Nora snuggled into bed with me this morning and brought a book to read as she often does. With sleepy eyes I rolled to my side and opened the cover not paying attention to what she grabbed. There it was staring back at me “I’m a Big Sister!” the book my friend Nicki sent to Nora when we first found out we were pregnant. I was thrilled at the time and she LOVES this book. After the babies died I didn’t take the time to dig through the books and hide this one away. I WANT her to know that she is a big sister. She’s a little sister too but that’s a bit harder to explain so for the moment we keep it simple with the memories that she herself has and the fact that she is so proud of. She is a big sister. She knows this.
I take a deep breath and read through the pages. Pages that explain the adjustment of big sister and new baby and all of the exciting things that big sisters get to do. Nora doesn’t get to do these things being the big sister of babies in Heaven and with each page turned my heart hurt a bit more for her. My heart hurts for me often but it’s something all together different to hurt through her eyes. We get to the last page and the little girl in the book gets to push the stroller and is rewarded with ice cream (one more thing that big sisters get to do that babies do not). Nora looks at me and I hold my breath. She will say something. I know she will say something.
“When do I get to be a big sister and push the stroller and get ice cream?”
“Well you are a big sister Nora but your baby brother and sisters are in Heaven”
“Well … I want to have a baby here now”
“I know Nora” and before I can say another word she says,
“God is going to give us another baby right now so I can push the stroller and have ice cream. I told Him.”
… deep breath …
“I’m glad you asked God honey but we don’t know if He’ll send us another baby or not. No matter what though you will always be a great big sister and some day you will see them again in Heaven. We can have ice cream anytime if you’d like to do that too.”
“Yes mommy but I want a baby brother.”
“Did you know that you have five brothers and sister in Heaven?”
“No I have six mommy.”
I proceeded to tell her that the babies’ birthday was coming soon and that reminded her that HER birthday was also coming soon and then she was off making plans for her own party and I was left dreaming of ice cream and strollers and my little girl missing out on big sister things and what my little ones will be doing to celebrate in Heaven this year. Do they have ice cream cones in Heaven?
My sister-in-laws gave Nora a beautiful book after the babies died. If they hadn’t written inside of the cover I likely wouldn’t have remembered it was from them as I have no memory of getting it. Sadly I have no memory of a lot of those days. I was shocked at the similarities in the illustrations between the two books. I love that. It’s called “Heaven, God’s Promise for Me” by Anne Graham Lotz. (pictured above on the right)
I love looking through each page and seeing the groups of three everywhere. Three ducks, three lambs, three rainbows. The message is beautiful and so comforting. The pages are filled with joyful creatures and children on every page (and yes, a little girl eating an ice cream cone).
I especially love this page and the beautiful picture of Jesus wiping tears away.
If there are tears on your face
When you arrive on that day,
Will wipe them away.
Inside there is no crying.
Inside there is no pain.
Inside there are no bad people.
You’ll never be lonely again.
I love looking at the pictures of the children and trying to imagine which ones might be my kids. Maybe that sounds dumb. But I do. My busy little Elliot with brown hair and eyes riding a fuzzy lamb?
My spunky Alice snuggling with a lion with cute little pigtails?
My Alexis with crazy hair swimming with sharks? I bet she’d have been a good swimmer with her long legs and feet. She loved to stretch out in my tummy so I imagine her here where she didn’t have to fight for leg room.
The beautiful reply that AnGel Ministries wrote to me:
“Your deep love for the Lord Jesus and your unwavering trust in Him in the midst of your heartache and grief is an incredible testimony. Not only that, but to know that He used Anne’s book, Heaven: God’s Promise for Me to touch your heart and life in such an incredible way during this time is a precious encouragement for Anne.
What a blessing it was to read your post! Surely God will use it in a mighty way to speak into the lives of many other grieving parents.
As you approach the anniversary of Alice, Elliot, and Alexis’ home-going, please know that it has been our privilege to pray for you, your husband, and your dear Nora. May the One Who is even now preparing a place for us lovingly bless and tenderly keep each of you as you keep your eyes fixed on Him.
Copyright © 2011 Anne Graham Lotz (AnGeL Ministries) Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved http://www.annegrahamlotz.com.