But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Many of you walked the journey of loss with me nine years ago as we traveled to Indiana to bury a child I loved like a daughter in a cemetery surrounded by apple trees. (read:
That was a hard time for me.
Loss is hard
... Even when you know your loved one is worshipping her Creator as they eagerly await your arrival into the Kingdom of God. What a joyous day that will be!
But let's face it... in the meantime, loss sucks. It just does. And there's not really anything we can do about it.
Meet Luke Malone:
Luke came into the world via Scott and Melissa Malone on October 4, 2012 at 24 weeks gestation and weighing 1lb 10oz.
He spent 38 sweet days with his momma and daddy and now, Luke worships his Creator as he awaits a joyful reunion with his parents when they join him in the Kingdom of God.
38 days that changed the lives of his parents and those who followed his journey: (
38 days that would eventually effect me in ways I never would have expected...
Melissa is a close friend of my sister's. Corrie began sending me text messages about little Luke soon after he was born. I had no inkling of a notion of what life in the NICU or parenting a sick preemie meant at that time. I was 3 1/2 months into my easier than ever pregnancy and emergency c-sections were the farthest thought from my mind, but I prayed for Melissa and little Luke and went about planning little Mercy's mermaid nursery...
Luke fought so hard, but this was not his home. The Lord took him to his forever home on November 11th.
Since then, Melissa has had the task of figuring out how to grieve the loss of her son..
On January 18th, when Chris and I received the surprise of our lives and Mercy was brought into this world ten weeks early, I was scared. I wasn't comforted by my doctor who told Chris, "
might not make it through the night." (That's right, my brand new baby girl was diminished to the status of "it.") I wasn't comforted by my hospital bed, where I laid sick for 30 hours before getting to visit my sick daughter. I wasn't comforted by ventilators or PDA's or the then strangers taking care of us both who didn't seem to have any answers in those first hours and days. I was scared. I've never been that scared.
That second day I received a gift from three people I had never met. Flowers. And on the card were three names: Melissa, Scott and Mollie.
Melissa. A momma who had been in this same hospital bed... who knew the fear I was experiencing... who cried the tears I cried... and who was dealing with loss in the most gracious and compassionate way, by stepping into shoes she had been in and sharing her love and prayers with a stranger who needed them.
I was comforted...
Last weekend Mercy and I got to meet Melissa.
What a blessing she is!
...and what a blessing she gave us. She and Mollie (the third name on the card and another one of Corrie's friend's who loved us through our NICU journey) walked in with a gift bag and in it was an Ariel shirt (love! thank you Mollie!) and a little box. I pulled a tiny hat out of the box and Melissa told me that it had been Luke's.
Oh, I cried... what a sweet gift from somebody who could be jealous and bitter towards situations that turned out differently, but instead is compassionate, loving, generous, brave and amazing.
Here's a photo of Melissa and Mercy in Luke's precious hat.
I admire this woman for so many reasons. At the top of the list is how she has so beautifully dealt with her loss. She is living Luke's legacy through reaching out and loving those of us who don't know how to take the next scary step forward in our own situations. Thank you, Melissa, for showing me how to live beautifully in the midst of grief and sadness. I believe I will grieve differently, more graciously, in the future.
You know, sometimes I'm jealous of mom's who got to experience their third trimester, even though I've been told it's the hardest... then I think about brave momma's like Melissa who
jealous of mom's like me who got to bring our babies home with us,
... and I realize how much I have left to learn.
Thank you, my God, for placing people in my life to teach me hard lessons. Thank you for baby Luke, who runs and plays and worships You today. Bring that sweet momma and daddy peace as they continue to figure out life without their precious baby boy...
Friends, please pray with us for the Malones. They have suffered the greatest loss of all...
and loss is SO so hard.