Thursday, November 25, 2010

One Month

Today marks the one month anniversary of Anastasha's birth and death.  She is gone.  We're still here.  And we hate that.  There are many days that we wish we weren't here either and that Jesus would return to take all of us who are in Christ with Him and end all pain and suffering once and for all.  But He tarries, so we wait...

In the month since we said good-bye to Anastasha, we have:
  • laid her body to rest in the ground
  • enjoyed special time with numerous precious family and friends
  • received her social security card in the mail
  • returned to work (Craig)
  • returned to the same Labor and Delivery to be with friends who were having their first daughter
  • went to Tonya's postpartum checkup (first time back to the place of "life" 5 times for us)
  • resumed homeschooling (Tonya)
  • signed Anastasha’s death certificate as the physician of record (Craig)
  • rejoiced in the births of FIVE babies born to local friends in the last month
  • cried daily
  • read to the kids more, played more kickball with them, and hugged them more tightly
So how are we doing one month later?  We're hurting.  We're sad.  We're emotionally spent.  We don't have the energy to put on a happy face and "pretend" to others that all is well.  If our journey with Anastasha was a marathon, and the days and weeks leading up to her death were the "kick" at the end, then we are in the cool down period right now.  And neither of us has the energy to sprint, or even to jog.  We aren't crumbling.  By God's grace we are standing up under the pain.  But all isn't well.  Our daughter is dead.  We can't hold her or kiss her.  We can't watch her grow up.  We know she is with the Lord.  But to be truthful, we want her here with us.

As the colorful life of summer gives way to the dreary death of winter, so it is in our hearts.  The world seems a bit duller.  Things that are usually attractive and appealing have lost their shine.  And I don't mean that in a depressed, anhedonic sort of way.  I mean that in a "seeing-things-for-what-they-really-are" sort of way.  Money, "stuff", sports, achievements - its all gonna burn someday.  The truth is that this world is temporary.  We were made for another home...a heavenly one.  And the things we often run around chasing in this world by and large have very little meaning or purpose for that home that is to come.  What matters is what will last - the lives we impact for God.  And most importantly, how we love Him while we are here.  Because when the day comes that He calls our name, none of that other stuff will matter.  He won't ask us what car we drove, how much money was still in our bank account, or what degrees we earned.  He'll ask us how we responded to His Son.  That's all that will matter, and the day is coming for each of us sooner than we realize.

Yesterday at Thanksgiving, there was an obvious absence in our home and at our “table”.  We felt great thankfulness for Anastasha, but at the same time this feeling was almost overshadowed by grief that she isn’t here with us.  There is a void there, one that I suspect will never be truly filled this side of heaven.

Grief is a process that looks different for everyone.  It looks different for Tonya than it does for me.  God is present in our grief, guiding us through the journey with this unwanted guest in our lives.  But we won't rush it.  We couldn't if we wanted to.  We are determined to let the Lord lovingly take our hands and lead us through this to the other side, in His timing.  And we desperately want to emerge on the other side more like Christ than when we started.

God is still good.  Christ still reigns. 

It is well with our souls.  We’re pressing in to Him.  We’re still trusting.  We’re still hoping in His unfailing love. 

But we hurt.  A lot.


  1. A very hauntingly, familiar post, Craig. In our house, we identified this feeling, not of depression, like the world wanted to, but of heart weariness. I am so glad we worship a God who is glorified more in our honest grief than in empty praise. Praying for you...

  2. We love you all and will continue to lift you up in prayer. I want you to know how Anastasha has touched our family. She has given us the opportunity to discuss with Hannah (14) and Josh (12) how and why her little life is so precious to God and to you, and to allow them to see Christ-followers walk in Truth and obedience through such difficult days. They will always remember your little angel, for she has had a great impact on their lives. So I want to thank you for sharing her precious life with us. The Lord bless you and keep you...Julie

  3. I am so sorry for your enormous pain. Who can bear that?

    Thank you for writing so sincerely and so truthful, just right away from your heart.

    Anastasha is so pretty and sweet.

    The sermon of her funeral made a deep impression to a friend of mine - I will listen to it very soon, too. Even if I am afraid, that it makes me sad.

    I also want you to know, that my sister (who will have to walk the same path with her husband that you did in january) and I, we really love the little casket you made for Anastasha. It is just so nice for a little girl. I think, you deeply inspired my sister to find something adequate for her little Valentina. Do you feel that...? Anastasha indeed left a bigger legacy in her life than many people will leave in fifty years. Can this be a little tiny consolation?

    I am sorry for my bad english. I am afraid, I cannot explain to 100% what I want to say...

    I am sending you my most heartful wishes from Berlin, Germany.

    Auntie Lolo