I am very blessed to have two beautiful healthy children who live with me here on earth, but I also have a child who lives in heaven. This story is not meant to be sad, but to show how I found comfort.
Back when my son was two years old and my daughter was still an infant, I got pregnant with my third child.
In one of my checkups I found out she was a girl!
I thought I would then have one boy and two little girls. My daughter would have a little sister very close in age, and they would share a room and play and giggle together and grow up best friends.
My son loved being a big brother and wanted more little siblings. My husband was pleased too.
It was still two months too early when I noticed I was leaking amniotic fluid and called my doctor. She met me at the hospital where I was immediately admitted.
They wheeled me to a room on a gurney, my little boy sitting on my lap for the ride, and my baby daughter in the crook of my arm.
One of my sisters came to the hospital and took the children for me. Then my husband arrived, and we met with several doctors.
A neonatal specialist flew in the next morning, and he had no good news for us.
I gave birth to a tiny baby girl on my second day in the hospital, but she did not live. Her date of birth and date of death were the same.
It has been almost twelve years since that day, and I still feel her loss. When I used to buckle my other two kids in their booster or car seats, I would think to myself, “I should be buckling in one more child, and she would be here in the middle.” When driving, I would look in the rear view mirror into the back seat at the empty middle spot.
At bedtime I would imagine tucking in a third little one in footed pajamas.
I have a picture in my mind’s eye of exactly what she would look like. Curly hair like my daughter, platinum blonde like my son when he was little, and beautiful blue eyes like both of them. I still think about her and miss her in our lives.
Although I feel the loss of my third child, I feel at peace with the loss because of my Catholic faith. For one thing, my other little daughter is still living spiritually. It’s just that her soul is in heaven rather than here. She can hear me if I talk to her, and she can see us. I will be with her again one day.
I think it is a great blessing for a soul to be spared the torments of this life, like getting a free pass to Heaven without having to undergo all the normal trials and sin and suffering that the rest of us must live through before we get our Reward.
The only sadness comes from our own sense of loss, not from the innocent ones, who are living with our Heavenly Father and know only perfect happiness and bliss. It may sound trite, but I know those little ones are in a better place and living a better life than we could possibly give them here on earth. Here we feel pain and loss, suffering and despair. The blessed souls in Heaven know only peace and love and joy!
While I never got to bring the baby home from the hospital or make any memories with her in this life, we will have all of eternity to share together. Heaven is our ultimate home, and my youngest child got to go Home ahead of me.
I view motherhood from a Catholic perspective. We call our children ours, but their souls and lives do not belong to us. They belong to God alone. We all do. If in His love and generosity, God allows us to keep these children to raise, it is both a gift and also a responsibility to teach them rightly. However, if He chooses in His wisdom to take them Home sooner than we expect, that is His prerogative.
I feel just as honored to have been allowed to cooperate in God’s plan with each one of my children. I am no less a mother to my third child than to my first two.
Copyright 2014, Deborah Shelby