Today was a tough day. It started early this morning when we had to take my mom to the airport. She had been with us nearly a month – two weeks in the hospital before the girls were born and then almost two weeks after as we adjusted to life back home with Lexi. She selflessly gave our little family four weeks of her life. In the hospital, she took me on daily ventures in the wheelchair and helped us pass the tedious days of waiting. When we got home, she cooked, cleaned, changed diapers, gave baths and most of all…gave lots of love and support. But today, it was time for her to head back to Kansas – time for her to go home, and time for Kade and I to start adjusting to life as a family of three. She is already greatly missed (as I am writing, Kade is finishing the dinner she started in the crockpot this morning and I have a sink full of bottles and pump parts waiting to be washed…) but we are so thankful for the time we had with her. And we’re counting down the days to her next visit…
Today was also the day we picked up our little Emmy. We chose to have her cremated so she could be with our family, at least for the time being. This was honestly one of the harder days I’ve had since she passed. When we heard form the funeral home that we could get her today, I kept thinking to myself how great it would be to finally bring her home…but until we got her here, I didn’t realize how much that transition would hurt. It made the past two weeks – and losing her – a reality.
When we got home, I went downstairs and just sat in the nursery…the room she was supposed to share with her sister…in the rocking chair I was supposed to be rocking her to sleep in. But instead of rocking my baby girl, I was holding a container with the ashes of her sweet body. I could literally feel my heart breaking…aching for our loss. It was the first time I let myself say the words out loud…“God, why did you take my baby??” I was flooded with emotions I hadn’t let myself feel until that moment. My head was filled with questions I knew couldn’t be answered. There isn’t an answer to why we lost our baby. But we did, and today that truth rocked me to my core.
I sat in that chair talking to God, almost angry with Him for letting this happen to us. That is a hard thing to admit…feeling anger toward God…questioning His will. I wondered why bringing Emmy home didn’t make me feel like I imagined it would. I naïvely thought it would bring some sort of closure…to have her here with us. But through the questions and the anger and the hurt and the tears, He reminded me… although what is left of her physical body is here with us, our little girl actually went home on May 22nd when the Lord called her. He knew that she was better off with Him. He also knew that taking her would cause us great pain – a pain that we will honestly live with the rest of our lives. But we know from His word that He will never give us more than we can handle. So even if I can’t see it now, I have to believe that He will lead us through this struggle, and we will all be better for it.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18
As I sat holding my Emmy, little Lexi was cooing in her bassinet just a few feet away. I had no idea the human heart could experience so much joy and so much pain at the same time. Wiping my tears, my husband reminded me of what Emalynn gave us. She got us to 36 weeks. The doctors didn’t believe she would be stable that long, and that at some point we’d be faced with a tough a decision. But she gave us that time, and because of that, her big sister was born without complications and did not have to spend even one day in the NICU. Emmy gave us that. She gave her sister that. She also gave us 36 weeks of joy while she grew and punched and kicked inside of me…the most vivacious little girl you could imagine. And she gave us 31 hours of knowing her sweet face, holding her little hand and telling her how much we love and cherish her. Emalynn gave us more in her short life than we could have ever imagined, and she changed our lives for the better. That is why God gave her to us – why he allowed us the joy of knowing her at the expense of the pain we feel having lost her.
Today was a tough day. And there will be many, many more tough days ahead. But there will be even more joyful days – days we celebrate and enjoy the life of Alexis, remember Emalynn with love, and live the lives we have been blessed with.