Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Loss and Acceptance

Nineteen years ago today we found out we had just lost a child. I was six and a half months pregnant with twins and only twenty-four years old, excited and terrified at the idea of mothering two infants at once ~ especially since we already had a toddler. But, we felt a certain sense of distinction expecting two baby boys. And one baby is such a sweet blessing, two we knew would be twice the blessing.

But God chose to take Matthew Francis to Himself. We don't know why, but we accept that He knew it was better that way.

Matthew's twin, Kevin Christopher, was born a month later, six weeks premature, but perfect. We weren't able to bring him home for three weeks until he learned to suckle by himself and could maintain his body temperature. Four of our ten surviving children started life in the NICU, and we have learned only too well how grueling it can be to reach such seemingly simple goals. Progress is painstakingly slow, setbacks add mountains to the terrain, and the separation of the family is a terrible heartache. You know how they talk about mothers' arms aching when they lose or can't be with their babies? Mine did ache, for both my boys. But, it was wonderful when we got to bring tiny little Kevin home. Many parents come home empty handed. We were blessed that Kevvy made it.

It's always been a bit of a mystery to us where Matthew actually is right now, though. You see, the day we found out we'd lost one of the babies, the ultrasound technician told us that "Twin A" had been gone about two days. Two days before had been a Sunday. I had stayed after Mass that day and was having a chat with the Blessed Mother and, even though we had had no problems or warning signs of trouble with the babies, I felt compelled to ask her, if she could, to baptize the babies right then and there ~ in my womb. And it was that day that Matthew died.

We have always wondered if Our Lady got the OK to baptize him and take him to Heaven right away, sparing us a more difficult burden later. Or maybe he's in Limbo, which is not a bad alternative. We believe that, even though Limbo is devoid of the absence of God, the saints and angels, and especially Our Heavenly Mother must visit there often. Wherever Matthew is, we know he's happy. We're sorry we didn't get to meet him, but we look forward to seeing him someday.
We accept with happiness the children God gives us; we accept with happiness God's will to take them away.
From St. Bernadette's Journal:
For Jesus, homeland, fortune, happiness, work, food, life and its purpose all was the will of his Father; may it also be mine.

6 comments:

nutmeg said...

Thank you for sharing this. How hard it is for us mothers, when something like this happens. And how privileged we are as well!

Blessings on you and yours...

:)

Bia said...

Lisa, thank you for sharing this. Tonight we will say a prayer for little Matthew Francis. God bless.

Maryan said...

Thanks for sharing Lisa. My mom who had 9 miscarriages had always taught us about Limbo, so when I had two... it was a consolation -- however I longed for them to be baptized. Within the past year, there was an article from a Church official (I'm too postpartum to remember who)... about the Church's teaching on unbaptized unborn babies. I clipped it out and kept it on my bulletin board. But it's mysteriously disappeared. :( However, I do remember that the writer was more optimistic in a merciful God allowing these souls beatific vision somehow... not sure if the reasoning was baptism of desire on the part of the parent, the soul,... if I ever find it -- I'll pass it along.

Mary Vitamin (Helen) said...

Thanks Lisa for the beautiful and inspiring post!

Saying a Hail Mary for Matthew...

GrandmaK said...

I miscarried twice. The last time I had him named. The first time I started bleeding and when the pregnancy test came back negative they presumed that I really was not pregnant just a false positive blood test...We never really had a name for the children until 6 or 7 months into the pregnancy but this time, Matthew Thomas was prayed for by name. Only three months into the pregnancy, he was called home. I know he must be happy as I often think of him. There is consolation for me in knowing that whatever the reason he is no doubt in a better place. My love and prayers for you at this time. God bless!! Cathy

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