Dear Reader, my story of being a father with an unborn daughter with anencephaly is a life-changing experience. I am compiling my writings into a book NOT for political reasons, but for human purposes. I take great offense to the notion that life is a political topic. Then again, after a life experience like this, I have learned to love instead of taking offense to much these days. The passion of a newborn child is a stand-alone issue that only those that suffer through understand. I do not mean to demean any other life issues out there, but like this one, the other problems have a similar connection to each other.
This book is not a profound statement about life, but a simple raw look at unedited journal letters that I wrote to my daughter while she here with us on earth. We spent 36 incredible hours with her, sang to her, watched her smile, squeeze our hands, and go to God in peace and love. There is nothing more than any of us want that to be with loved ones and to depart for heaven with them around us in order. What a life! Our daughter had loved like a princess should be shown. We did everything to give her a long life, a happy life, and a treasured life.
There are a lot of people out there that don't have the experiences we had. Their situations are dangerous or extremely short. Even though my wife's life was never in danger, the overwhelming sense of loss was palatable. It was always with us. The sadness never left us. But, we know a God that is much bigger than this experience. Yes, even this knowledge. That is why we always choose life for our children.
After you read these letters, please keep reading. I have a special message for families going through this in the last section. I also have a message to any saintly angel that wants to help families. We have a mission to help those in need and to hold their hands through the experiences we went through ourselves. This book, to me, is needed. There was nothing out there for me, as a father, when I was in the trenches. I wish to have this as a tool in the fatherhood arsenal for men to get through this situation.
Know you are not alone. Even the mothers. You are never alone.
I hope and pray this book helps you. Whether you are going through it or if you know someone. I hope and pray it helps the precious mothers and fathers out there. No situation is cookie cutter. There is no real answer to give anyone, but for us to say "we are praying" or "can I do to help (financially or food wise)." We know a God that loves us so much He sacrificed everything He had (His Son) so that we would know what it means to be unconditionally loved - we are all worth something.
I hope and pray you know God's love for you, through this book. We are all a Lydia. We are all in need of this type of love, and after these experiences, I read my notes, as if it is God speaking to my life. God spoke to us, moved us, saved us, and make us closer to him knowing the pain of losing our baby girl.
But, we know she is in heaven, with Him, smiling down.
At any time, please email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. That is the email to our tv network. I would like to help you any way I can or show you how we can help families together.
Read this, be encouraged.
My Dearest Lydia,
My heart is breaking. I cannot type any more than this: WE LOVE YOU!!!
These are verses I am reading to try to make sense of everything. I love you, my Love. I love you...
"For this child, I prayed..." - 1 Samuel 1:27
My Dearest Lydia, you must know by now that we love you with all of our beings. I cannot
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” - Matthew 19:14
"My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." - Psalm 73:26
Beware that you don't look down upon a single one of these little children.
For I tell you that in heaven their angels have constant access to my Father. - Matthew 18.10
God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. - 1 Corinthians 1:27
What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later. - Romans 8.18
I learned about you five months ago when your mommy told me “I am pregnant.”. My baby. I am a father, again! We waited for five months to find out that you were a girl. I was going to be a father of a beautiful girl! A girl! My mind wandered down the road of time.
Could I dance with you standing on top of my shoes? Could I pick flowers and put them in your hair? Would I have the pleasure of scaring boys away? Could I dance with you on your wedding day??? I wanted so bad to be the man in your life. I wanted to be the man that you looked up to, loved, so I could show you how much God loves you. I wanted to show you want to look for in a husband, how to be a real woman of God, and why we love so much for life.
God blessed us so much with you.
Then, one day later, we were called back in. We learned that you had anencephaly. It seems as though God loves you so much that He might need you back before you even get here. Many years too soon, my Beloved. Oh, my soul. My heart aches for those moments in time. My physical heart hurts so much for you. Those memories that we will not be able to have together. I want them so bad. I WANT THESE DAYS SO BADLY. I LOVE YOU, MY DEAR LYDIA.
These words are too hard even to write.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. - Ephesians 2:10
As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body forms in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. - Ecclesiastes 11:5
I am sure when all of Job’s children died, all those memories and events he wanted to have with them ran through his mind. The unfinished business of a father weighed on his heart like the full weight of the universe. I am sure it took his breath away, weakened his legs, and crushed his soul. The pain he and his wife might have gone through, the tragedy of it all, and the loss so severe, I can now catch a glimpse. I can now understand. It was a depth that only a person that has lost a child could know.
He lost so many. He lost everything.
