Never Quite Right


A few months ago someone asked me if having Micah made me miss Emily less. Had that question come from someone other than this person, I might have taken offense or said something like, “Are you kidding?!” But I could see in this woman’s eyes she truly meant it. She sincerely wondered if having another baby somehow made the world right again.

The truth is…I wanted it to.

I thought maybe bringing my head count back to 5 would help. After all, I was used to caring for 5 children…wouldn’t caring for 5 once more feel like coming home? All the seats in the van would be filled again. All my routines would feel normal again…right?

Ummmm….no.

I have 6 children. You just can’t see one of them. And I will forever have one more than you can see. No matter how many children the Lord blesses us with, things will never feel quite right.

I have to come to terms with that.

When a woman has many children, she naturally remembers life events according to which child she was pregnant with or which child was the baby. I have not only that chronology, but the one that asks was that before or after Emily died? Life on one side of that equation is very different from the other side.

I look at pictures of myself before Emily died and see innocence. I see a woman who thought she’d done hard things. I see a woman who had no idea the pain that was to come. Those “before” pictures tend to bring up a lot of emotions that sometimes aren’t pretty.

Having one more child isn’t going to somehow catch me up. It won’t make me stop seeing her in every wide-eyed, chubby-cheeked little girl out there. It won’t make me stop staring at children who are the age she would be. She will never stop being my 5th child.

When I was pregnant with Micah, Ty and I both told people he was our 6th. If the Lord blesses us again, we’ll say that baby is our 7th. And on it goes. And yes, when people do the head count for themselves, they will wonder where the extra child is. The math will never be quite right.

I had some people in my home this past week who do not know us from anyone. I found myself wondering if they noticed the picture of Emily below our family picture. Did they wonder why her picture stood alone with a lamp on over it? Did they notice I didn’t introduce her when I introduced the other children?

I can’t make people remember Emily. She doesn’t always come up in conversation…even when I want her to. But I wonder…does anyone else see the gap? Does anyone notice when I flinch at a certain song or when I hear her name? Does anyone notice how my husband blows kisses to Heaven? Do they wonder about the little girl in the photo or about the woman sitting alone in the cemetery?

Perhaps they notice something isn’t quite right.

Not that we are hopelessly sad or that we spend our entire waking moments dwelling on the death of our daughter, but maybe that Heaven seems a bit sweeter and Earth a lot less enticing.

*sigh*…It never fails…I come here feeling like I need to just rant and rave or spill my guts out and I end up walking away from here a little calmer, with a little more perspective. I began this post because I was hurting. I began this post because things never seem quite right.

I can’t change what happened. The death of a child won’t ever feel right. It hurts. It makes you deal with all sorts of issues you never thought you’d have to deal with. But I think somewhere in the back of my head I thought this feeling of things not being quite right was somehow wrong.

As if living in utter bliss all the time was the ultimate goal.

I’m reading in Acts right now and I’m pretty sure if Paul were standing here in front of me today, he’d reprimand me for ever thinking my life should somehow be easy.

I am reminded of Lee Strobel’s video A Case For Faith in which a grieving father says we mustn’t approach our suffering looking for a formula. We must come to God empty-handed. Things don’t have to “feel” right for them to “be” right. Human emotions are raw and one-sided. Only God sees the full picture.

No, things don’t seem quite right, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong.

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27 thoughts on “Never Quite Right

  1. Hello Amy,

    You don’t know me, but I am a friend of the Krafts. I remember Abigail telling me your story and showing me the drawing that she had done of your precious child. I just got done reading your story about what happened to Emily and I’m crying harder than I have in quite a long time. Your baby was beautiful… IS beautiful and I’m so sorry for the hard path that you have been called to walk. I prayed for you last year… and I’d been wanting to get in touch somehow… but I never did ask the Krafts. Then I saw that Abigail had made-over a blog… so I clicked on it. And was shocked and surprised to find sweet Emily’s little picture… the one I had already seen before and recognized. I don’t really know why I felt such a connection to your baby a year ago. Maybe it’s because we share the same name… but I cried and cried over her picture when I found out that she had gone into the arms of Jesus. You’re in my prayers Amy. Thank you for being such a wonderful light and sharing your struggles with others. I loved your baby… truly loved her. That probably sounds odd, but it’s true.

