This week’s post comes from speaker, writer, and Elizabeth Ministry board member, Ellen Mongan.
“Those who know the deepest sorrow, will know the greatest joy.” I have found that quote to be true. Zachary came into our lives as a complete surprise, our eighth child. I was overjoyed! We were not trying to have another child; babies just seemed to want to join our family. As with every baby in a mother’s womb, I loved Zachary before I met him. He came bearing a gift I call “Glorious Grief”. This beautiful flower of a child was not just a rosebud, but a rose with a stem full of thorns. I accepted the rose.
Isn’t that the way with love? Whenever we open our hearts to love another, we are presented with the beauty of the “flower,” and we hardly notice the stem has thorns. Beauty and joy, pain and suffering accompany us on the journey of sharing our heart. Many voices would shout out to us, “Don’t accept the rose; it has thorns!” They mean well I’m sure, but a mother’s heart is large enough to love no matter how many thorns prick her heart. Sometimes the thorns in life are our treasures. A life well lived, and a life willing to love well, has many thorns presented to it. We accept this gift with tears in our eyes and a glorious grief in our hearts. My baby boy is remembered as a blessing in disguise!
I will never forget the day of Zachary’s birth. I arrived at the hospital ready to deliver; too quickly for our doctor to make the birth. A sweet, caring nurse delivered our son into the world. I barely noticed the panic on my husband’s (a physician) face. I should have wondered why my big hug and congratulation “It’s a boy” kiss was absent. Within minutes the decision was made to whisk Zach to the ICU. I got up, dressed and rushed to track down my baby, like a mother lion looking for her cub. Once I arrived at Zach’s side, I mustered enough strength to call out his name, “Zachary,” I said almost in a whisper. At the moment my voice hit the air, my son, now less than an hour old, turned his wee head to look at his mama. It was a moment of grace and his way of saying, “I love you.” He knew my voice. Moms seem to have a camera in their minds that instantly captures a picture of moments like this, moments that only happen once in a lifetime. Moms, treasure that picture and keep it in the archives forever! It has become my screen saver when I speak about our precious baby Zachary.
It was evident that our baby was not long for this world. Soon he was brought to us to hold. By now the room was filled with friends, relatives, and our seven children. We took lots of pictures, but not enough for this weeping woman. Our newborn son was passed from person to person until he finally ended up in the arms of his daddy, as we sang the song “Angels Watching over Me My Lord.” Zachary’s short life touched many lives in a big way. There were over 500 people at his funeral; Zachary’s life counted. Dr. Seuss was right, “A person is a person, no matter how small!”
Maybe you have miscarried, birthed a stillborn, or lost a baby. No matter how short or how long they lived, cherish the journey. Your miracle baby is a gift to be treasured with Glorious Grief. You too took a picture in your mind you will never forget. Your wee baby’s life counted. The short time they graced our lives with their presence touched a part of us so deeply, we can’t put it into words. These miracles leave a permanent mark in their parent’s hearts that only those who have lost a baby would understand. Sometimes, Glorious Grief resides in the forefront of your mind as your tears well up in your eyes. We often stuff our grief down deep, to avoid hurting so much. Whether your baby died a week ago or seventeen years ago, or more; your heart will always hold them dear. Glorious Grief is a gift. Open up the present! Do not hide away in isolation so others cannot see your need. Getting around people begins the healing process. Look for others who have gone the way before you. Their bleeding heart has taught them to care. Journal your story. Make a memory box for your baby. Celebrate the life of your child on their birthday. Place a pictrue of your baby or child in your home. Your miracle baby’s short life made a difference. It was a journey that caused you to have a different view; a view other may be too busy to notice. On this journey you have learned that moments count, and every person too, no matter how small. You have learned that no one can promise you tomorrow, so always treasure today. You have learned to “Stop, Look, and Listen” and enjoy the view. You have learned that after the rainstorm there may be a rainbow behind the clouds, even if you have to get a pair of binoculars to see it. I hope you have learned that tears are like rain to your heart. So, be mindful of those people you meet along your journey of life, whose baby left way too soon. Let us never be too busy to care, always reach out in love, and listen with the ears of our heart.