Dead End/Hannah’s Story, cont.

Thinking about my daughter’s stillbirth forty years ago is bringing back lots of memories and I am compelled to post another blog today and then I’ll move on, I promise.

As I wrote in ‘Dead End,’ Hannah’s brief life and death taught me:  God’s grace is always sufficient for the bitter parts of this life on earth.

A big way I saw His love and grace at work was through His friends around me.

Especially through His friend P.

It was her quick smile and a crazy turkey t-shirt she was wearing that attracted me to P. the first time we met back in 1976.  With her husband, P. had come to Montreat to work at the small college where Jake worked, and for two years we shared meals and dreams and Bible verses and jokes, playing and praying together often.

I loved her then, and I love her still, her unique self, her warm personality, her funny stories and sayings, and her heart for God.

But I selfishly love her most for her loyal generosity. All through these many years, P. reads and responds to my blabbering letters. She listens to my heart. She speaks grace and truth to me.

When Hannah died, I didn’t want to be around anyone. But P. (who had moved 3 hours away) didn’t ask, she just showed up at my door. She fed me. She cried with me. She listened to me blaspheme God as I struggled to accept the unacceptable. She stood by me in the cemetery.  And she marveled with me, at God’s goodness, when I told her that an Anonymous Someone had paid all the funeral costs.

P. gave me the gift of presence. She was with me.

Later that year, a swell of grief hit me. I was 4 months pregnant, but I wanted Hannah, my first baby, and I felt so upset that there was no one but me who knew her, loved her, and missed her.

Nothing tangible on earth showed that Hannah had lived.

To comfort myself, I put together a scrapbook with all the cards, photos of baby showers, letters, journal pages … anything and everything I had kept that pertained to Hannah.

I loved making that simple scrapbook, but I did not want to show it to anyone.

Except P.

I couldn’t wait to visit her and explain my deep need to have something to give evidence to my baby’s life.

P. cried along with me as we turned each page and remembered this and that.

And then she said that she had also wanted something tangible of Hannah.

She led me into her bedroom, opened her jewelry box, lifted out the tray, and from the bottom, drew out a small white piece of paper.  Unfolding it, she gave it to me, saying, “I want you to put this in Hannah’s book.”

I cried, looking at the paid-in-full receipt from Miller Funeral Home.

I’d never imagined that P. was the Anonymous Someone.

 

I love that story.

Just had to tell it.

10 thoughts on “Dead End/Hannah’s Story, cont.

  1. Love this story Sarah. I remember the horror I felt when I leaned about Hannah. You carried your sorrow quietly–and God graced you with 4 more girls. I love you sweet Sarah! Cindy Gragg

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  2. What a wonderful blessing to have a God-given friend such as P. I am blessed that way too, and I thank God every day for my precious closest friends.

    I pray your nephew and his wife will be comforted and will know the Lord’s peace and presence in their loss. I pray they will have God-given friends who will weep with them and love them, who will allow them to shout, question and fall apart, and just be with them.

    I believe you write when you have something to say, when God has shown you something, when you are prompted, and that is not arrogance. It is obedience. And many folk who read your words are touched by God, I know. So please do keep on writing and posting. I, for one, will keep on reading.

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  3. “This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
    ― Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

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  4. Good Morning Sarah,
    I read both blogs over a cup of tea and homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. It made for a lovely sweet visit with you. Thanks for “blabbering.” You do it SO well. My eyes welled with tears as I again imagined your grief/loss, remembered my own losses, and the intense pain your nephew’s family is experiencing. Praying for you and them as you walk this journey.
    I copied both blogs to tuck away in a reference file for infertility, miscarriage. Your story of grace reminds me that, “God is Sovereign, God is Good, and God is Love.”
    I appreciate you in so many ways. Let’s have tea again tomorrow.
    Karen

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  5. O Sarah, Such a sweet story. 37 years ago, I was pregnant with my friend Kay. Our baby girls were born only 10 days apart. Sixteen months later, Kay and Ellen were here visiting. Ellen was so excited that day, dragging her mother by the hand to see everything she found interesting here. The next morning I received a call from my aunt. Through tears she whispered “Ellen’s dead.” No, not my friend’s baby. Our little girls were supposed to grow up together. What was this? So much of God’s goodness and nearness in the story, but I just wanted to mention that I became P to Kay. I was with her almost constantly for days that turned into weeks, months and years. I wasn’t sure she’d accept me since I was the mom who got to keep her daughter. I don’t even know if it was I that needed her more or vice versa. Before long, Kay presented my baby with a necklace that belonged to Ellen. Even though Crysten never knew Ellen, she feels very close to her because of that gift. It’s a treasure. Eventually Kay began a ministry to families whose baby obits appeared in the local paper. Months after these babies die, she sends a packet to the parents telling her story and sharing the Gospel. Many have called her and she has been able to walk through the storm with them. Momma/Baby reunions will be one of the sweetest things in Heaven. I can hear Jesus saying “I can’t wait to reunite you with your daughter.” He is near.

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    1. Susan, I am just now seeing your comment, your beautiful incredible story. What a marvelous thing your friend Kay does for other grieving parents. I thank God for her faithful response in spite of such loss. May God continue to use her!

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  6. Oh, Sarah….. throat lumped… eyes leaking….Hannah’s resting place will always be the tie that binds. I love you and “the story”

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    1. Just now seeing this, dear P. I love you back! And below I am pasting another’s friend’s comment, amazing faith story:

      O Sarah, Such a sweet story. 37 years ago, I was pregnant with my friend Kay. Our baby girls were born only 10 days apart. Sixteen months later, Kay and Ellen were here visiting. Ellen was so excited that day, dragging her mother by the hand to see everything she found interesting here. The next morning I received a call from my aunt. Through tears she whispered “Ellen’s dead.” No, not my friend’s baby. Our little girls were supposed to grow up together. What was this? So much of God’s goodness and nearness in the story, but I just wanted to mention that I became P to Kay. I was with her almost constantly for days that turned into weeks, months and years. I wasn’t sure she’d accept me since I was the mom who got to keep her daughter. I don’t even know if it was I that needed her more or vice versa. Before long, Kay presented my baby with a necklace that belonged to Ellen. Even though Crysten never knew Ellen, she feels very close to her because of that gift. It’s a treasure. Eventually Kay began a ministry to families whose baby obits appeared in the local paper. Months after these babies die, she sends a packet to the parents telling her story and sharing the Gospel. Many have called her and she has been able to walk through the storm with them. Momma/Baby reunions will be one of the sweetest things in Heaven.

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  7. You have me in tears… We truly believe God yet so unaware of how much we miss in real time of his blessings. I know that he is abundantly blessing me now, and his tenders mercies hear my pain and sorrow. I know his love flows through my tears. He comforts me with the love and acceptance and prayers of others…still in the time of tears…

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