Today is the day we anticipated as the day you would enter the world and fill our arms and our hearts. A special due date of 11/11/11 made even more special by the fact that it would have been your great-grandfather’s birthday. A due date close to your uncle and grandfather’s birthday, my own birthday, Thanksgiving, and your little cousin’s birthday. A time of much celebration would have been made even more joyous by your eagerly awaited arrival. Instead, I enter the month of November with a hollowness in my chest, an emptiness in my arms, and an unspeakable sense of loss.
I remember the morning I found out you were on your way. I couldn’t sleep for anticipation of waking your Daddy to tell him we were going to have another baby. As usual, we couldn’t contain our excitement that we were expecting you, and we joyfully spread the news as quickly as we could. Knowing you were a little girl gave us such a thrill, too! We could hardly wait to see what your little girl face would look like and how you would resemble each of us and your brother.
Months before that joyful morning, I had felt the Lord whisper to my heart that our next little girl would be named Elealeh Grace, a Hebrew word which means “The LORD has ascended and reigns.” When I saw the second line appear on that pregnancy test and we realized you were a girl, I knew that you were Elealeh, our little Elsie, that would grace our home with your beautiful presence.
But you were named Elealeh for a reason only God knew at the time. The Lord knew your name before the foundations of the earth, and he gave you the name of His Sovereignty to comfort us in the days ahead.
When we thought we might be losing you, Elealeh pointed us to the One who was in control of all things, even this.
When we knew we were losing you, Elealeh reminded us that our reigning King is the giver of all good gifts, and no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
When we had lost you, Elealeh reminded us that no sorrow could overwhelm us that our hope in Christ could not overcome.
People told me it would get easier. It hasn’t. People told me as soon as I was pregnant again I would be comforted and get over your loss. I am not. Comforted, yes, by God’s goodness in giving us another good gift. But how can the promise of another baby fill the void of a life that is lost? I am expecting your brother or sister, yes, but I will still never hold you. I will never see your face, I will never stroke your hair, I will never know what color your eyes were, or if you have your daddy’s nose. I will never hear your name called in our home or read you the Elsie Dinsmore books from where you got your nickname.
It is tempting to dwell, especially today, on all of the things that “might have been.” But the truth is, you lived out exactly the number of days the Lord ordained for you to have on this earth. In reality, there is no “should have been” or “might have been.” There is only what is. And we choose to accept your loss with the faith and hope that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.
We are so thankful for the gift that God gave us in you, my sweet Elsie, even for the brief time I held you close inside of me. We wouldn’t trade the weeks we had with you to escape the lonely sorrow that envelops us now. We wouldn’t trade the dreams that were never realized to have never dreamt them in the first place. We are so thankful for every minute we had you. And we anxiously await the day when we will, Lord willing, see your darling face and finally hold you in our arms.
Love always and forever,
Mama and Daddy