The Power of Human Connection

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The moments God has allowed me to bear witness to as I walk with families through grief, are often greatly humbling and surreal. While our world has spent the last couple months in isolation, feeling the effects of the lack of human connection, the last several days have reminded me of the great need we have for community. I believe that, in many ways, our society was starving for real, pure human connection before CoVid-19. The last several days have solidified those thoughts. And, the last few months have magnified the ways we are starving.

 

I’ve spent some time with a beautiful German Baptist/Amish family. The great privilege of being allowed into their family the last few days has forever impacted my heart. The community and love they share with one another as a family and a body of believers in Christ would be beautiful under any circumstances. But, coming out of this time of isolation to stand with them in the place where heaven meets earth revealed and rubbed a healing balm on the broken places of my heart and soul. Watching a tiny baby, surrounded with love as he came back from the brink of death’s door again and again…literally living on the love of his family. His life testimony, according to his father and all who witnessed his time on earth, would be our great need for one another as human beings…the power of the love we share…and the way that God’s love flows through all of us. For, it is His perfect love that we feel when believers gather together.

 

We do not realize how very much we need one another. But, in the absence of community, we are wilting. Whether we recognize it or not, we are hungry and thirsty for connection. We are starving, and we don’t even know it.

 

The community brought food, prayed prayers, and sang together with the family.

They brought a car seat to the hospital when it was time to miraculously bring baby E home.

His mother’s love breathed life into him every time her skin brushed against his.

The sisters bathed, lotioned, and dressed their brother.

Daddy built his tiny casket.

The children helped daddy to fill his tiny grave using small shovels.

 

And, after the great and mighty ache of grief and tears, I heard for the first time in months, children running and giggling as they streaked by in a rainbow of brightly-colored shirts and dresses, the girls with flowers in their hair and braids flying behind them. And, for a moment, in the midst of a cemetery, standing beside the grave of a little soul whose name meant brave and mighty warrior, we weren’t living with fear. The sun was setting. The leaves swayed in the breeze, and people talked to one another about the miracle of this tiny life, and the miracle of God’s love in the midst of all of it.

 

And, we knew like never before how very precious is the gift of gathering. May we never forget that at our core, we are human. And, God created us for community. He created us to need one another, to love one another. In these very strange times, may we find ways to continue to safely connect. And, in the moments of a waning life, may we not keep people from supporting one another. May we allow love to carry us from this life to the next. And, in the valley of the shadow of death, may we never walk alone.

 

www.sufficientgraceministries.org

 

 

Photo by Min An

Carter’s Story

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This is Carter’s Story from the hearts of his mom and dad. SGM is so grateful to have met this sweet family and their precious baby boy.

It is crazy to think how one’s life can change in an instant. In our case, an instant changed
numerous lives. On June 21, 2019, I went in for a routine, prenatal check-up. As always, the
heartbeat was very strong at a rate of 150 and my C-section was scheduled. After I left the office,
I called my husband, Thomas, and told him we would officially become parents on July 31! The
next day was a joyous one as family and friends gathered to celebrate our son at his baby shower.
The remainder of the weekend was spent unpacking the numerous gifts we had gotten and
finishing up the nursery. We were ready to go!
On Monday I began to realize his movements weren’t as strong as they were previously, but I was
still feeling him move some. On Tuesday June 25, I decided to call the office and get checked out
since I worked at the hospital at that time. I called my husband and when he asked to come I
responded with, “No I am fine, just want some peace of mind. I will call you if I need you.”
When I went up to the Labor and Delivery Unit, I did not think I would be leaving without my
son, but unfortunately that is what happened. At 3:07 p.m. I delivered the most precious baby boy
Thomas and I have ever laid eyes on. Weighing in at 4 pounds 6 ounces, Carter Thomas Leidy
was perfect in every way; he looked just like his daddy.

