upon me, rejoicing in His gift, rejoicing that He has given me joy.

August 9th, 2006
One-Year Anniversary of Matthias Paul’s Birth

Lord, Your grace has been sufficient for me.

When Matthias died, many of the verses I clung to the hardest were promises; promises that God would heal, would bring comfort and even joy. At the time, there was just pain and heartbreaking sorrow. There was some comfort then, too – enough so I could keep surviving. But as I read the Lord saying He would heal me, I thought You’d better, Lord. I will be lost if this is not true; if you don’t hold true to Your promises. I need these to be true.

I was so broken. There was such a hole in my heart. I knew I could not go on, could not survive in that state without healing. So I clung to His word – that He would heal and bring joy and gladness.

And now His promises have been fulfilled and I know they will continue to be in the future. He has brought healing to my broken heart. He was repaid from His own goodness all He took away. He has given me joy for my sadness. Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion… He has made me dwell in the house as a joyful mother of children.

He has been true.

I cried as I sat here and realized this – everything I put my hope in when my baby died has proven good. “Do not fear, Christian; I have felt the bottom and it is good” said Faithful as they stepped into the deep and dark water. The bottom is sound. He is True. I put all my eggs in the “God is Good” basket. And here I sit, one year later, and He is.

As I have been praying today, I cried out in thanks to God for healing me. But then in doubt and confusion the thought came, yes but You also were the One who hurt me in the first place! How can I thank You for healing when You caused the wound? And clear as light came the answer – Don’t you see that the safest thing is for Me to be in control of the pain as well as the healing? What if I didn’t have any control over your suffering – how could that be of any comfort? No – it is much better that I am the surgeon who both holds the scalpel and who sutures you up. I love you enough to not let your pain be out of My hands.

Yes! Lord, it is good that You have afflicted me and beautiful that You have healed me. I am confident of Your love and so I take comfort knowing that You do the cutting and the mending.

You made the universe
And You can mend me.

All I have in this world
Is the promise of Your grace.

August 9th, 2006
Thoughts as I sit by the grave of my baby on the one-year anniversary of his birth.

It is overcast today with a threat of rain in the distance, although the sun is making its way filtered through the clouds overhead. It is not hot but pretty humid. A cool breeze is blowing the wind chimes on Matthias’ grave. Today is not much like that day one year ago. Then it was glaringly hot – no clouds to soften the sun’s intensity. I remember standing here watching my husband dig our son’s grave. The sweat was pouring down his face and he wiped it away with a cloth or napkin and then placed it in Matthias’ grave – his sweat a gift to the son he would never raise.

Now I sit here with another son in my arms. How much has happened in one year! Matthias is still very real to me. Very much in my heart and very loved. I have cried a lot today as I go back over everything in my mind, read the cards and letters, look at his little handprints and footprints and wisp of hair. I held Moses and felt Matthias’ absence acutely.

It still seems so strange, so bizarre that my baby DIED. He was born and now he’s dead. One of my children died.

When Matthias was buried here he was the only baby in this field. Now there are four more; one very new. It wasn’t here last time I came. I wonder about those parents. I know something of what they feel. It’s horrible. It’s horrible to suffer that loss. I never knew I had the capacity to suffer that much. I never knew I could be that sad and still live. Even the memory of it hurts.

Oh how I miss that little baby. He is so special, so unique. My only baby Matthias. No one will ever have those fingerprints, those tiny toes, that soft hair. A matchless and special being, known before the beginning of time. As significant a person as one who lives 100 years past two days. God’s own special creation, thought up, designed and brought into existence with all his days already perfectly written. Matthias’ significance in the heart of God is even greater than in mine. His special purposes for Matthias are as great as those for the rest of creation. This is sweet to know. Matthias matters. To me, to Richard and Grace, to family and friends and people I don’t even know. And most of all to God. Matthias is beloved in the heart of God.

September 24th. 2006

Today we dedicated Moses to the LORD. It was a day full of mixed emotions for me. I remembered saying these words over Matthias, “surrendering all worldly claim upon your life…”
And now I hold Moses and my once empty arms are filled.

I missed Matthias and was again brought to tears remembering the pain of losing him. I thought today how strange it is that as Matthias died and my heart was breaking, the Lord knew He was going to give us Moses in less than a year. He knew the joy and healing He would bring even as He allowed the pain and sorrow. This is partly why He told me to trust Him. He knew He would be good on His promise to bring comfort and healing.

I love Moses. He is unspeakably precious to me.

And I love Matthias. He is also precious in an absolutely unique way. My sweet, sweet baby. I still miss him in a very real way. I look at Moses and I feel what I missed with Matthias. All this I never had with him. It is sad to me.

I have had more joy since Moses came and at the same time have missed Matthias more that I have in a long time. Moses coming brought happiness and also freshened the wound of Matthias.

And of course Grace, who is too dear for words. Daily I wonder at the beautiful person she is becoming; a flower bud opening into petals of incredible workmanship.

I love my children.

December 13th, 2006

When you lose a baby, the pain and sense of loss comes both from that little person no longer being with you and also from the loss of all your expectations for that baby. When an adult dies, you miss all the things they said and did, besides missing their presence. If Richard died, I would miss all the things that made him who he was. When Matthias died, I wasn’t able to mourn over anything he did, or miss what he was like. Instead, I mourned over all my expectations of what he would be like; the things he would do. I felt the pain of missing out on discovering who he was, and of mothering him. Added to that was of course the sadness of missing his little person, his presence.

Moses does not take away the pain of Matthias’ absence. No other baby will ever be able to make up for this baby, Matthias, being gone. But Moses does ease the pain of the loss of expectations. He eases the “mothering” pain. He filled my achingly empty arms. Although I want to have Matthias at my breast, and making baby sounds, and learning to crawl, having Moses here doing those things lessens that particular pain.

That’s the best I can explain it.

February 10th, 2007

Matthias is 1 1⁄2 years old. Or he would be. It has been 18 months since he was born. Can it really have been so long? There is still such a deep sadness inside me that rises up and sometimes bursts out. Grief over my poor, sweet, lost baby. Grief for myself; his aching, wounded mother. It is something I carry around with me everywhere I go. It’s never gone because it is part of me now.

The following excerpt is from Waiting by Lisa Lenzo. She’s telling about the birth of her second child, after her first baby died.

“Beneath the baby’s crying, I notice a strange sound, coming from somewhere close. It’s a sound like I’ve never heard, human and inhuman, stranger than the blueness of my daughter’s skin. I listen to it with no idea of what it is until I realize it’s coming from me: a low, keening moan; sad, hopeless, inconsolable; but what makes it so strange with that it isn’t sustained – it starts and stops, broken by my laughter.”

Yes, I know that sound. I know it. My heart makes that sound, because it has been broken. But it also laughs, because it has been mended. And one day it will be completely healed.

Sometimes I am disgusted with Richard for not grieving much anymore. Or so it seems to me. But I must remember that he is not me, and he is not a mother whose baby died. He is Richard, a father whose son died. And as he allows me my own particular grief, so I must allow him his.

So then instead of feeling lonely in my grief, I feel glad that it’s my own private sadness that no one can touch. The Lord alone knows my mother's mourning. My grief for my baby. My private, sweet, desolate heartbreak.

Lord, I am not alone. You are here with me in all of this. Thank you! I love You!


"Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion;
He will comfort all her waste places
And her wilderness He will make like Eden,
And her desert like the garden of the LORD;
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
Thanksgiving and sound of a melody."

Isaiah 51:3

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