    I’m a firstborn child. When my momma died, she lost her Emily too. Perhaps God thought that she needed another baby Emily to take care of until I get to Heaven. Maybe they’re up there smiling together. I hope this doesn’t make you more sad. Grief can be so hard. I just wanted you to know that even though you don’t know me, I loved Emily… and I’m praying for you and your family.

    May God’s peace rein in your heart always.

    Emily @ Glorify Him With Every Breath

  2. (((Hugs Amy.))) I know..the picture just never will quite be right. I’m thankful to see joy in your life again…but I totally don’t expect you to be the same. You’re amazing and God is a light shining through you and your family. Thankfully he has a plan for you…as I know you know.

  3. Linda,
    I posted it. Thank you for the suggestion. You are such an encouragement to me.

    Emily,
    Wow. I’ve read and reread what you’ve wrote. It makes me cry and smile all at once.

    I do know you. I remember meeting you at church shortly after Emily died. I remember catching my breath when Lynnette introduced you to me and said your name b/c it was my daughter’s name and it was the first time I heard her name said when it wasn’t her. Lynnette later told me you had lost your mother and my heart ached for you. I was a mama without an Emily and you were an Emily without a mama. But, I like how you see it so much better.

    It means so very much to me that you loved her too.

    Thank you Emily,
    ~Amy

  4. Amy, you should link up this very moving post to Wenesday’s Walk today. I know that people need to know your story,…Emily’s story, and we all need to remember to pray for you and your family.

    I think the comment that Em left you was so beautiful. Her story of losing her mama is going to be a book soon. She is a beautiful young Christian and has much to share,…as do you.

    I think God wants us to share our testimonies of our faith in Him and how He has brought us through these kinds of trials.

    I know what you are talking about when you say that you will always include Emily when you are numbering your sweet children and their birth orders etc. I can’t say I have 11 grandchildren without saying that we have had 14 but 3 of them are living in Heaven now.

    Thanks for sharing your heart.

    Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

  5. I can’t seem to stop my tears. Your little Emily looks like my youngest. Thank you for sharing your heart. It’s hard for me to read through the tears, but it is a blessing all the same.

  6. I know losing my mom isn’t the same as losing a child you held so closely. They are such a part of us. I understand about not wanting others to avoid speaking of the one you lost. My mom’s been gone almost 2 yrs. and VERY few people ever mention her name to me. I find myself wondering, “do they remember???” I am praying for you.

  7. I’m glad I stumbled across your blog; I have several friends who have lost children, and I never know if they want people to ask about their child or not. Of course, everyone is different, but it gives me some insight that mothers do want their child remembered and spoken about, even if it’s an emotional remembrance. I am so very sorry for your loss, and will pray for the continued healing of your heart and family.

  8. Amy~
    (((((HUGS))))
    I pray daily for you, your hubby,Emily and the rest of your kiddos!

    Your stick figure picture was a great way to show how you feel!

    Warmly,
    Georgiann

  9. Your post struck right to my heart. I will never forget the months I was sure we would lose our baby. God was so kind to let her stay. I have thought some of the things you are living….the wondering if anyone would remember her.
    I don’t know your pain, but I can imagine.
    Your baby love awaits you and she will know you again.

  10. Praying for you as you continue down this road. Thank you for sharing your struggles as well as God’s grace.

    Please remember to pray for our friends who just lost their 4 month old. I know that you understand what they face in the future.

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

  11. Wow! you have touched my heart with your post. i am visitng from Abigail Kraft’s site, as well, and am so blessed by your site. you are ministering to people the world over whom you’ve never met and may never meet this side of Heaven. But please know this: you are a shining light in dark places for many, and we love you for that! BTW–your blog looks fabulous!