Truly I tell you, anyone, who will not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. - Mark 10:15-16
I cannot tell God NO. I cannot tell God that you will stay with us... You are His, to begin with, and though my heart breaks deeper than I have ever felt, we will pray for a miracle, but we will not hinder you in any way from seeing our Father. We think: “No one should say goodbye to their children.” We believe the parents should always go first. But, God knows better.
I have no clue. I will never know. All I know is that I love you. I am merely a beggar at His feet; I am no more special than the last man that lost a son or daughter. All I can do is pray for a miracle and accept God’s will - with my tears and a parent’s passion for their child. I stare up at heaven for hours. I look at walls during moments of grief. I cry so intensely my eyes bleed. I cannot stop crying and wailing for you, my Dearest Love, Lydia.
Yes, Job never turned his back to God. He did get mad, waved hands to heaven, and swung at God with his words, but he never cursed God. He never laid down his faith, turned his back, and walked away from his Maker. He was human. He had feelings. He was not a robot. He asked God tough questions out of tears and agony.
His words ring in my mouth so greatly at this time. I want to know God… WHERE WERE YOU WHEN MY DAUGHTER NEEDED YOU? HAVE I NOT BEEN A GOOD SOLDIER? I HAVE WORKED IN YOUR PRO-LIFE WORK FOR TWO DECADES. WHY??? I HAVE HELPED HUNDREDS OF ADOPTIONS, HUNDREDS OF WOMEN WITH COUNSELING FOR THEIR PREGNANCIES, BUT WHERE ARE YOU FOR ME??? WHY HAVE YOU TAKEN MY DAUGHTER BEFORE HER TIME?
And He answers me back. The answer not what I planned.
I want God to say sorry. I want God to cry with me. But, in this moment of questioning the one that knows no bounds, a Creator of infinite realms, there is a greater picture that He sees. I am only a millisecond old in His reality. I am an angry child at something that has come and the past in his multi-dimensions. He knows much more than I. Yes I think God is crying for me. But, as a father that isn't responsible for this horrific ordeal, he answers his ignorant creation - his little child back with this:
Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone--
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?
“Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
“Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.
“Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.
“What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!
“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,
which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle?
What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm,
to water a land where no one lives,
an uninhabited desert,
to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and make it sprout with grass?
Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew?
From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?
“Can you bind the chains[b] of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons[c]
or lead out the Bear[d] with its cubs?
Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God’s[e] dominion over the earth?
“Can you raise your voice to the clouds
and cover yourself with a flood of water?
Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
Who gives the ibis wisdom[f]
or gives the rooster understanding?[g]
Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
when the dust becomes hard
and the clods of earth stick together?
“Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
and satisfy the hunger of the lions
when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in a thicket?
Who provides food for the raven
when its young cry out to God
and wander about for lack of food?”
My Dearest Lydia, do I think God is an angry God? Do I believe that it is His fault? No, I do not. I believe that we are humans, merely circling a single star we know little to nothing. I think we are frail, held by our small diminution selves, and frail to nature we were born. I think God wanted us to live with him in the garden free from all of this, and since we are blessed NOT to be robots, He let us make our choices.
I do not think God is an angry God. Not to us, in his Family. I believe it gets mad at us when we do not understand things and blame Him for it. It isn't His fault. He did not create us perfectly healthy, but perfect in love. I think He loved us so much he sent Jesus so that we could know "the Man of Sorrows." I think God watched His child die so I would not have to carry this pain past the cross. Oh, my soul. Oh, my Dearest Lydia. But, God understands more than any of us will.
It doesn’t mean the pain is any better. It does not meet I will not suffer (along side your mother) these next four months. This depth of grief, sorrow, and darkness is endless. It is a well that never ends. It is a hole that never stops falling, and I am wise to let Jesus catch me before I fall out of my sanity. I cannot let this sadness overtake my love for you mother and our God. I cannot let myself be diverted away from these precious days I still have you with us.
I have to be there for you, your mom, and your big brother.
My faith in God is greater than our situation. My faith has to be.
I love you, my dearest Lydia. I love you with all of my heart. We will pray for you, show you the love and respect you deserve, and pray to God for a miracle. We welcomed you here on earth, and we will see you through this little wondering rock in the cosmos. God knows best. It doesn’t make our hearts break any less. But, He only knows why He needs you back before we had our dances, our walks, our boyfriend troubles, or wedding dances. I love you so much. Words will never describe any of this. I only write it for my heart to better understand what God only knows.
YOUR MOTHER AND I LOVE YOU WITH ALL OF OUR HEARTS.
Lydia, my dearest. I love you. But, God loves you more. I pray that we get to keep you. I pray for a miracle of life and your life to be full and happy. I pray to hold you in my arms, to dance with you on my feet, and to see you marry, but if those days are not meant to be, God is God. God is always God.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” - Isaiah 41:10