Yesterday I attended a memorial service at a local church for babies who have died in early pregnancy, late pregnancy and infancy. It was a beautiful tribute to the children who have left us too soon. Even though I cried through the entire 2 hour service, it was a perfect opportunity for some closure.

Through this ceremony moms, dads and grandparents all were given their turns at the microphone to tell their stories. Stories of sadness and heart ache, but also of hope. Some of them lost their children during pregnancy, others just days after the birth and one couple lost their child when he was just 3.5 months old.

One thing that really spoke to me is that everyone who has suffered the loss of a child, even those who have experienced it 30 years ago, say that the pain never goes away. You don’t just “get over it.” And no subsequent children ever “make up for” the child you lost. It seems that we will always miss this baby that left us so soon, we will always be sad that we never got to hold him or her in our arms. And that’s ok.

Even so, I experienced a lot of final-ness. (New word?). The baby’s death has been both unreal and too real at the same time. But as my close friend and I walked down the aisle together to light our candles for my sweet baby, it became final. It really became goodbye, baby instead of did this really happen? It has been just 2 weeks since we found out our baby had gone home to be with Jesus, 2 weeks since I delivered the baby at the hospital. I still look pregnant and the grief is still raw and fresh, but now it somehow feels finished. Not sure if that makes much sense out loud, but inside my head it does.

I never got to hold you, darling baby. Neither did Daddy or James. But we all love you anyway. We are sad you left us so soon. But we know the hope of meeting you some day when we meet our Savior. Until then, we’ll hold on to the memory we have of you. And we’ll find joy in it.