These are few of my favorite things…

July 3, 2008 at 2:22 am 36 comments

On June 22nd, we passed our nine-month mark without Felicity Margaret. Abraham and I went to the cemetery together. It was a beautiful day and, truly, the cemetery where she is buried is a beautiful place. We staked some flowers into the ground by her grave and laid in the warm grass on either side of her.

I know some parents who have lost children don’t enjoy visiting the cemetery. I actually know one mother who has only been to her son’s grave one time since they lost him, probably fifteen years ago. It’s just not a meaningful place for her. I also know other parents who don’t like it because of the emotional pain of it.

I find it painful to go there, too. But it also is a peaceful place, where I don’t have to worry about grieving too much. I can be free to talk, cry, pray, sit. There are no expectations on me there.

And in some strange way, we get to do the only parenting tasks that we’ll ever do for her while we’re there. We can clean her stone, we can pull weeds, we can keep an eye on things. I know that probably sounds very strange to some of you.

But it always blesses me to watch Abraham be her daddy when he brushes the grass clippings aside and tidies things up. If she were with us, he’d give her her evening baths, put on her diaper, and get her dressed in her jammies for bed.

Our desire to parent her did not die with her.

After we visit the grave we always go for a drive on the winding, hilly paths, under the tall trees. And then we always stop at the summit of the hill (the cemetery is aptly named “Hillside”) to take in the spectacular view of Minneapolis. The ritual of it is part of our comfort.

View from the top of Felicity\'s cemetery.

To top off our special time with Felicity on her 9-month birthday, Abraham was very thoughtful and took me up the street to the nearby Dairy Queen, where I enjoyed my twist cone with crunch coating as we walked through the outdoor flower mart next door.

Favorite things of mine that were achieved on this visit:

  • My daughter—check.
  • My husband—check.
  • Flowers—check.
  • Ice cream—check.

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Entry filed under: Family, Felicity, Grief. Tags: .

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36 Comments Add your own

  • 1. C.  |  July 3, 2008 at 6:35 am

    I always feel very comfortable at the cemetery, talking to my grandparents and my great parents with whom I also had a close realtionship. I find that it makes me feel better and feel connected to a part me that is slipping away as time goes by. I dont want to lose those memories, so I go to remember them.

    Reply
  • 2. Rachel  |  July 3, 2008 at 6:41 am

    What a beautiful way to celebrate nine-months. I am truly blessed by reading the relationship you and Abraham have, and how it has drawn you incredibly closer together.

    Last night in bed, I thought of Felicity a lot, wondering how much time had passed.

    (also on a technical note, for some reason i can only see the middle cemetery pic in this post – the others aren’t working)

    Reply
  • 3. John Meche  |  July 3, 2008 at 6:49 am

    My wife and I were married in August of last year. Five months into our marriage we found out we were pregnant. On Feb 10, 7 weeks into the pregnancy, we lost our first child. It was pretty devastating, but God has been using it for his glory and our good. As I read your blog today, my heart is touched, but it also makes me sad. It makes me wish that somehow our child had a place to mark its grave. But God is wiser than me, and I trust he took our child at just the right time. It’s amazing, some of the graces that God bestows upon us during even our most tragic moments. He truly is a good God, that he would allow you to parent your child even after she is gone.

    Reply
  • 4. Denise  |  July 3, 2008 at 7:21 am

    You know, what you say makes a lot of sense. We lost a child we’d tried 2 years and IVF to get (though barely 7 weeks old)… And I needed the little memory box of everything special that related to that child. It was my only connection, aside from what’s in my heart and mind.
    What you say about Abraham and you wanting to parent Felicity and this being all you can do, it’s true. So you want to do it well. CS Lewis mentioned something like this in his “A Grief Observed” (about his wife’s untimely death).
    And you’re right – when you’re at the cemetary there are no expectations on you, and you can talk about Felicity as much as you want, because she’s the entire purpose you’re there. I never got to talk about my baby enough, because the subject was so uncomfortable for a lot of people.
    Thinking of your family of 4 today, and sending prayers for God’s peace to surround your hearts, as He holds Felicity for you today.

