Today – 8 years on

originally posted in 2016

Today is a precious day for our family, a day we remember and will carry in our hearts forever.

would be our beautiful baby girl’s 8th birthday. Our daughter, Cara, lived for 16 memory filled days before she passed away on 22nd May, 2010.

I’m not sure we will ever truly find the words to describe our broken hearted pain on the day we lost our baby girl. But our God was and is faithful, and over the days, weeks and months after Cara’s death, He began to put us back together again. Back in those days we vowed that we would grieve but not become grief. We knew that this would always be a part of our story but we were determined that it wouldn’t become our identity.

We weren’t totally sure how we would do all that but we knew all things were possible with God. We knew that we would need to fight for hope at times, we knew we would need to choose differently than our emotions wanted to but we knew our God was a healer.

There is so much more that we journeyed in those days, so many things that we had to process and walk through, many days that were dfficult, but that is not why we are writing this post.

This post is about today.

Because today we are no longer living in that fight; we are no longer having to choose to look for hope and we are no longer living in the loss. Today we stand here, healed. Our hearts are full.

God didn’t only walk with us in our pain, He walked with us all the way through our pain and into the future He has opened up for us.

We wanted to write this to declare that even the most painful loss can be turned into abundance by our Father. He opens that door to us, our job is to make the choices that walk through it. Here are 3 things we found super helpful in getting to today.

We chose to live in the mystery

We, like anyone else in these circumstances wanted answers. We wanted to know why this was happening, what this meant, how could we have done something differently etc. The honest answer is that even if we had received an email detailing the answers to all these questions it would have made no difference to the pain we were experiencing. None of those answers would have changed our circumstance, none would have brought comfort.

We knew if we focused on looking for answers and reason we’d be focusing on the pain and not on His presence.

We simply trusted that God was good and we chose to live in the mystery. We didn’t focus on finding answers but on finding God and we found that He is particularly close to those who mourn.

We chose to re-engage 

In the early days we just wanted to run away, not from God but from people. It was just hard to be in public places. All our uncontrolled emotions wanted to do was to stay indoors away from the world and watch TV, escape from what was happening but we knew we needed to re-engage or it would become harder and harder to do so. We chose to go to church the week after Cara passed, we chose to walk down our town and see people, we chose to return to work, we chose to re-engage. In community we found the awesome and the awkward; people who were incredible and helped us, as well as some people who said things that were unhelpful but we knew that we couldn’t do this on our own and that meant embracing all the parts that community brings.

We chose hope

Those days were such a mix of heartache and hope….but we chose hope. We knew that our lives were about more than just us and our circumstances and we knew that if we gave it away we would keep walking into life. We made a very conscious decision to keep hope alive in us.

It felt like we were carrying two things in our hands in those days. In one hand was the hurt, which was real, but in the other hand we carried hope, which was equally real.

We had a choice over which one would be our identity, our reality. We chose hope. Hope remains when all else has gone, it sees a way in the darkest moments and it is free from circumstance so it cannot be tainted by what this world can throw at it.

Today we are writing this living in the freedom of hope and no longer in the fight for hope.

Today we are 8 years on and excited for all that is ahead.

Today we will celebrate our baby girl

(something her little brother is very glad about because it means he gets all the benefits that come with a celebration day; gifts, sweets and birthday adventures

17 thoughts on “Today – 8 years on

  1. A real inspiration and blessing. My wife and I can take a lot from this many thanks for sharing. True courage is living in freedom and hope.

  2. What a brave, inspirational couple you both are!! I too was told that “God does things for a reason” & its only now, 9 years later that I can truely understand that! May you have a day blessed with love and laughter with your very special Rainbow baby Caleb ❤💙❤

  3. Yesterday I found out my baby’s heart had stopped beating. The most horrendous words to hear and I felt like the rug was pulled out from under my feet, like I couldn’t breathe because all the air was sucked out of the room. I have to wait now to Monday for my D+C.
    It was my asister who sent me this link and I just want to thank you for it. I may not be in a place to be exceptionally positive but I’m grateful for these words so thank you xx

    1. Hi Lesley-Anne. We are so sorry to hear your news, it’s heartbreaking. We are glad the post could help in even a tiny way. We’ll be praying for comfort and healing in the days ahead. Neil & Janet

  4. I can relate to this in so many ways. We lost our little boy Frankie after 24 days also 6 years ago. I found it hard to put everything we experienced into words but definitely agree with everything you said. Couldn’t have got through it without Jesus by our side. God has since blessed us with 2 more little girls 😊

  5. Dear Janet & Neil…
    Your journey of love, loss, pain and hope has definitively been a testimony of how God walks us through our most deepest heartaches that we think we could never get through but God….in His own gentle way He surrounds us with His presence and with those He knows will be arm-bearers for us when we feel we cannot go on another moment because the pain is so deep. Oh, how He knows about our pain and heartache because of watching His own son die on a cross. ✝️
    I hear and understand your hearts as I’ve walked through my own journey of the loss of my Sofie 36 years ago. But as I also choose to surrender ALL to Him I walk in His grace and peace and joy returns. 😌
    Thank you for sharing your story and being so transparent allowing us to see how God has used it to bring beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that we become trees trees of righteousness, a planting of the Lord so that He will be glorified (Is. 61:3-4 my translation). 😊
    I love you guys and look forward to the time we see each other again! Sending hugs and blessings on your newly appointed positions!

  6. This is so beautifully written, and those words focussing on God and choosing to live in His presence, just resonate with me. I’ve found accepting the mystery and Gods goodness is where the Holy Spirit brings me peace.

  7. Hi Mark and Janet (I’d attend CCV too) heartbreaking journey, feeling robbed of our precious babies. We must take comfort knowing they’re in Gods safe arms, in heaven, sourrounded by Angels. What a comfort knowing our wee Angel babies are there.
    I too lost my baby girl ‘Georgia’ – born
    Sleeping on 22nd May 2009. I’m sure our babies are dancing with the Angels together. (Our Angel- Forever in our hearts)

    Big hugs.

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