Above are two pictures. The first picture was taken while my Husband and I were engaged, before tragedy ever touched our lives.
The second was taken this past summer, after the loss of our son and the rocky pregnancy and early birth of our daughter. After a full term birth with a second daughter. After 4.5 years of trying to navigate the reality of child loss that is ours.
If you were to look at those two pictures with no knowledge of where we have been in life you would see the exact same people in both photos.
But when I look at these pictures I see two completely different couples, four completely different people.
The first picture is a photo of two naive people. Fresh. Full of hope, joy, and expectancy of what their life and future holds. It is a photo of two people who have never felt the intensity of the heartache that child loss causes.
The second picture is a photo of two people who have been touched by sorrow, have felt the sting of child loss. When I see this photo I see the pain that tragedy has left in its wake. I see sorrow and hurt. But I also see strength, love, and fun.
If I could write that girl in the first photo a letter it would go something like this:
Dear Jenna –
In a little less than two years you will feel the worst pain you have ever felt or probably will ever feel again.
There is no way to prepare yourself for the gut wrenching heartache you will feel.
Its the type of heartache that will bring you to your knees, begging God to take you instead of your son while your heart feels as though it is breaking into a million tiny pieces and falling out of your chest.
You will come close to giving up on yourself and God.
But you don’t.
You come together with your husband and form a marriage and bond that is stronger than most.
You are each other’s rocks.
Do not ever forget that.
Lean on your family as well, you will need them.
This tragedy, the loss of your son, that day will always stay with you.
When you wake up in the morning and go to bed at night you will see your son DAVID, always.
You will come up with things in your head of what you should have done differently, or what the doctors should have done.
You will replay that day he died over and over until you make yourself sick with the detail.
You will feel things not very many people have felt or understand.
You will see tragedy in the everyday so much differently than others.
Your heart will break every time you hear someone has lost their child.
And it will break even more when you hear the insensitivity of others regarding child loss.
Because you have had to deal with insensitive comments as well.
But out of this your relationship with your husband grows stronger.
Your relationship with God grows stronger.
You don’t take the people you love for granted anymore.
You cherish the time you have with them.
A ministry to help the brokenhearted has stemmed from your tragic loss.
You many not be the same girl in the first photo but you are a much stronger girl.
You are a girl who can offer hope to the brokenhearted.
And that’s pretty darn amazing.