But, even as I miss Cora Lane and remember her short life in this world, I feel a nudge in my tummy. It's the little boy whose arrival we are so anxiously awaiting. He keeps reminding me of his presence with me. His life is a miracle, and I am praising the Lord for Theodore Charles Nelson! We can't wait to welcome him home in October.
A few days ago I felt compelled to write a letter of gratitude, for truly my heart overflows with thankfulness when I remember the events just one year ago....
Dear family and friends,
As you may be aware, we are fast approaching the one year anniversary of Cora Lane's due date, death and delivery. It is hard to believe that a whole year has already passed. In anticipation of July 23-27, I can't help reflecting on what life was like at this time one year ago. My mom was visiting. Showers were done. The nursery was ready. We were all awaiting Cora's arrival and taking bets on her birth weight. I think my dad's guess won! I can think back on that time with bittersweet joy, remembering what it felt like to experience Cora alive and remembering how well you all loved her even before she was born.
At the risk of making us all cry, allow me just to recap a little of what I experienced over those few days. July 23, Cora's due date, came and went. A few days later, I recall not having felt Cora move for quite a while. At first I thought she was just sleeping; after all, she was running out of room for her squirming. When we finally went in to the hospital and found out that her heart had stopped beating, I could have felt like I was falling, for certainly my heart was on the brink of despair, but instead I felt upheld in more ways than one. Evan, both of my moms, Dad Nelson, their arms were around me, physically. Spiritually, I felt and heard the prayers of those both near and far. Even as I was swept into the delivery room and induction began, friends and family seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Emotionally, I experienced not only my own disappointment, shock and pain, I felt and saw everyone else's as well. And as sorry as I was that you were feeling that pain too, your sorrow ministered to Evan and me in a way that we had never experienced before. You wept with those who weep and mourned with those who mourn. You were Jesus to us in those dark hours. All you who had gathered in the outer waiting room-I couldn't see you, but I felt your presence. The Lord's strength was being channeled to me by your prayers. All in all, I know now that it was the love of God I felt, inside and out, embodied by you, his people.
After Cora's body was delivered, I saw you hold her, cherish the sight of her, love her. She has the most wonderful family, biologically and spiritually! In the days that followed, Evan and I were surrounded by your love and care. All of us were lifted to worship through grief during a beautiful service at First Pres. The 500 person congregation that gathered there was an unexpected and overwhelming expression of the Body of Christ. We laid her beautiful little body to rest. We cried together as a family. We ate together. We lived together for a few days. Grief is surprisingly physical as well as emotional and spiritual. As strange as it is to say, you all grieve well! And you gave me freedom to grieve intensely and openly. I have a feeling this is not how all people in the world experience loss and grief.
There were those who couldn't be here with us physically, but they ministered to us in gigantic ways....by taking care of family kids back in Pennsylvania, by sending money, by offering a place to get away, by sending flowers, cards, even cd's of comforting music. These gifts and acts of service did not go unnoticed or unappreciated!
In short, you blessed us. Thank you. As we approach this one year anniversary, I want to recognize that Cora Lane's death was your loss too. You miss her too. You cared for her too. Even as I feel the loss of Cora acutely, I am compelled to zoom the lens out and perceive how well the Lord has loved me through you. I thank God he gave us each other! And I thank you for loving Cora so well and for being used by God to carry Evan and me through this year.
Blessings and love be to you this July 27 as you remember.