Christmas Without Emmy

Emily Christmas DayEmily’s first and only Christmas was 6 years ago.

Not a Christmas goes by that we don’t think of her, celebrate and grieve at the same time.  Her stocking is still hung with the others, in between her two brothers€¦a gap only we see.  Her ornaments still bedeck the tree, some celebrating her life, some commemorating her death.

From the photo above, taken on Christmas Day 2007, you can still see how swollen little Emily is from the IV fluids.  The hospital tag is still on the carseat because we had only brought her home the night before.  My sister had taken my children shopping for gifts and my sweet Megan, only 7 at the time, had chosen the bear.  The quilt was given to us by the Pediatric nurse who cared for Emmy during all her hospital stays; the nurse who 7 weeks later came to a funeral none of us were ready for.  The bibs are a typical 1st Christmas present in our home; the same present little Creed is receiving this year for his 1st Christmas.  Emmy, in her usual contentedness, sucks her thumb.  There have been no thumb-suckers since..a fact which saddens me.  My children ask for another sister for Christmas.  every. year.  The Lord has not seen fit to grant their wish€¦nor mine.  My little boys hugs my leg and kiss my cheek and I tell myself it doesn’t matter because I would not trade any of them.

but Lord€¦perhaps€¦some day?

Christmas is a celebration of birth, but as a grieving mother, I see the death that is coming€¦and the HOPE that will follow.  All my longings hinge on a promise, the promise that starts here.

So, while I’ve talked specifics of what holidays are like without a loved one, without a promise and the hope of that promise being fulfilled, we are missing the Truth of our circumstances.  Do I hurt?  Yes.  Do I miss her with all my being?  Yes.  Do I write these words through tears?  Yes.  But next week I will celebrate the Promise.  I will cling to the Hope.  I will walk in Truth.

And some day€¦yes, some day…

 

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39 thoughts on “Christmas Without Emmy

  1. God directed me to read this this morning. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. distraught. Walking through our second back to back miscarriage right now. The Holidays have not been easy. But the HOPE is what keeps me clinging. If I did not have Christ, I don’t know how I could function. Trusting in the LORD, reminding myself – He is Sovereign over all things, including the womb; He loves me and works good for those who love Him. These children were His more than they were ever mine. And like you, I hurt and grieve and write this through tears.

    I know miscarriage and the death of a child you hold and nurse are probably not considered the same thing. I also know that am grieving the loss of two very precious lives. I will pray for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    • Andrea, grief is grief and while the two are different (I’ve experienced both and even 2 back to back 2 years ago :( ), there is still pain and healing and HOPE! Those babies are no less precious because you never held them, you just don’t know them as well this side of Heaven. ((HUGS)), my friend.

    • Andrea~
      I read this today and had such a heavy heart knowing exactly what you must be feeling as I experienced back to back miscarriages during the Christmas season 2 years ago… the first being in July of 2011 and the second was in December of 2011. So my heart is so heavy and knows the tears you must feel.
      Know that your heavenly father is bottling up every one of those tears that you cry. And that He does not desire to see us hurt or sad. That He DOES have great plans for us, and they are not to harm us. He will have an amazing purpose and plan that just cannot be explained or understood right now. And possibly not ever, on this earth. But, we can take heart and knowing that as you continue to walk through life, focusing on truth, and blessings, you will get glimpses of what is to come and you will be reminded of all God’s promises as He blesses your life. And you will experience amazing blessings, – its just so hard to imagine or feel right now.
      Take care of yourself; I will pray for you :)

      • Thank you Kimberly for your comments and your prayers. Our losses occurred August 13 and December 9. I told a friend yesterday that God does not waste our sorrow. And I have felt His comfort and His love steadily throughout this entire process. I know my Creator and my Redeemer and I trust Him fully. We do have six lovely children and for that we are so grateful.

        Thank you for taking the time to share with me your personal story. Isn’t it so much sorrow yet so much joy? We truly do have a peace which surpasses all understanding.

  2. Amy, thanks for sharing. I cannot imagine your pain, but do share in the hope of heaven. Thanks for sharing your heart. I enjoy your posts so much, as you share ideas and your family’s goings-on.

