April 19th, 1984 is one of several dates forever stamped on my heart. Each year as the date approaches a wave of emotion and cloud of sadness arrives. Grief remembers and I am truly thankful for that because it allows us to revisit love, loss, and lives that truly mattered.
Lives that were a significant part of God’s plan.
Our twins moved from life in the womb to life everlasting on this date. They were tiny lives, but they were life. The sight of them perfectly formed, curled up together facing each other (as best buddies) is as real in my memory today as it was that day 32 years ago in Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. The very sight of them generated a love beyond words - there were hopes, dreams and plans. The reality that their tiny hearts had begun beating long before Rick and I even realized they were created still amazes me. The truth that their days were numbered even before they took their first breath comforts me. For our twins, and for their sibling after them, their days did not include that first gasp for air. We were not granted the joy of hearing their first cry. God had assigned them a short number of days, but those days mattered to this momma, their daddy, and to their older brother. Their youngest sibling has wept with me over the years as this day and our date in July come and go because their lives are part of ours. We are family.
Some of us live here – some of us live there.
We grieved hard following their death. It was during a time when the Church was struggling to address abortion, and failing miserably at recognizing pre-birth death through miscarriage as significant loss. I found my grief met with silence, which made it doubly hard to navigate, and I certainly did not do so well.
I crawled through Psalms time and time again in my sorrow. I am so thankful God met me in my mess – He wiped my tears and brought comfort to my broken heart. He used the strong arms and listening ear of my young husband as we learned about life, and how to embrace death.
Years have passed, fresh buckets of tears have gathered, and God has granted hope from His Word. Though the emotion of this day has lessened and the size of the cloud has decreased, it has not disappeared. I have no desire for it to. My life is touched by their lives – I am defined by loss as well as gain. And someday, we will embrace and all the tears will be erased. We will spend forever together – the family all together for the first time, in the presence of our Creator.
So on this day, I pay tribute to tiny lives – to tiny hands and tiny feet, to tiny ears that never heard His magnificent rescue story from the voice of their parents, and to tiny mouths that were never able to sing His praise on this planet, and yet still these lives so profoundly defined my own. I pay tribute to our Creator, who spared our tiny ones the sting of sin and allowed them the joy of His very presence after a short number of days on earth.
“For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16)
“He shall swallow up death for all time, and the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces…” (Isaiah 25:8)
“Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
“Thou are my hope; O Lord God, Thou art my confidence from my youth.” (Psalm 70:5)
“Return to your rest O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For Thou has rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 116:7-8)