Its weird but the past week I've been thinking about Elisabeth. I think mainly because whenever I think of our journey towards children I remember her and how her short life really taught us a lot.
There is this pang I feel whenever I am alone in the Meijer parking lot because this is where I was when I called to see how you were doing and found out that she had passed. I had just gotten off the phone with Jen B. trying to figure out if I should call you. I was really worried because the night before you had been rushed by ambulance to the hospital. I called you and started babbling on about some nonsense. When I took a breath you told me you'd delivered Elisabeth but that she was already gone. You had named her after me. Elisabeth Ann. So special.
After we had talked a bit I called your friend Erin--now a person I will forever feel linked to. We cried together and it was so good to know that someone nearby loved you. I really wanted to hop into the car and get there as fast as I could. I really wanted to hold Elisabeth before she had to be removed from your room. But I knew it was not my place. Your parents and in-laws were coming and I knew it would be way too much to have us all there.
When I got home I googled how to love someone who was going through infant loss, and two things I read stood out to me. One was to use her name--don't act as if she didn't exist or that she was a secret. Secondly, to call the person if you wanted to. I called you a lot and you almost always answered and it was always a relief to hear your voice even if you were having a super sad moment.
I was wondering if you could share with our friends some things in the coming weeks. Could you tell your story? Could you share what you appreciated about those who supported you? Can you share what God has taught you about Him because of this experience?
I agree, her 6 minutes on earth (and the years waiting for her) culminated in some seriously intense spiritual moments and also some incredible lessons. I'll start right now by listing a couple of the things I appreciated during those times after her diagnosis and subsequent birth and death.
- People acting normal towards me, and yet somehow acknowleding the circumstances. I was very nervous the first time I'd see people after she was born. If they never acknowledged the situation I would be uncomfortable and unsure if they were even aware. Awkward.
- Meals. I hate to cook so it seemed extra special to have someone go to that length.
- Cards and flowers, no matter how soon or far after the date. It was nice to get those straggler cards and it made me feel like we were on people's minds even after the fact.
- One friend told me she was uncomfortable and didn't know what to say to me, but wanted to be supportive and yet knew she'd say the wrong thing. I loved her honesty.
We were (and still are) part of a great church family who showed us so much support and love, and I know that was a big piece of the puzzle for me. And I've said it a million times but there is no way I could have felt such support if it weren't for our friendship. As close and I am with Levi, and as much as we digress and process together, there is nothing like a best friend, another woman, holding you up with understanding and prayer.