Tiny coffins should not exist. That’s all I could think as I stood in line to greet my friends, Brian and Amy—the small stone box behind them. Watching Brian and Amy greet the people who were in line before me was also moving. Sometimes they simply grabbed the folks who hugged them, holding tight for a long time without saying a word. Sometimes they laughed a little as they recalled a memory. Sometimes they choked up in the middle of a sentence.
Amy looked lovely and gracious as always. She’s a quiet woman, even a bit shy—but we all knew by now how strong she was. Eleven months before she had been admitted to the hospital due to preeclampsia. She was 23 weeks into her pregnancy, and both she and their twin unborn babies were being monitored. Two weeks later, she gave birth to Noah, who was 1 pound 3 ounces, and Claire, who was too small to survive.
Noah’s situation was precarious, but signs were good. I went in to meet little Noah when he was first born, and was stunned by how beautiful and delicate he was. I could see his little heart beating through his translucent skin and marveled that this tiny little body would eventually transform into a grown man. I didn’t even question whether he would survive. He was gaining weight, the hole in his heart had closed up, and most importantly, his older brother Kaleb who had been born prematurely was most certainly alive and active (and excited to get a candy from my purse every Sunday).
Every day for ten months, Brian and Amy made the long trip to the hospital to spend time with their son. Their entire community rallied around them; we prayed faithfully and we cheered as Noah continued to grow. Our hopes were high. The doctors were weaning him from his meds and reducing his oxygen supply. Brian was secretly hoping Noah would be able to come home by Christmas.
And then everything changed.
Brian called one night to say that things were not good. Noah was looking great, but internally he wasn’t doing so well. In fact, not good at all. The doctors had informed them that Noah had 0% chance of survival. A week later, he died.
Brian and Amy have a quiet strength. The day of the viewing, their friend was not able to find a babysitter, but wanted to show support; she apologized for having her baby with her, and Brian quickly stopped her. “We are glad you have a baby to love!” After the funeral, Amy wrote on her facebook wall that she was praying for Becky, who had been Noah’s primary nurse—aware that Noah’s death was hard on others too. Brian and Amy quickly began noticing and celebrating the ways Noah had touched others in his short life. Brian went out of his way to encourage people to support the CaringBridge site so that others could benefit from the care it provides for hurting families. And they are turning to God with the pain in their hearts: “We have to admit,” Brian says, “that we are still not sure what God’s intentions were or why He chose us to take this journey, but we will continue to look to Him for those answers.”
Brian and Amy won’t have Noah, or Claire, home for Christmas. I’m sure they’ll still be mourning the loss of their precious twin babies, and asking God the tough questions. But I also believe they’ll have joy—not happiness from having everything they want around their Christmas tree, but joy from looking beyond their own needs and seeing others, from looking beyond their situation and seeing God.
My sister-in-law miscarried her 19 week old girl on the 1st. Please keep her, the family and all her supporters in your prayers.
What a beautiful encouraging post. And what a beautiful encouraging family. I cried as I read. I lost my beautiful, sweet Mom in Oct. I didn’t really think it would be this hard. My heart goes out to all of those who are grieving this Christmas Season. May we all be cradled and comforted in God’s hands and know his love. ~Lanie
i’m among those grieving this christmas, and would definitely appreciate prayers for the same kind of quiet strength brian and amy have.
deb @talk at the table says
Praying for you alece.
and to those of you struggling with the season. May you find peace.
Maria Jones-Davidson says
Hi Heather, thank you so much for your beautiful post… The experience of Brian & Amy has been truly tough but may our God our Savior encourage them all the more this time…They are such a lovely family as well. Praying that the Lord’s presence be with them now and always…
My sister-in-law grieves because they are facing a lot challenges. I would appreciate a special prayer for her this Christmas. And may all those grieving this Christmas be comforted by the Holy Spirit and find strength in Him and always in the coming new year…
chris m. says
May the Lord take care of you Amy and Brian. You are in my thoughts and prayers……
Would appreciate prayer on guidance regarding jobs and family.
Debbie G. says
I too am grieving this holiday season. My husband passed away 11 months ago. Prayers that I could focus on the Lord (who is more than enough) and not on my broken heart, would be appreciated. Thanks for posting and reminding us to pray for those who are struggling during this season.
my dear friend Stephanie just delivered her unborn child last week. My prayer is that this Christmas she would be filled with more joy then she and her husband ever expected and pray that they find such peace and thankfulness with the family God has given them this christmas. My hope is that by next christmas they will celebrate with a new life in their home.
Rachel Crawford says
This post touched my heart. I lost my twin daughters in July of 2008. This is my second Christmas without them. It still hurts, but I also have the joy you speak of, the joy the flows from the Lord. I also just found out I am pregnant again. So now I embark again on a journey of love and expectations, wanting to keep this baby, also knowing I may not, but also choosing to trust my Heavenly Father no matter what. Pray for me as I pour my heart into making the holidays rich and meaningful for my son while two little pieces of my heart are missing.
heather flood says
my prayers are uplifted for Brian & Amy, that they would know real comfort, joy & peace from the Lord.
please pray for my friends the Kaat family, they lost their youngest son, Jaymun, to cancer just 2 months ago. you can read their amazing story at http://www.jaymun.com
Heather Gemmen Wilson says
Update: After mourning the loss of their newborn twins, Brian and Amy are now hoping to adopt. Read their story here.