A father spoke some powerful words recently, as we stood with him in what feels like the deep end of the ocean. The goodbye place. The sacred place where heaven meets earth, and Jesus comes near enough to keep us from drowning, brushing past us as He carries the tiniest souls home.
She said, “Meeting her means she is gone.”
He said, “No, it means she was here.”
His words hold so much truth, it’s hard to find a beginning place. Feels almost a crime to expound on something so powerful, something meant to be breathed in…to soak deep into our skin.
It means she was here.
Everything we do hinges on that truth. This child lived. This child lives. This longed for and precious life. Each one. Worthy of honor and dignity. Each one matters. Each one is precious and valuable. Every life matters.
And, her words are powerful as well. Her words represent what everyone wonders about this mystical and untouchable place we dare to walk. Won’t it hurt more to see or acknowledge? Won’t it hurt more to speak of the child? Goodbyes so permanent. and questions without answers. We are afraid of what we do not know. There is no shame in the fear. The bravest souls are those who embrace what lies before them, even in the most ginger tip toe into the place that lies like an unknown giant before us.
People wonder about the sacred place we are privileged to enter in, and some likely wish they didn’t know about such a place. But, it is a mystery to many. Why? Why do you go? Why do you spend the time clothing little ones with beauty, capturing the precious memories, entering into the deep grief? I even wonder, myself, at times what we can possibly do to offer anything worthy in the face of such sorrow. Nothing seems enough to give.
The father’s words echo in my wondering.
A gentle reminder.
Every tangible moment means she was here. Every memory. The ache of a heart. The touch captured on camera. The tears that fall. The gowns that cover. The blankets crocheted with love. The bracelets dangling from wrists. The Comfort Bear clung to when empty arms ache. The tiny diapers covering sweet baby bottoms. The hands held. The pictures to pour over when the heart wonders if the mind will forget.
It is evidence. That she lived. She was here. He was here. Each baby. Each life. These tiny offerings speak the truth when the lie comes raging from the darkest part of grief’s relentless ocean and the lonely cloaks our surroundings in fog that suffocates. They speak truth to the doubt, truth….that this child lived. This child was loved. This child was here. And, this child lives on in heaven’s glory. This precious one, and so many others.
That is what drives us to do what we do. That is why we enter into the deep end of the ocean again and again. If you ever wonder.
It means she was here.