Dear Parents of a Miscarried or Still-Born Child…

Andrew CashToday is the sixth anniversary of our dear Andrew’s birth – and death.  He was born with anencephaly at 21 weeks gestation.  He drew his first breath, then lived for 12 precious minutes before breathing his last.  It’s hard to believe the little guy would’ve been six today!

It was traumatic for Dianna and me knowing for most of her pregnancy with Andrew that his condition would be fatal.  And then the actual process of his birth and death – it was the most difficult thing Dianna and I have had to endure in our lives thus far.

For my own part, I did not deal with it well.  At all.  The pain constantly simmered beneath the surface like a pressure cooker for months, and the most innocuous things would cause me to erupt with outbursts of rage:

  • The zipper on my jacket wouldn’t zip, and I would FLIP out…
  • The key-unlock button on the car fob wouldn’t unlock the car door, and I would throw a vitriolic cursing fit in the front yard…
  • The ice maker wouldn’t drop ice, so I would ram my cup into the lever 20 times to show it how mad I was…

I couldn’t control my anger, and thank God, I was led to a wonderful Christian counselor before I did something really stupid and irreversible.  Every week for six months, this counselor listened to me, prayed for and with me, and helped me learn to release the pain in healthy ways.  I did not fully accept what had happened and begin to move on from the tragedy until 9 months after Andrew’s birth/death.

Just this past year, I had two dear friends experience similar tragedies, and oh, how I ached for them.  I had no words – just tears.  And love.  And a longing to be close.  Which was hard, because I’m an ocean away from them right now (literally).  So, I did the only things I cold think to do: I started praying for them like crazy, and I wrote them letters.

What follows is a letter similar to what I wrote to my friends last year.  (A more generic version of their letters is reprinted here, with permission from them.)  My hope and prayer is that it can be a comfort to you or someone you know who has experienced the loss of a child due to a miscarriage or still-birth…

——————–

I love you so much, my dear friend…

I so wish I could be there in person with you right now.  I honestly don’t really know what I could do or say…  I’d just be close.  Close to my beloved friend.  You mean so much to me, and the thought of you hurting saddens me so.  I want all the very best for you and your wife.  All the cliche things to say are running through my head right now… I want to say something meaningful, but words feel so inadequate…

You and your loss have been heavy on my heart ever since I heard the news.  I cannot bring you a meal, or come mow your grass, or “do” anything else to serve you from an ocean away, so I have decided to write you.  I wish I could communicate this with you in person – and just be available to you in person in general.  To just sit and talk.  Or to sit and not talk.  (Sometimes the silence is just as good.)  Or to just sit and do something completely different, like eat hot wings, or play pool, or watch football.  But just to be near…

Theodore CashI know when we lost Theodore (our first miscarriage, at 15 weeks), I can remember singing Hillsong’s “All I Need Is You” over and over and over to God.  Still, to this day, when I hear that song, I think back to Theodore – and to God’s immense comfort during one of the saddest moments of my life.

When we lost Andrew seven months later (our second loss, at 21 weeks), I can just remember an overwhelming sense of the Lord’s nearness – not in spite of the pain – but really more so in the very midst of it.  In every tear, in every question, in every fit of rage, in every doubt – He was near.  Faithfully near.

I still don’t know “why” we lost those two boys… when I think of them, I miss them – that feeling doesn’t go away – and that’s not a bad thing – it’s a significant thing – I don’t want those feelings to go away.  They were my sons, and I was their Dad – even if just for a few months – and even if only while they were in Dianna’s womb.  I wish I could have held them.  This may sound hokey – but I do know their heavenly Father held them.  Holds them.  And holds us.

I’m so sorry – I don’t know if any of this is helpful…  But I am with you.  I am for you.  And I love you.

I know it is still so soon and fresh now, but sometime when you are ready – and only if you want it – I can tell you about what I did to let them go.  That doesn’t mean I closed off my heart to them or decided to forget about them.  But I did, in a way, say “good-bye” and come to terms with their loss.  It was many months later – it took me a long time to be ready – but the way the Lord shepherded me through that time and brought me to a peaceful (albeit emotional) place of closure – it was a great relief and release.  The pain hasn’t gone, but the anger and the questions have, and in their place God has provided an indescribable, yet unmistakable, peace and trust.

That’s what I’m praying for you during this time and in the months to come, along with the following verses from 2 Corinthians: 2 Cor 1:3-4 and 2 Cor 13:14.

I sincerely love you —

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  -2 Corinthians 1:3-4

May the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of our Father God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you in abundance always.  -2 Corinthians 13:14

4 responses to “Dear Parents of a Miscarried or Still-Born Child…

  1. thank you for this Nick…this will comfort many for years to come. You have planted a beautiful seed with your words.

  2. Pingback: Readers’ Responses to “36, Single, Chaste, …and Miserable” | LikeTreesPlanted·

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