Happy Birthday, Dear Thad

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March 15, 2017 by comhomflt

Apparently I’m not much good at blogging when my LT is around. Spending evenings with him is eminently more agreeable, and my brief flirtation with blogging has been enough to reveal a strong preference for reading. Even now, my current tome on the Plantagenets beckons, but my LT has been away on his AT, leaving empty evenings begging for redemption. My mind has also been weighed down with the approaching memory of a significant event in our family’s life, to which a Facebook post cannot do justice.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Five years have now passed since this date, and I have pondered much in that interval. That was the day we met our little Thaddeus Peter, “Thad” – with a “T” sound – as we call him now. He was born already in the arms of his Creator and Savior, but unlike our other three miscarriages, this baby I was able to meet, to kiss, and to grieve over in a more tangible way. We’ve since named all our miscarried little ones, though only God knows their gender, and they are a part of our family, remembered in conversation on a rather regular basis.

I am thankful – oh, so thankful – for the goodness God showed that day. Allowing me to meet our little boy, to know he was a boy, to name him, to cover his tiny body with kisses, to hold him, to wrap him up in a baby washcloth blanket, to count his fingers and toes, and, most of all, to tell him that I loved him – what gifts! Within fifteen minutes of his birth, I began hemorrhaging, but God gave me those fifteen minutes of quiet and stillness to spend with Thad. God’s grace was evidenced in other ways – my youngest there to cheer me up, a friend who came to pick her up and ended up taking me to the emergency room on the way, and words of encouragement and prayer when I felt like things couldn’t get worse.

Of all the words I was comforted with at that time, one thought stands out as the dearest to me now: Thad will never struggle with his sin nature! I will never have to discipline or correct him; he will spend all his days in perfection in the presence of his Savior! At the time, I hated those words and wished the wise friend who spoke them could see they were of no comfort; I would have instantly recalled Thad from those blessings for the joy of holding him in my aching arms. I still do feel that ache, even though my arms are full here, but I am now able to take joy in knowing he is beyond the reach of sin and evil and is clothed in righteousness not his own.  “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me;” and I trust that is God’s goodness to us both.

During those awful days, Romans 8:35-39 once again leaped to the forefront of my mind. I had grown to love these verses through previous miscarriages and a couple of deployment scares, but it became my lifeline when my mind couldn’t process anything else – God loved me, God loved Thad, and nothing could separate me from that love! Death may have separated us from Thad, but even that barrier did not stop God’s love from reaching each of us where we were. The Navy could – and did – separate me from my husband, but nothing could separate me from God and from His love. I have grown in my understanding of that love since then – I cannot be separated from God’s love because love is part of God’s very nature, and He cannot be disassociated from it. As His child, I experience His love because He IS love. His love sustained me when the Navy shipped my LT out to sea a week after Thad’s birth. His love and grace to me also brought him back to port – and within cell phone reach – when the ship experienced “unexplained” problems the very day it pulled out. And, His love helped us to work through the anger and grief that had to be put on hold for a few weeks until my LT was home again.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:35-39, ESV

Sadly, I can never think of Thad’s homegoing without also wondering how, how, HOW any doctor or nurse or healthcare worker could see a baby at Thad’s stage of development – 16 weeks – and kill them on purpose. I cannot fathom it. To count body parts and think of profit instead of counting and kissing tiny toes and wishing they could hear whispered words of love is beyond my ability to comprehend. The Lord sees and knows. He loves those babies every bit as much as He loves our Thad, and He clothes them in His righteousness as well. In that I take comfort, and there is perhaps work I can do here on earth to bring God’s love to others who have been born into circumstances where they are otherwise unlikely to know it.

I do not understand why God chose to fill our arms with a fourth baby – our homecoming baby, of sorts – so soon after He took Thad home to heaven. Certainly, that helped with the process of healing, yet it did not erase the pain of loss, the longing to see Thad someday, or the lessons learned through all of it. And, each year on Thad’s birthday, on Mother’s Day, and whenever I think of Thad, amidst the noise and laughter of four children, I think of those whose arms remain empty. My heart aches for you.

Dear Thad, until the day when my faith is made sight, until the day we rejoice together in the presence of our Savior, I will remember those few precious moments with you and the things I have learned through a little one whose voice I have yet to hear. Happy 5th Birthday, sweet boy of ours!

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