We named our baby Shiloh, which means “His gift”. I wanted for us to always be reminded when we remember this child, that his/her short presence here with us was a blessing. I know this for sure.
I do not wish for a second that I wasn’t pregnant at all in order to be spared this pain. The time that we were expecting, the work we did in our hearts to welcome this baby in, the joy we felt together in anticipation, I wouldn’t trade any of it even if I knew the outcome from the start. I know that the presence of Shiloh healed us in some way, of our fear of another pregnancy for one thing. It only strengthened the ties we have with each other to have, and to lose, a child so dearly loved.
We had a little ceremony yesterday, with some family and friends that often gather together on Sunday evenings for food and fellowship. And so, in the evening, with the sun behind and the blue, cloudless sky above, we each let go of a helium balloon as we whispered goodbye to Shiloh. It seemed an appropriately ephemeral memorial, in keeping with such a brief life. We watched as the balloons trailed each other and were caught by a slipstream, forming spiral patterns high up in the sky and then clustering together and seeming to hover just above us for a long, long time. As they got farther up the sunlight reflecting off of them made them seem like little colored stars. We watched until our eyes watered trying to focus, and then they were gone, just as Shiloh is gone. I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful. My main thought was to help the kids understand/gain some closure. I won’t ever forget it.
I want to be clear. I’m not of a theology that believes God had some higher purpose and that’s why my baby died. I’m not one of those who is comforted by the thought that God is in control and everything happens for a reason. I don’t believe that.
Our Father who is in Heaven, holy is your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
My Bible says that the Kingdom of God, that place where there is no sickness or death, no sorrow or tears, is not fully come. It paints a picture of a war, a kingdom advancing, one battle after another. A struggle that is carried out by those who are alive in His spirit and choose to do His will, to participate in His kingdom, to love their enemies, to do good to those who persecute them, to choose constantly the path of selflessness, to lay down their lives and live them in Christ. The death of a child is never a good thing. Never “for the best”. It’s a sign that our world is still broken, still waits to be healed.
On earth, as it is in heaven…
But I trust in a God who is good, who has promised to redeem all things. I believe that. I know this peace I feel is from Him, and that He is carrying me through. I know He makes all things new.