    Reply
  • 5. CFB  |  July 3, 2008 at 7:44 am

    I am always blessed by your Godward focus on grieving – it has helped me understand and practice grieving for our own children who went to live with the Lord when they were just weeks-old in my womb. Thank you for continuing to share with all of us who feel like we know you, even just a little, through this blog.

    Reply
  • 6. Kendall  |  July 3, 2008 at 8:03 am

    You brought unexpected tears to my eyes this morning. In so many ways it feels like life is “moving past” my baby girl, Autumn – and I long for the ability to care for her and see my husband and family do the same.
    Then I read a post like this, and I find myself aching so deeply along with you for all the “might have beens” – for both me and Kurt. My little girl would have been one-month younger than yours… but our Lord knows, doesn’t He?
    I know He chose this grief to draw me closer to Him as surely as I know His son died for me. Crazy how that makes it all ‘okay’…
    It’s just one more thing to cling to Jesus for – I’m glad He’s very big and very strong.
    Thankyou for reminding me – again – that He is holding others 0 TIGHTLY – through the same kind of sadnesses.

    Reply
  • 7. MrsMK  |  July 3, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Thank you for your words today. They are sweet, loving and trusting……and I enjoyed your post on your children’s names, too.

    Reply
  • 8. Stacey  |  July 3, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Great story!

    Reply
  • 9. Karla D'Agosta  |  July 3, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    I was thinking of Felicity today, namely about how in an odd way, her presence was missed the other night at the Holsts. Reading this, knowing you both, I found your writing incredibly tender. It is a beautiful thing that your desire to protect, parent and tend to your daughter is alive and well. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  • 10. Rachel  |  July 3, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    What a beautiful post about your daughter, Molly. Thank you for sharing this. I feel connected to your sense that your desire to parent Felicity didn’t die with her. I often feel that way about my little ones in Heaven, and then feel lost as to how to go about this.

    I believe that your daughter is buried at the same place my grandfather is. He was an oak tree with deep, deep roots in the word. I love how that place has so many trees. It is indeed a beautiful place to remember, mourn, and praise the Lord for those who are waiting for us with him.

    Wishing your a family a lovely 4th.

    Reply
  • 11. Tina  |  July 3, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    What a beautiful post and pictures Molly. I just can’t stop the tears when you post about your beautiful daughter.

    Reply
  • 12. JenR  |  July 3, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    I dont think you should at all be apologetic for the comfort that you takefind in doing parenting tasks for Felicity, regardless of the fact that they are not the usual tasks. I have found that I also take comfort in having rituals regarding painful experiences.

    For instance, after my miscarriage last fall, I got rid of all the plants on my front porch. Most were dying, and I just couldnt take more death. Or when my husband deploys (we are on our 2nd depolyment), I spend the day after he leaves cleaning our entire home top to bottom and singing “Gotta Wash That Man Right out of My Hair” from South Pacific. Strange, I know. But I take odd comfort in doing it, as it represents to me the start of a “new normal” of being on my own again.

    Reply
  • 13. Kelly  |  July 3, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. My brother and sister in law were killed in a car accident, coming on 3 yrs in July. My mom goes to the cemetery quite often. She decorates it for the seasons and holidays, this is comforting for her. I respect the fact that she does do that. Me on the other hand when we visit, I don’t want to go. I don’t really know why. I just don’t. I hope that you keep on posting about Felicity. I know it is a release for you , but it also helps those who are grieving as well.

    Reply
  • 14. Melissa P  |  July 3, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    The grace God has given your family is indescribably beautiful. You encourage me to be a better mom.

    Reply
  • 15. DIna  |  July 4, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    We lost our sweet Hannah two years ago in March. I enjoy going to the cemetary and spending time there. I like to clean the stone and make sure it looks good. I also like to bring flowers to her and a set of twin boys that I know who are in the same cemetary. On her birthdays we have brought flowers and balloons. Two of our other children release the balloons as a gift to her. It has been a very special place where I can just be her mother without worring about how others will respond. So often I find that people get uncomfortable when I mention that I have 4 children, not merely the 3 here on earth. I have appreciated how you have honored your precious daughter by blessing others through her life. Thank you.