    Be blessed!

    Lolli (aka lisa)

  12. Amy, my heart continues to grieve for you – and it goes out to you more that you could ever know. I lost a baby due to miscarriage, but I have never lost a child that I held and nursed and saw. I know you must have heard this, or maybe people are afraid to say this to you – as I am right now, but you have truly lived my worst fear. There are so many thoughts in my head, but no words to make them sound right. You are truly in my prayers.

  13. May God bless you and may you enjoy the journey knowing that being reunited with Emily is going to be the destination.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. But I’m so glad that you have God to help you through it.

  14. all I can say is thank you. we helped to raise my stepson’s half sister and when we went for custody of him last year and won his mom has said we can no longer see her. Since we have no legal ties to her we have no choice but to mourn this loss of a child. She was in our lives from the time she was almost 3 to 11 1/2. I too don’t know what to do about the number of kids. I don’t want to forget her, or have the younger kids forget their sister. Some days it’s so hard not to cry all day long. I too want to rant and rave and scream. My heart aches and all I can do is cry out to jesus and ask him to see me through this. I’ve been sitting here reading your site and being so thankful to find someone who isn’t afraid to use her grief to help others through their’s.

  15. I think I’ve read this post before, but it has new meaning now as I find myself expecting our 7th child! But it feels as though the gap that belongs to Rebekah will be extremely obvious to all, because my 5th child will be over 5 when this new one is born. His grace is sufficient…

    • Sarah,
      I am so happy for you! There will be joy and pain in this journey, but you will be blessed. {hugs} to you, my friend.

  16. I’m always reading your site and commenting to you, but for some reason I have never come across this post. While I pray that I never have to live what you have gone through, reading your experiences and what you write about that time in your life still helps me grow. Thank you friend! I can imagine that you are an inspiration to mothers all over who have experienced this sort of loss. What a precious way to honor your little angel Emily. Her legacy lives on with the way you are helping others! :) –S

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. That is my prayer…that the Lord would guide my words and guide those who need to hear those words here.

  17. I have never heard it said so perfectly. I have lost two children to miscarriage…but the pain is still intense…even though we have had a successful pregnancy. Its still hard to deal with the loss. How does one deal with it? With God. Thank you for pointing me to Him.

  18. I can identify with all you wrote… always catch people confused when they ask how many… and they see one fewer than I claim. Praying peace for you…

  19. We just lost our second baby to miscarriage. Even though he only lived in my womb and is now in Heaven, I am a momma of two. And I haven’t been able to get over the feeling that someone is missing in our family.

  20. Another post that really resonated with me. I’ve been cruising around your blog for two days now reading the post about storing hand me downs and are-appropriate chores and now this one. I couldn’t read all the grief posts at once but feel like I want to dole them out to myself slowly and savour the feelings they bring up in me. We have a girl living with us who is 8 months older than Eva should have been. So the gap is less-evident. I long for the obvious gap sometimes. And Eva is our fourth child but because Little J is 8 months older but we got her after Eva was born but before Eva died…is Eva our fifth or our fourth child…Nathan is my sixth but fifth by birth. The confusion I feel and the desire for the ‘right’ number of children is vast. There will never be a replacement for Eva but she has changed our hearts regarding our future children and she is the reason Nathan exists at all. And what a blessing he is to us. Ah, now I’m rambling on…

  21. Hi Amy. I found your blog on Google after searching “homeschooling with a newborn”. I needed to read something telling me to chill and relax about our homeschool days right now as we adjust to life with our new baby. I had no idea I would stumble upon a fellow grieving mother who has openly shared her heart and journey. Our second child died in June 2010 at 4.5 yrs old. The Lord blessed us with a fourth baby a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to thank you for writing about grief and sharing it. And that I love how God can use a google search to speak to my heart!
    Blessings,
    Kelly