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?
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.
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.