Dear Lydia Elizabeth,

Today had you lived you would have been eighteen years old. I have watched your bothers and sister grow up, have celebrated their birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgiving and even had mini adventures with them.  I often wonder how the dynamics of siblings would be different if you had survived that kinked cord in your momma’s womb.  Would you be close to your sister Abigail and to your brothers, Jordan and Graham?  Would you be the blue eyed grandchild among our Foster grandchildren or brown eyed like Jordan and Abigail, or hazel eyed like Graham?

Days before your silent entry, your Mother, my daughter, sensed something wrong.  You had become motionless, at least she had not felt your waving hands or kicking feet.  In her OB doctor’s office, no heartbeat–a heartbeat she had heard since you were only a few weeks old–could be detected.  Two ultrasounds later we knew.  Medically speaking, my precious Lydia, the diagnosis was fetile demise, but our hearts were breaking because every dream we already had for you died with you.

Through it all, as we waited for your body to be born,  your parents held each other up and tried not to frighten your older brother Jordan.  They planned your funeral and ministered grace to all of us in our grief.  Your Mom told me God would use your brief life and your death for good.  Eighteen years ago today, your parents checked in at the hospital.  Your Mom took her crochet hook  and created small Christmas wreath pins, which she shared with the hospital staff.  That night as labor pains demanded “push”,  your body slipped into your mother’s arms.  Of course, your spirit already was in heaven.

Your death changed us all.  I was bereft, but I no longer took for granted that once a pregnancy reached a certain stage, a healthy birth was guaranteed.  Months later at an evening prayer session at Pembroke Christian Church, a few folks gathered as was our custom on Monday evenings.  One of the prayer requests was for a couple who had just learned via ultrasound that their unborn daughter had an anomoly that was not compatible with life.  They had chosen to continue the pregnancy over protests from family and friends, who undoubtedly thought to do so would lessen their pain.

I burst into sobs, shaking in my seat, praying outloud and passionately–not me at all, Lydia.  Why? because YOU my precious granddaughter impacted my world, gave me a heart for  pregnant women, their unborn babies, for expectant fathers and especially for the value of the lives of those babies like you who died way too soon.

I am thankful for your short life, Lydia.  I am thankful for your legacy of love expressed in the love your parents have for each other, in the lives of your siblings, and for teaching your Papa and Mimi that prayer for the unborn is prayer for the world.

Love Always –Hold you one day in Heaven,