While I’ve always been good at talking in small groups, I’ve never exactly been the kind of person that would want to stand in front of a crowd and speak, especially not about something so deeply personal. Now suddenly here I am, with this giant platform of grief that I am being forced to stand on and I am actually choosing to speak about it.
I’m not sure what moment it was that changed me.
I’m not sure if it was the moment Josh was born, the moment we held him for the last time, or the moment I had to tell all of our family and friends what had happened only to learn that many of them had suffered in silence grieving the loss of their own children afraid to talk about it for fear no one would understand. Well, I understand, and I’m not going to be silent about it. I refuse to be silent. If this is the platform that God has chosen to give me to use, then I will use it.
Honestly, I would rather have the desire and courage to speak out on just about anything else in the world…
But this is my story.
This is Josh’s story and he deserves for it to be told.
I still haven’t figured out exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with all of this. I’m not sure where the lesson is in all of this, but I know God is always using the circumstances of our lives to teach us something.
So far I have learned that I am a lot stronger than I ever thought I could be. Even though there are plenty of days that knock the wind out of me, and my grief seems like more than I can handle, I am somehow able to keep getting up. When weight of it all brings me to my knees, I take the opportunity to pray and then I get up again.
I know that the majority of my strength comes from God and from my wonderful husband, but I think part of my strength comes from wanting to make Josh proud. He didn’t get the chance to change this world. He didn’t get the chance to leave his own mark, so I want to make sure that I do that for him. I want to make sure that everyone knows his name. I want everyone to know that Joshua Patrick Denney was born and lived for 36 very precious hours and that the love that Patrick and I experienced in the nearly 30 weeks that we got to spend with him growing and kicking inside of me is so beyond precious and I cherish every second that I got to be his mom. He changed us forever. We are stronger than we ever could have been before him.
I have also learned that I am not alone in this pain and that the time we did get with Joshua was a huge blessing.
Over these past few months, I have become an unwilling member of a very beautiful community of women who have one thing in common – empty arms. I read each story and my heart breaks for each one of these babies and their families.
In many ways, I count Patrick and me extremely blessed. I know that may sound crazy, knowing how our story ends, but the beginning was pretty great.
So many have struggled for years to even get pregnant. They have endured painful pokes and prodding, spending countless hours and dollars trying to conceive only to never have the joy of seeing that second little pink line appear. I can’t imagine that pain. To have the desire to be a mom so badly and not be able to have that joy.
Many more have had that joy ripped from them too quickly as they are told at one appointment they are pregnant and then the next that they are not. I can’t begin to understand the pain of not being able to hear that precious heartbeat.
I read this week about another May momma who delivered her little angel sleeping. It’s not fair. To never hear that precious cry. To never get to spend even a moment with your child breathing on this earth. I can’t fathom the agony of that moment.
Then there are those who have had to make the world’s most difficult decision, to decide that it’s better to let their child go then to watch them stay here and suffer. I can’t imagine their pain.
In so many ways we were blessed. We got pregnant easily. Aside from morning sickness I felt good. Josh was feisty and kicked a lot. It was such a joy every time I could feel him move. We got to have two 3D ultrasounds – allowing us to see his precious face even before he was born. When he was born he was healthy and strong. We got to touch him, hear him cry, watch his eyes open when he heard our voices… We were very blessed.
I wish beyond anything that we would have gotten more than 30 weeks, more than 36 hours with our son, but I am trusting God that there was a reason that our time with him was so short. God doesn’t make mistakes, so I know that there is a purpose here, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept.
For now, I will keep trusting. I will keep believing. I will follow wherever He leads me. I will let Him use me. I will let Him use Joshua’s story for His glory. If this is the platform that God has given me to speak from, then let me speak loud and clear.
God loves you!
Even when it feels like He has abandoned you, He is there.
Losing Josh may have shaken my faith to its core, but those roots are deep and they are growing deeper every day. After all, every day is just one day closer to seeing that sweet, perfect, little face again. For that, I will have faith.