    Reply
  • 16. shawnda  |  July 5, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    you are amazing, sister. Thanks for sharing. I love you so much!

    Reply
  • 17. Jessica  |  July 5, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Your words always minister right to my heart.

    Reply
  • 18. Jane Swanson  |  July 6, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Such a sweet heartfelt post. I love the verse on her stone and I love how you find comfort in parenting her in these little ways. Our backyard backs up to the city cemetary and it took me a long time to see the beauty that God has for grieving people there. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us these many months. I have learned a lot about Godly Grief through you as I walk my own path of lost parenting.
    Holding onto Him with you,
    ~jane

    Reply
  • 19. Shadley  |  July 8, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    I completely understand what you were saying about cleaning up and taking care of her grave site. When I visit the grave of my mother-in-law, I get overwhelmed by the urge to make it more beautiful, to clean it, polish it, care for it. I think it is that mothering thing- even though she was my mother in law, I still have a desire to care for her and attend to her needs that did not go away. Thanks for the beautiful honesty and for sharing your experiences.

    Reply
  • 20. Rocks In My Dryer  |  July 10, 2008 at 9:59 am

    This was beautiful.

    Reply
  • 21. Janine  |  July 13, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I wonder if you’ve ever heard the song called “Smallest Wingless.”

    It’s beautiful. It’s by an artist named Craig Cardiff. You can find him on MySpace. It’s about a couple grieving over the loss of their baby.

    Reply
  • 22. Stephanie  |  July 14, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    I know a girl named Jenn that you went to school with and I ran into her at a picnic on Saturday, and she recommened that I check out your website because the same thing had happened to us that happened to your family. On February 18th we delivered our 2nd son, Landon, and he was born stillborn. I had a perfect pregnancy and when I went into labor and went to the hospital there was no heartbeat when she put the band around my belly. When Landon was born he was absolutely perfect and they did an autopsy on him and found NOTHING, no knots in the cord, nothing, we really have no reason that our little boy is not with us. We are coming up on Landon’s 5th month birthday, and it is still hard to go on day to day without our little guy. I can’t believe that there is someone out there that has went through the same thing that we have. I would love to chat more about this, your words are comforting because sometimes I still feel that I am ‘mad’ at God for taking our little angel. Hope to hear from you sometime.

    Reply
  • 23. Chris  |  July 15, 2008 at 5:40 am

    You have changed my mind about visiting the cemetery. I had never thought about the opportunities to remember and pray.

    Reply
  • 24. Mike Ellis, Church For Men Florida  |  July 16, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Thanks for being real and posting your feelings about loss. They will be helpful to others.

    Reply
  • 25. Silvana  |  July 17, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I just read your post at Rocks In My Dryer. Four years ago my 16 year old sister died from cancer. I remember the hardest thing about going to the cemetary is turning the corner around the bushes to get to her. The first time after her funeral I stood still by that corner for what felt like hours. I for some reason thought that the longer I waited to turn the corner, the longer it would feel like she wasn’t really gone. That was the hardest thing for me to do. Now I get to her grave a different way. I find myself there when I need to relax and just talk to her like we did before. I’m ten years older than her, I know its different losing a child than it is a sister. But it still hurts, I’m still grieving her, its different but I still am. I miss her. Thanks for letting me share this with you.

    Reply
  • 26. kristenkj  |  July 17, 2008 at 11:27 am

    This was so beautiful it made my heart ache. You are dealing with the pain and sorrow with such grace.

    Reply
  • 27. CarolinaMama  |  July 17, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    “He makes all things new.” Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • 28. Nikki Starr  |  July 18, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Hi! I found you through the “Rocks in my Dryer” blog, and I just wanted to thank you for your willingness to share and be vulnerable about your loss and about that sweet baby girl of yours. What a blessing you are to others who have gone through this and other types of loss!