  3. Amy,

    First off, thank you for your blog, I love it. Second, I could never fully understand your loss, and I am sorry that your time with Emmy was so short. However, last week we had to say goodbye to our little foster daughter after a year with her, and that pain alone is very great…..so in a very small way, I am feeling you. My family is praying for your family, and I am always proud of how you deal with what life throws at you…….God bless :-)

    Kat

  4. Sometimes I feel guilty that I still grieve the loss of our son. He lived for 4 days, born premature. It has been a year and a half. The Lord has not seen fit to give us any more children thus far. I have 4 beauties at home though. Thank you God. I thank you that you wrote this. It helps me to feel a little more understood in my grief. Selfish feelings I know. I am so sorry about your loss. Thank you for being brave enough to share it.

  5. Just wanted to tell you I am holding my children a little closer this morning because you were brave and honest enough to share this. Those of us who haven’t had to face this kind of hurt get ungrateful. May God bless you and your family this Christmas.

  6. Thank you for sharing this. It reminds me of so many things, mainly of the reality of a fleeting life. Whether it is sooner or later we will all see God! It also keeps me grateful and purposeful for the children we do have when we remember that their lives are not guaranteed for tomorrow. Last, it reminds me that NOTHING is more important than my relationship with Christ…we need him for every hour of our day whether we are grieving a loss or doing the fifth load of laundry.

    I thank God for you, you have encouraged our family in so many ways. Praying you have a Merry Christmas as you celebrate our Savior’s birth!

  7. Amy, I have few words, my heart is aching for your loss. What a day it will be in heaven when you are reunited with Emily. What a glorious day that will be. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. You are truly a blessing to my daily walk with the Lord. *hugs*

  8. Thank you Amy for sharing your heart :) I love to read your entries because they are so encouraging, even in heartache and trial, you bring the sunshine. I want to share with you something that I hope will make you happy too. You see, I am a happily married wife and mother to 2 children, one boy, one girl. Our son is 16, our daughter just turned 13 as your oldest daughter. We had recently begun homeschooling for our daughter and I was googling one day to find new ideas from other homeschooling moms. That’s when I came to your site and truthfully, almost passed it by until I saw the sweet picture of Emily. I am so drawn to all children and babies! I had to know her story. After reading, and as the months have passed, I think of you often and your kids and often ask God to give you comfort and peace. My daughter wanted to read one day when I was reading about homeschooling “Bigs” to get more ideas. (You see, I have come to your references a lot! the exercise dvds I’ve bought, the art class…etc)) She wanted to read Emily’s story and loved her too. So, I just want you to know that because of your sweet angel’s face being shared on this site, I have come to make use of many of your tips and resources and have been encouraged so much, in so many ways. But!! more importantly, she now has brought her sweet joy to a complete stranger who can now know her and love her and can be filled with compassion in knowing her life story. Thank you for sharing your heart. By doing so, you have brought my heart closer to Christ by just knowing He is there to comfort us in times of trial. You never know how God might use one story to draw someone else closer to Him, do you? Blessings to you and your family from mine <3

  9. Thank you for sharing your thoughts this Christmas. I lost my baby daughter 2.5 years ago. My heart is so broken and I hurt so bad daily. I also struggle with if and when God will grant me another child. I truly look for Christ’s return soon .

  10. Amy, I am so sorry…when i first read your blog i cried after reading about your sweet daughter..felt the loss with your kids because i lost my sister only 20 short yrs ago…she was not a baby..but the loss of a sibling is so hard…i pray for you and your family in my prayers at this time because of your loss and while the pain never goes away I too hope one day that i will see my sister again.

  11. Dear Amy, my mother heart goes out to you. I cry for and with you, and give you a hug. I wish you strength and comfort from above, at this time of year. I’ve been following your blog for quite some years now, and feel to know you. My husband and I have 6 children ages 22-6 months. Our 20 year old left home 4 yrs. ago, and so I know a bit of being heartbroken and in grief. We don’t often see our girl, and have a hope she’ll come around again. I wish you and your family a very Blessed Christmas and New Year! Hugs, Margriet

  12. Oh, Amy! I weep with you. These things are so hard to understand or make sense of. May the dear Lord wrap His arms of love around you and hold you close as you grieve. Praying for you, Cheryl

  13. Amy,
    Thank you for sharing your story and bearing your heart. ((hugs))
    My boy had his first Christmas the same year as your Emmy. I am so glad you tell all of us readers how you remember her, cherish her and celebrate her in your family though she is eternally celebrating WITH Christ. The hole in our hearts I think is not able to be fully mended. But God finds ways to bandage it, I think.