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Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion, and Thomas and I couldn’t believe this had
happened to us. You hear about these tragic situations happening to others, but when you are 34
weeks along, you do not think it will happen to you. As we were sitting in the hospital room
holding our son, surrounded by our families, we did not know what to do next. It was then, at the
darkest point in our lives, we were blessed to have Sufficient Grace walk through the door. The
SGM volunteers bathed and dressed Carter and took numerous photos of him. They assisted us
with taking his hand and footprints and putting them on personalized canvases. Never in a
million years, would I have thought how important an outfit, keepsakes or photos would be, but
we are so thankful we have them. Tiffany knew just what to do and say to all of us as the tears
continued to flow.

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Now, nearly six months later, Thomas and I continue to treasure the numerous images and
mementos we were able to bring home with us. While Carter was stillborn, we choose to say and
believe he was STILL born. Thomas and I had to make very serious decisions in a short amount of
time, and we are very thankful for all the love and support from not only our families but from
Sufficient Grace and the Labor and Delivery staff. Sufficient Grace still continues to provide us
with the love, compassion, support and understanding we need as we navigate the loss of our
sweet son. This amazing ministry helped us through our darkest days and will always hold a
special place in our hearts. It is hard to put into words just how thankful we are for Sufficient
Grace. Thomas and I can never repay them for everything they have done and continue to do for
us. They gave us gifts to help us honor and celebrate our son. Carter Thomas Leidy will live on in
all of our hearts forever.

Megan and Thomas Leidy
Parents of Carter Thomas Leidy

One Year: How Finding Community Can Help Us Survive Grief

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I walk with families every week who are saying goodbye to their baby or child. I’m personally no stranger to loss having lost three of my own children and my mother at a young age. While all losses are unique, there are some aspects of grief that we all share. The first is acknowledgement: We [...]

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Finding Redemption At A Baby Funeral

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I spent the afternoon at a baby funeral. It isn’t the first, and it won’t be the last. I walk with families every week who are saying goodbye to their baby or child, and I’m personally no stranger to loss, having lost three of my own children. What I get to learn in the moments [...]

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Comfort Care Honors Life, Too: Why Sometimes Medical Intervention Is Limited For Premature Babies

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  Recently an article was published that ignited outrage in the pro-life community, the baby loss community, and beyond. Twin babies were born alive at 22+ weeks, and medical intervention was not an option offered to them.  As I read the words, and the ensuing comments, my heart ached for the family…and for the medical [...]

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Sweet Eva: Miracles on Earth and in Heaven

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On this last day of Anencephaly Awareness month, we wanted to share the story of sweet Eva. Sufficient Grace Ministries Comfort Doula Kelly Gerken and SGM Remembrance Photographers: Erin Foster (maternity) and Kristi Bodey, along with the teams from Life Connection and Purposeful Gift had the privilege of walking with this family through their time [...]

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Arya’s Story

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  May is Anencephaly Awareness month. At Sufficient Grace Ministries, we wanted to share a couple stories of perinatal hospice families who have given birth to precious babies with this life-limiting condition. Comfort Doula, Kelly Gerken and Remembrance Photographer, Brittany Yankowski had the honor of walking with Brittany Lacourse and her family through their time [...]

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The Season of Womanhood No One Talks About

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  This season of womanhood has taken me by surprise. It isn’t just the slowing metabolism that leaves behind some less than welcome curves and cushion, or the merciless effects of gravity on my once svelt-ish middle-aged physique. Nor the hot flashes, the insomnia, or the myriad of uncontrollable emotions that were much more easily [...]

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I Danced

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Last Saturday morning, I walked with a family as they said goodbye to their baby. My heart ached for them as we created some tangible memories. I carried them with me…pieces of their pain, forever woven into the fabric of my heart. Every time I wash a tiny baby foot, the humbling privilege of washing [...]

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Embracing the Gift of Time: Micah’s Story

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  Over the last couple months we’ve had the honor of walking with the Wilhelm family as they waited to meet their son, Micah. I will let Micah’s mother, Jenna, share the details of their story below. But I wanted to share a bit from my own heart about our time with this beautiful family. [...]

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