    I have lost two little ones, both early on (and we are thankful to have 2 other little boys here with us), and my dear best friend’s little boy, Luke, was stillborn at 33 weeks. I wanted to forward to you her Chicago music duo’s website… http://www.thespares.net/store. She wrote a song for Luke on her latest CD; it’s called “Sing you to Sleep” (#12). It was written about a year and a half after he passed away.

    Blessings to you and your family.
    Nikki

    (Oh, by the way, I think your husband knows our friends the Johnsons — Eric and Kari. Eric just starting working with him at DG, though they still live in Colorado. We’re just not ready to give them up to MN yet!)

    Reply
  • 29. Aimee  |  July 18, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    all of my family members…before the child we lost, were cremated so i was not accustomed to visiting a site. my husband loves to go to her grave and we take our child/children now every anniversary and at times when she is deeply in our thoughts. i mentioned on my comment/blog that it has been almost 3 years since our loss. i have some great literature if you dont think i am crazy, feel free to email i would love to hear all about her and share about my sweet girl as well, it is crazy how similar our situations are! my profile lists my email.

    Reply
  • 30. Annie  |  July 21, 2008 at 7:02 am

    I have just recently come across your blog via a friend who lost a baby just months before we lost ours. Your blog at Rocks in my Dryer was a blessing to read – it captured so much of what I am unable to put into words. We lost our second child, second son when he was 8 weeks old. The cemetary is such a peaceful place for us too. Especially the first year (it has been almost 3 now), I longed to visit it. (we were away from home and couldn’t). To bring flowers and care for the site was a simple way of caring for him. We still do it. I am sure you have read From Grief to Glory. If not, pick one up – it’s an amazing book. That and Gaining Through Losing by Evelyn Christenson.

    Reply
  • 31. Sara  |  July 21, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    I just found your blog. I am sorry for your loss of Felicity. I suffered the loss of my son, Samuel, 8 months ago. July 19 was his 8 month birthday. I know that feeling of going to visit and getting to “parent”. That is what I miss – I never got the chance to parent Samuel. So now, we go and clean up his spot. It is nice to read someone else say that and understand what we do.
    I will add you to my prayers that you find some peace and healing in this journey we call grieving.

    Reply
  • 32. Elena  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:49 am

    I love going to the cemetery. When I first lost my son at 23 weeks, I was there every single day. Going to the grocery store? let’s swing by the cemetery. Getting a hair cut? It’s right by the cemetery (give or take 8 miles). The bank? They have a branch by the cemetery! My kids started groaning when I turned the van into that direction!

    It’s been almost 5 years for me and I have come to explore different parts of the cemetery and I’ve met some great people out there as well. It’s been an unexpected blessing in my life… who would have thought it?!

    Reply
  • 33. Stephanie  |  July 24, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    That was a beautiful post.

    I don’t know your story, but I’m sorry for your loss, truly.

    Praying His comfort over you today.

    Reply
  • 34. terry  |  July 29, 2008 at 7:12 am

    I completely understand your desire to visit your dear Feliciity’s grave site. On June 22, 1985 our little girl was born full term and went to the arms of Jesus the next day, the 23rd. I can tell you I found much solace in the small green patch of newly covered earth. I too, found my desire to nurture her somehow satisfied in pulling weeds, placing flowers, running my fingers over the smooth stone with the words, carefully chosen” Cradled in God’s arms— He doeth all things well”.
    After moving many miles away, and all these years later, we still visit, remember, and remind our other children they have a sister waiting for them on the other side.

    Reply
  • 35. Dr. C  |  July 30, 2008 at 1:02 am

    I am just so sorry…

    Reply
  • 36. Beverly  |  March 14, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Since this is an older post, I don’t know if you’ll even read this, but I just had to comment on what you said about the only parenting tasks you can do now. I feel the same way. I try to visit my daughter’s grave once a week to clean it, clip weeds, etc. Once after completing these tasks, I said out loud “well, Shana, that’s all I can do for you now.” I heard her say “that’s all I need”. It made me feel so much better. I completely understand what you mean.

    Reply

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