    And, Andrea, I’m right there with you…This time last year we were surprising our parents with news of a new baby. Only to suffer our third miscarriage in a row just 2 1/2 weeks later. I haven’t lost a baby like Amy. But I’ve lost 3 that I loved deeply. And now THIS year, my sister-in-law is pregnant and my best friend is pregnant and both are due to have their babies around the same time my last one would have been born. Then my boy, my Charlie, chimes in sometimes with – “when I’m a big brother…” Sigh. And all I can do is hope. God’s grace gets me through the difficult moments. I don’t know how anyone can face this kind of loss without the Lord. No matter what, baby or not, I know God’s plan for me is perfect. And His will is bigger and better and more beautiful than any path I can conjure up.

    Praising God for his strength, peace, healing and promise! Praising God for other precious moms who understand how this all feels. Even when there are no words, I am comforted knowing that I’m not alone.

    Bless you all, ladies! Thank you Amy!

  14. Amy~
    You are amazing. I do mean that. I have come across several blogs on my journey of motherhood and yours is so full of tips, resources, etc.. but the uniqueness that I love about you is your transparency, your softness and your choice to follow Christ even when life is confusing, devastating.
    God has used you and your journey to encourage so many of your readers, I can only imagine how he must be using you tangibly within your family- to your children, your husband, your friends.
    My heart is heavy and breaks for you. I have not walked the road of a loss of a child born into my arms, but I have walked through pregnancy loss twice, and I have walked through loss with a friend who lost her 3 year old. The emotion is so deep and the pain is so difficult that we know that through it all, God HAS to be using it for his good and glory, or he wouldnt allow it. he has to be using it to add another young blossom to his boquet in heaven. He has to be using it to bring us closer to him because you can so clearly understand the pain that God must have endured.
    I pray that this season that you are filled with an overwhelming sense of peace. That you are full of truths from the Lord and that he will fill you with strength. That you will be encouraged above and beyond all the encouragement that you have blessed others with. And that your life would be continually abundantly blessed.

    This life, in our own understanding of ‘time’ feels long, but in just a while, you will be with your sweet beautiful daughter. You will be tangibly holding her again, and you will not have to let her go. But for this little while on earth, even though your arms cannot be wrapped around her right now, God has got her right on his lap. And He is holding you so tightly.

    May you be filled with all that comforts you. All that makes your feel treasured, loved, and adored. And all that brings you peace.

  15. Hi Amy
    I just finished my morning prayers, and Emmy’s sweet and peaceful picture came to my mind. She’s in a much better place now peeking from above.
    Blessings from Israel (almost shabbat here)
    Chana

  16. I sincerely thank you for sharing your heart, Amy, and about your precious daughter. I can’t wait to meet her someday.

  17. I too am going through this… I have the first christmas without my sweet Klara…. She was taken from me on her first birthday. I am so lost… but I like that I now know that I am a mother not alone. There are alot of us and we have to help each other and be there for each other… together….

    Merry Christmas

  18. Thinking of you amy. Thank you for posting this. I cried, because my boys ask for another sister all the time, and yet with us as well, He just hasnt seen fit to send us one. Which is heartbreaking but I wouldn’t trade the 4th son he sent for anything. Thank you for sharing about Emily because of her you are helping so many like myself. N

  19. I will keep you in my prayers tonight, that you and your family are comforted from the dear memories you do have of your precious angel. I am so sorry for your loss, and this article has made others feel not so alone in their loss. God bless you.

  20. I tried to leave a comment before, and am not sure it got through. I just want to make sure that you know that you blog is a great help to many, this post in particular helps others feel not so alone in the losses they have faced. Will keep you in my prayers today, that the Holy Spirit will comfort you and your family. God bless you.

  21. I too know the longing for a child of a different gender after losing a child. My son was stillborn Dec. 3, 2007, three days after my first born son’s 2nd birthday. In December of 2009, I was given the gift of a daughter. After four more years and three more miscarriages, the Lord has graciously allowed me to be six months pregnant with another little girl this Christmas. I wouldn’t trade my daughters for anything , but my heart still mourns the little boy whose seat is empty at our table and whose smile and laughter I will not know this side of heaven.