If surviving the past year has been a surprise to us, the fact that, in reality, we thrived the past year has been an even greater surprise. But it all points to the child we lost. Rather than waste his or her life, we let the loss resonate and ripple through our own lives in a positive and meaningful way. We improved our health, we devoted time and efforts to our ministries, we poured into the three older siblings entrusted to our care, we spent time doing more and seeing more, and with each passing month we came closer to being the version of ourselves that we always wanted to be. Because God said, "Not now" we worked to better ourselves in preparation of a day He might say, "Yes." And while that day hasn't happened, we know that taking advantage of every opportunity we've had over the past year has been well worth it. Not that the loss of our child has ever or will ever be worth it, but because the circumstances are what they are, that our life has still been full in spite of. Further, even if He doesn't say "yes", the ways in which we have bettered ourselves, devoting time to tending to ourselves, each other, our family, our friends, and our ministries, that can only serve Him and thus, is worth it too.
I think about our sweet Locke almost every day. I'm reminded of all the ways our life would be different if he or she was with us on a regular basis. I miss this child terribly. Through it all, God's goodness has been evident. I still laughed and smiled despite my heart breaking a year ago. I still nourished and cherished the kids I have here. Matt and I still worked to comfort and care for one another. And as time passed, the grief lessened. My tear soaked eyes of sadness turned to joy for others who ushered their little ones into this world. My prayers for myself turned to help others in similar circumstances. My racing heart that broke for Locke turned into one that beat more fiercely for those I could love here.
His goodness is most evident in small ways, a friend with four children, all the same ages as our own, including a boy just older than our Locke would have been. He serves as a gentle reminder of the stages and milestones we would have been anticipating. Also a friend who has an older son whose birthday is the same as our due date was. He serves as a reminder of that joyous anticipation we had and the love for someone we don't know yet. These two boys together remind me of Locke in the best of ways, that even though I didn't know him or her, that Locke will not be forgotten, which was one of my greatest fears as we lost him or her. Locke is beyond fine, resting in God's presence and knowing only the most complete love. We are thankful for that too.
We pray we continue to thrive, whether that includes another child or not. We seek God's purpose for our lives and pray that we listen with open ears and hearts to His plan for our family. We praise Him for the blessings and the sorrow, for we know He with us and for us through both seasons of life and everywhere in between.