This story of grief + faith by Harmony Strauss will speak to those who've been through the loss of a child. Harmony shares her faith, how it has strengthened and how she's healed.
The nurse spoke the words, “We can’t find the heartbeat,” and everything after that was a blur.
It was the morning of October 17, 2017, and, at 38 weeks pregnant, I had gone into early labour. I recall the anticipation we felt in meeting our second-born son, Gus, later that day. Our firstborn, Theodore, had turned two earlier that summer, yet he seemed to understand there was a baby in my belly.
I was so excited for him to have a sibling and for us all to delight in the newborn stage again. My husband and I both come from big, loving families, and I had dreamed of creating that same life for our children.
After being admitted to triage, the nurses began to do all their checks and we became aware that there was a significant concern for the baby. We heard phrases like “placental abruption” and "loss of oxygen.” It was clear to me that our baby was no longer alive. Still, that fact didn't really seem to register as I continued to labour into the night.
Grief crashed in like a torrential flood
The next morning, I got to hold him for the first and last time; cold and eyes closed. Grief crashed in like a torrential flood. My baby boy, whom my body had grown and nourished for almost nine months, whose entire future I had mapped out in my mind, was gone in an instant. He had been ripped from my arms, from our lives, and I had no way to bring him back.
In the months that followed, I battled with a sea of emotions and questions. I was angry at God for allowing such a tragedy in our lives. All I could think about were my empty arms. As I resumed my normal activities, things I shouldn’t have been able to do with a newborn, it seemed like everything was overshadowed with sadness. We grieved over would-be milestones as they passed, and I longingly gazed at other babies wondering why mine didn’t get to live too. I was plagued with the unanswerable question: why me?
A verse I used to take comfort in was James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” What I once thought I understood was now so uncertain. How could a compassionate God allow the things we love so much to be taken away?
After a season of living apathetically to God’s Word, I realized that, if I wanted to move on, my perspective had to shift.
When still in the depths of despair, I came across a few videos in my newsfeed from Back to the Bible Canada called “Dealing with Suffering” and “God’s Sovereignty.” They offered comfort and insight and helped me realize that, in the words of Dr. John Neufeld, “while we may know the larger philosophical answers, we don’t know the individual ones.” After a season of living apathetically to God’s Word, I realized that, if I wanted to move on, my perspective had to shift. I had to stop looking at it from my point of view and try to see God’s. If our understanding is that God is a loving God and, therefore, protects us from all hurt, we will never be able to come to terms with our suffering. All of us will experience suffering in our lives. The good news is that Christ Jesus chose to suffer for us so that one day we could experience an unimaginable life of eternity with Him.
Now, all of this was technically stuff I already knew. Words were easy to spout off when people asked how I was doing, but I still struggled with questioning God.
I will see him again one day where there is no more pain and suffering
I knew He loved me and would never desert me, but how did that make the loss of my son okay? It finally dawned on me that I had made an idol of the life I was living. I realized that the only things that mattered to me were my possessions and what happened to me here. But there is such a bigger picture that I can’t see. God didn’t take my son Gus away. He gave him to me. I might not have him here on earth, but I will see him again one day where there is no more pain and suffering. Since Gus went to be with the Lord, the promise of Heaven has become very real to me and I can take comfort in James 1 once again.
I know that the best thing I can do now is to use what I have gained from this temporary loss to help others, whether that’s by comforting a friend or sharing it in an article for other hurting people to read and be encouraged.
On a personal level, I know I need to commit to continue growing in my faith by pursuing God through His Word. Despite the suffering, I rejoice that God gave us the gift of His Son, and because of it, I am assured that when my time on earth is done, I will be reunited in Heaven with the loved ones He blessed me with.
Harmony Strauss and her two sisters, Destiny and Britteny, are a family vocal group from British Columbia called The Pilkey Sisters. With an astounding and soaring blend of vocals, and a passion that shines through every word, The Pilkey Sisters' desire to deliver the gospel message through song, both ministering to the needs of others and bringing hope for an eternal future that far surpasses anything we could imagine.