Nadia

Today is the fourth anniversary of the death of our unborn daughter, Nadia.  It was a period in our life as a family that was particularly difficult.  My uncle had died a few months before, and my mother would die six weeks later.  One cannot really compare one grief to another, but this death was particularly painful for us.  There is something about the loss of a child that is simply incomparable.  You grieve not only for the loss of life, but also for the loss of the future.  As a father or mother, you sort of map out the future of your child while they are still in the womb.  You know that it isn’t real, but dreaming is a good and godly thing.  You dream about their growing up, interacting with the other brothers and sisters, etc.  You create a picture in your mind of what will be, of what could be.

Except it isn’t.

Really the way that we survived the whole thing is because of the care of our pastor at the time, Rev. John M. Berg.  We did a memorial service, and it was possibly the most comforting thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.  I’ll try and post his sermon here sometime.  I read it every year.

The whole matter also brings to my mind the sadness of our culture views life, even in the church.  A miscarriage is the death of an unborn child.  It is one of the greatest tragedies a family can experience.  Yet for many, there are serious questions on whether this is even a life, far less all of the more spiritual issues involved.

My approach as a pastor is fairly simple.  In the case of the death of an unborn child, we rely on the mercy of God. God is merciful, and He wants to save them all.  We have the example of John the Baptist leaping in his mother’s womb at the greeting of “the mother of my Lord.”  This demonstrates to me that A) Children in the womb can have faith; and that B) God wants to give it to them.

When one of my parishioners loses an unborn child, I try to comfort them with these words and that simple reality.  We don’t know all the answers.  We aren’t universalists.  But we do trust in the great and mighty mercy of God, who sent His only begotten Son into the womb of Mary for us.  I don’t know all the answers.  But I know that God is loving and merciful, and that He longs for His children to be with him.

4 thoughts on “Nadia

  1. Dear Todd and Kathyrn,

    I will never forget that day. I remember it as if it happened yesterday. The sadness. The loneliness. The despair. The darkness. The prayers. The hymns. The communion of saints.

    I pray for you as I know you pray for me. Nadia prays for us all!

    “No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days – For behold I create a new heaven and a new earth – and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.”

    Rest well Nadia!

    In Christ’s Love

    John

  2. I don’t think what happens with the dreaming before they are born is any different than what we do after…watching their interests, predicting their future..only we get to see the color of their eyes, the way their smile forms, and we see it all become a reality.

    All the same, there is something very real about that dreaming and the preparation that it provides. We had two early losses, Mara and Jessica, and one at 19 weeks…Noah. We decided to adopt, and then after our homestudy, we got pregnant with Maggie. We had prepared for the adoption for two years, and when we were called because they found a placement for us, they wouldnt’ place them because I was pregnant, but I grieved as hard for those children that we prepared for and imagined for so long, even though I could feel Maggie kicking in side me. The comfort was they were alive.

    The statements of “at least you already have Chris” or “you can always try again” were mortifying, even knowing that it was that people just didn’t know what to say. The most comforting was the simple “I am so sorry about your baby.”

    God bless you and Kathryn in your remembrance and grief and in the joy of knowing that Nadia is indeed praying for you, and someday, you will know her.

  3. Dear Todd,

    Thank you for these helpful words, and for the comforting advice and encouragement that you shared with me when our Job died earlier this year. Surely, the Lord is merciful, to us and to our children. He who serves you with His Word, serves your neighbors, your parishioners and friends, through that same Word which you confess. That which you suffer, the temptations and the temporal losses, not only make you and your faith stronger, but render you a merciful and faithful priest of God, in Christ.

    The Lord be with you, bless you and keep you, together with your dear wife and children, as you remember Nadia with thanksgiving.

  4. “But I know that God is loving and merciful”

    Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you will be able to post your pastor’s sermon sometime. I for one, would love to read it. 🙂

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