As a pediatric speech-language pathologist, I primarily work with children in a school setting. Last year all of the students on my caseload knew I was pregnant because my belly got very large and they frequently asked about the baby.
While still in the hospital after Isabella died, I called my contracting company, told them what happened, and asked to be placed back at the same school. I knew I would need the support of my coworkers who had celebrated and then mourned with me. One of my first thoughts after she died and I decided to go back to the school was, "what in the world am I going to tell the children?"
The first day the students returned for the school year, I had the following conversation with one of the boys on my caseload.
He asked, "Is your baby at home?"
I responded, "No, she's in the cemetery."
"Is that like the military?"
"No, but the words rhyme. She died and is now in the cemetery."
That night I related the conversation to my husband. He looked somewhat appalled by my lack of tact and asked, "why didn't you tell him Isabella was in heaven?"
In the moment the boy had asked me, I had forgotten. I had forgotten that, although her body is in the cemetery, she is in heaven. At that moment, Isabella was just dead. She was not at home, but gone and buried.
|Photo taken the day Isabella's headstone was installed|
In the midst of grief and the turbulent emotions following the death of our child, I can lose sight of the truth. Yes, her body is buried, but my daughter resides with the Lord.
The child that King David and Bathsheba conceived while Bathsheba was still married to Uriah, also died in infancy. Below is the account is found in 2 Samuel 12:15-23.
And the Lord afflicted the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and he became sick. 16 David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. 17 And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. 18 On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.” 19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” 20 Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” 22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
David's response of, "I shall go to him, but he will not return to me," has encouraged me tremendously over the last three months. Isabella will never return to me. I can visit her grave in the cemetery, but I cannot bring her back. No amount of prayers, tears, dreams, nor anguish will bring her back. But one day, I will go to her. She is with Christ in heaven and I will see her again.
After I told my husband about my response of "she is in the cemetery," we practiced better responses. The first twelve days after I returned to work, I had the opportunity at least once a day to respond to comments. No one else was told, "She is in the cemetery" when inquiring about my daughter.