Losing a child is one of the worst things a human being can experience. The sense of loss and helplessness leave a scar on the heart that never truly heals.
It was only a few months ago that I announced that my wife and I were having a child. This was a chance for us to have a child together, and it was a way for me to make peace with my past. I would finally experience the fullness of creating a life.
We lost the baby this week. It has devastated us.
It’s incomprehensible that I should have to experience losing a child on multiple occasions. How much is one person supposed to take? How do I comfort my wife when I cannot comfort myself?
There was a time when I would agree with the platitudes about “God’s plan.” I would nod and agree that “everything has a purpose.”
I can see nothing of God’s plan in this. A stillbirth serves no higher purpose. Death is evil. It is not God’s plan. Death is God’s plan gone wrong.
Yet there has been a difference this time that was not present for me before. Our Orthodox faith has comforted us and kept us from falling completely into despair.
An Orthodox Burial
Our priest arrived at the hospital soon after hearing the news and stayed with us. He prayed over us both and aided me with decisions I had to make. I am grateful that we have such a man as our spiritual father.
Our faith helped us with the decision to spend time with our child in the hospital. We held her and each other, thanking God for even this small moment as a family.
We also will give our child an Orthodox burial. An Orthodox monastery learned of our plight and offered a small place on their grounds. Her body will rest on holy ground in the care of these holy monks until Christ restores our bodies.
I write this for everyone who has had the experience of losing a child. It takes a long time to heal the wound and the sorrow will always remain. Death is a painful reminder of how this world has gone astray because of sin. But we worship the God who has defeated death through His own death and resurrection.
Though you may be suffering now, Christ knows your pain and offers healing through His Church. My prayer will be that you may find peace and healing through Christ through the prayers of His mother.
From the Orthodox service after a miscarriage or stillbirth:
O Lord, Who guards Thy children in this life and prepares for those who have departed from us in their innocence a haven in the radiant angelic realm in the heavenly mansions: Do Thou, the same Master, Christ our God, receive in peace the soul of Thy child, for Thou has said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the Kingdom of heaven.” For unto Thee is due all glory, honor and worship, together with Thy Father, Who is from everlasting, and Thine all-holy, good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever. and unto ages of ages.
Pray for us Most Holy Theotokos. Pray for us Abigail.