I bought two geraniums, a red one and a pink one. Most of the time I think of our baby as a girl, so the pink made me think of her. I wanted to get my hands in to soil, around roots, to feel the sunshine, to cup something living and help make it thrive, to marvel over God's creation of delicate petals and vibrant green leaves- to plant in hope....in hope of what is yet to come of all of this.
The day before that I guess I felt a lot of dread and anticipation about the coming anniversary. All the horrible memories and awful scenes flooded my mind. I could feel that cold, empty, sick, gripping, life-stealing feeling all over again. The moment at my sister's house after dinner when I knew this wasn't going away. Sobbing on her shoulder as we left the house, and her kids watching me with fearful eyes. Sobbing the whole car ride home. Calling my midwife. Knowing this was coming like a freight train right on me and saying "I can't do this!" as I clung to my husband. Deciding to go to the ER. Too many horrendous things that happened there that I try to shove out of my memory. The doctor who finally, finally told us what we already knew. Home with pain killers, waiting for the inevitable. Waking just a few hours later. Seeing my baby with my own eyes. Then the body-shock and the consuming pain and the blood and my husband calling 911. The ambulance ride in the middle of the night. My baby in a plastic bag. Unbelief that all of this is seriously happening. Pain-relief at the hospital and then released later that day. Hearing that even my father-in-law, my brother, my little nephews and niece had cried for us, for our baby. And then the blur of days, weeks, months that passed in a haze of grief and pain, while outside much of life continued on as normal.
If you've been reading this blog much then you know how God walked me from there to here. Amazing really. I never would have imagined I'd be here and that I'd be like this- expectant, hopeful, joyful, living an abundant life, waiting for a new son or daughter to join our family. We sowed many tears, and God is reaping a harvest of joy for us.
"Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him."
Sometimes I still sow tears. It's interesting at times to see how the joys and sorrows are so mixed and often times so connected- with the baby that was and the baby that will be. My friend so poignantly noted that the baby we lost is now the brother or sister of the baby we will soon receive. I seriously had never thought of that before and I don't know why not. And one day our child will swing on the branches of the tree we planted last weekend in memory of our baby in heaven. A sweet little memorial tree for our baby in our yet-to-be-landscaped backyard.Psalm 126:5-6
We felt so compelled to do something for the anniversary and then we both thought of planting a tree. It's tiny but it has several little branches full of broad, bright green leaves and I can see it in my head, all tall and strong with leaves canopied over the yard, receiving years and years of children's laughter, backyard birthday parties, games of hide and seek, little legs jumping in piles of raked up autumn leaves, small hands hanging up a bird feeder or helping papa make a tree house in the strongest branches. A tree for the baby we lost, to be a tree for the children we will receive.
Sowing in hope. Right there in our backyard. I can see it from our kitchen window. I loved this house because of that kitchen window so bright and happy to the backyard. I can see the tiny tree waving in the breeze and I can see the two pots of bright geraniums. Our own statement that death is not the final word. It's not the way it's supposed to be. The dry, barren earth can be redeemed. There will be life where there has been death. We'll see it here, right before our very eyes. We'll touch it as surely as we've touched the leaves and roots of these plants.
Hope has been sown, right along with these tears. Mingling in the hands of our Creator to bring forth something we still can hardly imagine. He is the Author of hope, the only reason this story has hope, the only way for hope to sustain through anything in the future that befalls our lives. He is it. These babies aren't the hope. HE is the hope.
"...shall come home with shouts of joy"- No shout of joy will compare with my shouts on that day when I enter my final home and Jesus takes these burdens of grief and death and living from me and holds me in him forever. That's the home and the joy my hope is set on.