Monday, 23 September 2013

When Heaven Touches Earth

Two years ago today I lay on a bed expecting to deliver my daughter due to reduced fetal movement. I have a history of premature delivery and knew that the chances of me reaching full term were very slim. I had reached 32 weeks - a week short of my son's delivery gestation 2 1/2 years earlier - as full term as I was ever going to get.

Instead time stood still as the news of our daughter's death was given to us. Two years ago tomorrow she was born.

Over the past two years we have experienced grief like I could never have imagined, grief that cannot be put into words. Loss of a child is a heart wrenching sort of grief.  It grasps your chest and prevents normal breathing. It takes over your every waking moment and controls the few sleeping moments you can manage, filling your subconscious with fears and obsessions, with fantasies that will never come to pass so that the grief hits in a fresh wave each time you wake up realising that it was just that - a fantasy. Grief is crippling and all encompassing worming its way into your relationships, your friendships and your family.  It tells you that life will never be the same, that you will never regain the joy that you have lost, that there is nothing to live for and no sense in trying. 

It hits in fresh waves, over and over, until you feel like you can't bear it any longer.  It is like running a mega marathon but never getting a second wind. Feeling the breath taken out of you, feeling the pain seize your muscles as the intensity of the run becomes too much...

...but not being able to stop.

And then, slowly but surely it eases. The pain doesn't go away. Time does not heal where the loss of a child is concerned but your capacity increases. The belt loosens and you slowly learn to breathe again, slowly rebuild your life and learn what the new normal looks like. slowly restore relationships, slowly relearn your purpose and get to know the person you have become following the breaking of yourself.

Slowly but surely the fog lifts.....

.... And you realise there is beauty .....

Heaven becomes a tangiable concept. A place so close that you believe you could touch it if you could just reach that far.  Death is no longer something to dread and God breaks through the stifling silence to reassure me that there is something else.  Longing is replaced by hope through the realisation that my daughter - and that my miscarried babies - are not lost to me forever. 

I wonder what she'll look like now, wonder what she'll enjoy. I become impatient to meet her but know that this time is not eternal, I know that one day I'll look back on this as a distant memory as I sit surrounded by my children and marvel at the heavenly beauty around me. 

And so heaven becomes real and a song resonates in my mind.....

Happy heavenly birthday, my beautiful girl.

Heaven is the Face

(Steven CurtisChapman)

Heaven is the face of a little girl

With dark brown eyes

That disappear when she smiles

Heaven is the place

Where she calls my name

Says, "Daddy (mummy) please come play with me for awhile"

God, I know, it's all of this and so much more

But God, You know, that this is what I'm aching for

God, you know, I just can't see beyond the door

So right now

Heaven is the sound of her breathing deep

Lying on my chest, falling fast asleep while I sing

And Heaven is the weight of her in my arms

Being there to keep her safe from harm while she dreams

And God, I know, it's all of this and so much more

But God, You know, that this is what I'm longing for

God, you know, I just can't see beyond the door

But in my mind's eye I can see a place

Where Your glory fills every empty space

All the cancer is gone

Every mouth is fed

And there's no one left in the orphans' bed

Every lonely heart finds their one true love

And there's no more goodbye

And no more not enough

And there's no more enemy

No more

Heaven is a sweet, maple syrup kiss

And a thousand other little things I miss with her gone

Heaven is the place where she takes my hand

And leads me to You

And we both run into Your arms