A child doesn’t have to be born to be loved or for her premature death to be mourned. Our family experienced the joy of learning a new baby was on the way — a granddaughter for me and my wife — then the pain of learning she was very sick, the closeness to God that comes from desperately praying for a miracle, and the sadness that comes when God’s plans don’t align with our desires. She was unborn, but 27 weeks old when she left us. Don’t tell me she was anything other than a child, fully human and loved by her parents and all who are close them and to her.
I’ll never forget the courage and faith displayed through this process by my daughter and her husband — how they leaned into God and found peace in the pain, how they treasured each moment with their child. All of us, but especially the child’s parents, are left with a hole in our hearts that won’t be filled until we reach heaven.
When I learned that our granddaughter had passed away, I immediately connected to those raw psalms that cry out to God in pain and frustration. And I was thankful for a mysterious but loving God who allows us to express how we feel, even when — especially when — we are sad, angry, hurt, and confused.

The Face of Grief

By Podge, June 1 2017; For Hadley Reece White

Hello Grief, I know your face
You spit in my eyes
And claw at my joy;
That is who you are, I know,
A tormentor of souls,
Who lives to break hearts,
Leaving a tear-stain path of pain
Wherever you go.
Yes, I know your face.
You do your work well, of course.
Something in the way I’m made,
In the way we’re all made;
We can’t escape you.
Yet, we don’t give into you, either.
You play your part and have your day … or days … or longer
But that’s all it is – and then you fade
Never gone, but always smaller
Replaced by something bigger
Something more real and eternal
Yes, Grief, I know your face.
But I also know the face of God.