Gratitude and Grief on Father's Day

Photo by Nicole Marie Photography. Saturday, May 23, 2015.

Photo by Nicole Marie Photography. Saturday, May 23, 2015.

My husband is walking our daughter down the aisle.

It is not her wedding, of course. But she is the flower girl, and she needs to make it to the front of the church without disrupting "Canon in D." 

It wasn't the original plan for my husband to walk down the aisle with her. She walked by herself at rehearsal flawlessly. Twice. But this time when he tries to send her down, she looks at him, holds out her hand, and simply says, "Come here."

I watch them from a pew in the front of church.

I look at my husband, the father of our child, holding our daughter's hand as they walk down the aisle together, and I am filled with deep gratitude.

Look at those two. Look at them, walking down the aisle together. Look at how much she loves her Daddy, and how much he loves her. Look at how her trust races up through her hand and into his.

I think my heart might burst.

Look at those two. So much love, built on the hundreds of hugs and kisses he gives when he comes home from work day, after day, after day. Built on hours of playing catch and having tea parties and reading books together. Built on words like "I love you," and "You are special," and "Good job!" Built on the example he gives when he loves and hugs and helps me every day too.

I love this so much.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

Just four days later, I look at my husband again. I look at my husband, the father of our child, holding our daughter who has just been delivered. Tenderly holding her tiny, lifeless body in his arms. 

I look at my husband, and this time I am filled with deep grief.

Look at those two. Look at them, and the few moments they will ever spend together. Look at how much he loves her.

I think my heart might burst, but this time from pain.

Look at those two. There's so much that they won't get to experience together. No hundreds of hugs and kisses when he comes home from work day, after day, after day. No hours of playing catch and having tea parties and reading books together. No words like "I love you," and "You are special," and "Good job!" No walking her down the aisle like he did with her big sister.

I hate this so much.

It's almost Father's Day. I look at my husband, the father of our children, and I am filled with both gratitude and grief.

Gratitude, because we have a daughter who is almost two years old. Who brings us more joy and laughter and exhaustion than anything else we have ever experienced before. Gratitude, because I am another wife and mother who has been blessed with one of the many "best" husbands and fathers in the world.

And grief, because we have a child who is in heaven, who we miss so much it hurts. Who we wish could be with us, even though we are grateful she is in a wondrous place.

I didn't understand until now that this was possible. That my heart could be so full of gratitude for what I have, yet in so much pain for what I have lost. 

But it is. Both are strong emotions. One doesn't cancel out the other. 

Maybe this is a taste of what Job felt when he tore his robes in deep sorrow, and then one verse later exclaimed, "May the name of the Lord be praised." {Job 1:20-21}

Lord, thank You so much for what you have given us. Lord, please comfort us as we mourn what we have lost. You give and You take away. May Your name be praised.

Gratitude and grief.

And Lord, may You be with all those experiencing deep gratitude and deep grief this Father's Day. Be with all those grateful for what they have, yet grieving what they have lost.

Grace and Peace,
Kendra
 

 

 

{If you would like to learn more about the loss of our daughter Aliza, please read these previously written articles.}

Our 20 week ultrasound {When There Are No Words, There is Emmanuel}

Waiting for genetic test results {By Faith We Walk Through the Darkness}

Finding out the gender and naming our baby {I Choose Joy}

Dealing with fear throughout the pregnancy {If It Brings You Glory, Don’t Lead Me Down Sesame Street}

Our first Fetal Echo ultrasound {Held Captive by a Cup of Pretzels}

Thinking ahead to Aliza’s birth {Teach Them How to Deal}

Feeling the Church’s support throughout our pregnancy {Dragging Our Dirty Laundry to Church}

Aliza's passing and delivery {Empty}

Expressing how my life was changed {God Used a Tiny Baby} 

Experiencing our grief differently as a mom and dad {We Both Lost Our Unborn Child {But It's Different}}