Guest post by April Starkey
I remember when we first lost Annabelle, the pain so intense, the grief so deep, took all we had to move, to breathe, to remember life still existed. We were sitting here talking tonight about how in the beginning, after losing her, we truly thought we would never be able to get on with life. I truly cannot describe to you the lowness, the awfulness that we felt at that point in time. I remember wanting so badly to find blogs of others who had lost a baby and had survived. I desperately needed to see that they actually did make it through it. I remember asking questions to those I had found who had lost a child, about how they were six months out, a year, on holidays, anniversary’s, how they survived etc…because at that point in the journey I didn’t know how to take the next step. So if your reading this and you’ve recently lost your baby, I pray and hope that you can read these coming words i’m about to write and find some hope in them, that you will not always feel the same exact way you feel right now.
Grief truly never goes away, time doesn’t completely heal like everyone says BUT it is TRUE that your grief does go from a LOUD scream to a soft whisper. It IS true that time does change some things and you begin to move on a bit, but you NEVER get over it, you NEVER completely heal from it and you will ALWAYS remember your baby/child every day for the rest of your life until you get to see them again in heaven.
Here we are, SIX MONTHS OUT. Six months ago tomorrow (Dec 6th) at 4:42 p.m I gave birth naturally to a beautiful baby girl who we named Annabelle Cherrea. She was brought up to my chest immediately and from that point on all her daddy and I could do was keep our eyes on her and be amazed at the beauty that her Creator made in every detail of her body. 10 fingers, 10 toes, 2 ears, 1 nose, 2 eyes shut, 1 precious mouth open and so tiny. Like I mentioned above, at that time in our life and the weeks following we could barely breathe, barely move. Jim and I would sit and stare into space for what seemed like forever at first when we were home. We remember driving home with her being so mad that everyone else’s lives were going on and ours felt like it was completely frozen. Here we were being ushered through the back of the hospital so we wouldn’t offend anyone in the front with our dead baby girl we were carrying back home with us to the funeral home. It is something I wish on no one. Pulling into the funeral home, holding our baby together and bawling so hard as we prayed together thanking Him for her but praying He would walk us through this and give us His strength as we knew we COULD NOT DO IT. We had to walk in and say goodbye to her and see her for the last time on this earth before giving her to them. It was the darkest time in our lives. That was then…
This is now…SIX MONTHS LATER. How are we doing you’re wondering? I can say that WE DID SURVIVE. All glory to God for that. We have felt His love, presence, peace and strength in a way more than we could have ever known without going through this. Each month got a little better. God helped me overcome my grief eating because the first three months, especially around her anniversary I would try to get rid of the pain by eating it away but it was not taking the pain away and He taught me that only He can take it away. Only He can fill ANY VOID in ANY of our lives. I have realized more through this journey than ever that He truly is my refuge and strength and I have personally felt Him carrying us and knowing that so many times throughout the past six months, there were truly only what set of foot prints because they were His and He was carrying us. I don’t cry everyday now but I still think of her everyday. I have even had many beautiful moments of thinking of all the wonderful things about her and her life. God has helped me focus on His perspective here lately and how He chose this path for her to bring Him the most glory and to use her little life for His good!
For the most part, life is much better now. I can focus more and more on my baby boy and all the gifts that God has given to me through Isaac. Jim and I have such a beautiful marriage that I can never thank God enough for. We go and visit her grave every so often and today will be one of those days. I take moments every so often and go and look through all her ultrasounds, her clothes and blanket and pictures and momentos and just sit and cry and hold them. I’ll sing to her or talk to God about her. I want to tell you though that you CAN make it through this. Especially if you know Christ, the hope you have in Him will help you through. The strength that comes from Him will sustain you and the His peace will hold you in the hardest times. If your at the part of your journey where you feel like there is no hope, JUST HOLD ON, I promise you it will get better. I’m not saying your grief will go away or that you will stop missing your baby…that will never happen, but it will get better. It will be a whisper, He will be your strength. You will still have moments hit you out of the blue that will knock you to your knees BUT He will still be the same and He will still be with you at EACH of those moments.
Here I am at six months out…I miss her more than i’ll ever be able to tell you all. I love her with a depth i don’t even know how to describe BUT I have a Creator who formed her, who knew the plans He had for her before ONE of them came to be and knew the path He chose for her. He is the same He was before she died, He is the same today as He was when He gave His son on the cross for us and He will be the same in the future through whatever life brings because HE IS GOD! He is my strength and He IS the reason why I can sit here today six months later and give Him all the glory and praise for my baby girl Annabelle and where He has brought me from since losing her. He has used her to help remind me that this is not our home and it has helped me ache even more for our home! He is so good, no matter the circumstances, He is good!