My friend's baby passed away Monday, September 12, 2011, at 8:01 pm in his parents' arms while listening to the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. My heart hurts for my friend, yet it is full with the knowledge of the blessings of the eternal family and that parents who say goodbye to a child too soon will have the chance to be with that child again in the eternities.
I've long felt a bond with this mama. She struggled hard to have a second child, suffering several miscarriages along the way. We also lost a baby in utero, so it was easy to understand the pain of loss and the fear she felt with every pregnancy that started then ended too early.
I was joyful for her when it was clear this pregnancy would be successful and as she planned a wonderful homebirth to peacefully and gently bring her second baby into this world. The day he was born was a day of celebration and love.
Then, I again felt a special connection when she learned her child had a birth defect, just a couple days later. That happened to us, and the shock when the doctor tells you that your baby has a physical problem is like a brick hits you.
But what her family was going through made me feel grateful. What our baby has could be worse. But he will survive (barring some freak accident related to his defect until we have surgery). He will grow up strong and healthy. He may have some issues, but they won't be life threatening. Her baby didn't survive, even with everything that modern medicine has to offer.
She also had to pump to feed her baby, a third way we are similar. Her attitude about it is so much more positive than mine has ever been, to my shame. However, it was one thing that she could do for her baby while he was hospitalized, whereas our baby lives with us, and I see him every moment of the day, which makes the need to pump a little more difficult to wrap my brain around after successfully nursing three other children for many years, as well as finding the time to pump with all these little kids needing me. She is extraordinary in that she is pumping and donating through this difficult time.
As I have shared the story of my friend and her family over the last few days with my children, the faith of children has been a buoy to my spirit. My eldest son said, "But he's with Jesus, and he'll be resurrected someday." My middle son said, "And he'll have a whole heart, one that can get oxygen to his whole body!" The faith and knowledge of children is perfect and an example to us of how to have faith.
Our family's religion teaches that families, through the power of the Priesthood and the keys of sealing in the temple, can be together forever. The great plan includes sealing all members of the human family together, so none are lost and we can all be together. This enables families who, like my friend's, like ours, who have family members who returned to Heavenly Father too soon, to be able to raise those children, where they will be whole again.
We also know that these children are some of Heavenly Father's best, the most perfect, the ones who did not need as many trials as the rest of us to come to their full human potential.
We mothers were called to bring them to this life, even knowing perhaps that we would lose them too early and experience unimaginable pain at their passing, and their too-brief lives are part of the fabric of our lives, some of the trials that will make us who God knows we can be. Heavenly Father knows how much it hurts when we lose a family member here on Earth -- just look at what he did, sending Jesus Christ to us knowing he would die -- but who else knows better how to heal that hurt if we let Him?
So, my heart is full of love and life and knowledge. It doesn't make such trials much easier, but it makes them have a purpose and eventually, the pain eases and we can see the sun again despite the clouds. In God's time.