Still Standing

Look Up

Guest Post by Guy

Pain. Unspeakable, unbearable, unimaginable pain. Welling up from the depths of my very soul and washing over me like a tidal wave, it threatens to sweep me away. It drives through to my very core and permeates through every fiber within me. Is there no hope? Is there someone, anyone, who will reach out and pull me from these murky waters? Will He not deliver me from this gut-wrenching agony and mend these broken places?

Yes. He will…

March 19th, 2012. A day that will forever be etched in my memory as the most horrific day of my life. Reliving it now as I write this is difficult at best. However, my God teaches me that if I have a need then I am to sow a seed. And I have a LOT of need. So, maybe this seed will bless someone else going through the same thing. This was the day that my three-month-old daughter, Mia Roance, grew her angel wings. This was the beginning of our nightmare.

I was asleep when the phone call came. I got off work at 6 AM that day. At the time, I was working the night shift as a police officer at our local college. I’ve been a cop for 18 years, and the death of a child is nothing new to me.

I’ve prayed for many moms and dads, sisters and brothers, grandmas and grandpas over that stretch of time. I NEVER thought that I would one day need the prayers myself.

When my shift ended that morning, I didn’t go home and go to sleep. Instead, I had to prepare for court. I had six cases on the trial calendar, so it promised to be a long 24 hours. As it turned out, I only got stuck there until lunch. Instead of getting the girls, Mia and our three-year-old, Emma, from the sitter, my wife convinced me to go home to get a few hours of sleep. When I got there, I made myself some lunch and laid down for the nap.

The ring startled me awake. I didn’t even realize that I was out. The voice on the other end of the phone was a friend of my wife’s from work. She told me that I needed to get to the sitter right away. She said something was wrong with Mia. I panicked as I ran through the house, getting dressed, putting on my shoes, grabbing the keys and speeding out of the driveway. “Please, Father. Don’t let anything be wrong with my baby,” was all I could say in the car.

On the way there, I called our 9-11 center. I know all the guys and girls that work there, and a friend of mine answered. “Jimmy,” I said. “This is Guy. Is there something going on with an infant on Iron Rd.?” I remember that he asked me if it was my baby over there. I told him that she was and asked if she was alive. He only could tell me that it didn’t look good, and I needed to get there right away. I implored him to tell me if she was breathing. I begged him over and over again. Finally, the director got on the line and told me I needed to just meet the EMT’s at the hospital. “Oh God,” I cried aloud. “Please don’t take my baby!”

I was flying through traffic, honking my horn, flashing my lights… virtually pushing my way through the cars. It’s probably only by God’s grace that I even made it there alive. I pulled around back where the ambulances drive up and beat the paramedics there. One of my friends from the Sheriff’s Office pulled up at the same time and came over to me as they pulled the stretcher out of the back. He held me back as they wheeled my precious little Baby Butterfly into the hospital… they were breathing for her with a breathing bag.

The rest of that afternoon is blurred now. Thankfully, I recorded the incident a few days later in a blog post. About the only things I VIVIDLY remember, though, are the agonizing prayers that my wife and I offered up to Heaven from the room next to where they were working on Mia.

We were on our knees, sobbing uncontrollably, begging God for two very different things. She was imploring Him to put breath back into her baby, while I was pleading with Him to take me instead of my baby girl. He did neither.

Fast forward two months to today. The pain is there every single day. It’s abated a little, however, as God has shown us His grace and mercy. And the longing to see Mia’s adorable little face… to tickle her nose and tickle-spot under her chin… to hold her in our arms again and smell that sweet infant smell… well, they are a constant. We are, however, blessed beyond measure.

“How can I say that?” you may ask. “How can I still call out to God and praise Him and honor and glorify Him through this storm?” The answer is simple. Without Him, I would be dead. I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning. I wouldn’t be able to put food in my mouth and remember to chew it to provide sustenance for my body and mind. I wouldn’t remember to breathe one breath at a time. I do all of these things so that, one day, I will be able to hold her close again and watch her grow up as her proud father.

I’m writing this on a particularly hard day. There’s no special attachment to today. No magical memory or anniversary. It’s just hard. One of the things that I’m finding out is that you never know when you’re going to double over in agony as though someone’s hit you in the gut with a sledgehammer.

Right now is one of those times. So, I’m sowing my seeds. God doesn’t promise to take away the pain. He doesn’t promise to prevent bad things from happening. What He does promise is that He will never leave, nor forsake, you. He promises to carry you when you can’t take another step. He promises to breathe for you when air is in short supply. He promises to make ALL things work together for our good and for His glory.

Though His plan for us took a decidedly different turn than the one we had mapped out, He is still God. I’m not mad at God for calling Mia home. I’m grateful to Him that He entrusted His child to us for the three months that we had her. I’m not mad at God for any of the pain that we’re going through, because God is not the author of pain and despair and agony. He is our redeemer and our deliverer.

The only thing I can do now is continue to look up. I look up to see glimpses of His face in the clouds. I look up to thank Him and praise Him… to ask for His wisdom and peace to lead my family as He intended for me to do. I look up to beg for the strength He gave me when I spoke at Mia’s service and carried her out of the chapel to her final earthly resting place. I look up in anticipation of where I will be meeting the angels as they deliver my baby to me all over again.

When I can do nothing else, I look up.