Happy 9th birthday

My sweet Luke,

Today is your 9th heavenly birthday! It seems like a long time and also not that long. Since we live in a fairly small town, I regularly drive by the office where they told us “there is no heartbeat”, the hospital where you were born, and the funeral home where you were cremated. I don’t relive the most horrible of those moments very often and driving by those places doesn’t always strike me, but I do think of you a lot. I talk about you with your little brother.

I don’t have very many mementos of you. Your hand and foot prints, a lock of hair, a few photos taken in the middle of the night, a certificate of birth from the hospital, a little blue starred onesie you briefly wore, the white flower they put on our hospital room door, and your ashes. But I know that all I am missing now, He will restore in heaven. We are separated by a thin veil for the blink of an eye, but we will be together for eternity. You are one of the most exciting parts of heaven for me. I expect to see you jumping up and down at the gate when I arrive, just like the little boy’s sister who was lost in the womb in “Heaven is for Real”. Or maybe you’ll be grown and not quite jumping-up-and-down age, but I at least expect the best reunion hug ever. I long to learn all the things I don’t get to know about you for now.

It continues to amaze me how God brings people going through a loss like yours into my life and how it comforts me to try to share with them whatever comfort I can from Him. We are definitely not the only people who have walked this path of loss and so many that I meet are so wonderful and love the Lord. So with earthly eyes, it does not make sense. But I know He does not waste anything and that “all things work together for good for those who love the Lord”(Romans 8:28), so I know He has allowed these life-altering losses for a reason. And He will redeem it. You are a big part of who I am and my testimony. You have helped me grow closer to Him and to fix my eyes on heaven. I love you so much. I will see you soon, my son!

Your little brother and I spent part of your day at one of our favorite places, Mortimer Farms. God arranged special gifts for us there in the form of unplanned run in’s with 2 special people. The first was the nurse we met when we first arrived at the hospital to deliver you. When we were in shock that you were gone, she gave us such sweet care. She signed up for an extra shift to be with us, arranged for our nurse in her absence to be a mom who had also lost her first son to stillbirth and handled many of our arrangements. When we returned to have Samuel 16 months later, she arranged to be at his delivery and even brought us a gift. Then we ran into my sweet friend Miranda who always talks to me about you and has celebrated several of your birthdays with us. I think it’s beautiful how God set up those meetings for me today. How much He loves us and takes great care of us!

8 Years in Heaven

Tomorrow is your 8th birthday. The longer time goes on and the more I get to see your little brother grow and develop individual traits, the more I wonder what you are like. What you would look like at 8? How would you like school, would you be funny, serious, quiet, energetic? I want to know it all. Your little brother brings us so much joy, I can’t even imagine it doubled with both of you in the house. I wish I could hug you and get your favorite birthday meal and make you a cake. I miss you. I am so excited for the day when I get to see you again in heaven and learn all of these things about you.

For now, I got some pale pink roses and a strawberry swirl cheesecake to celebrate you. Your brother has asked about getting blue balloons to release and I’m thankful he remembers that and that it is meaningful to him. I bought tickets for us to go to the Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium tomorrow to celebrate your birthday. I hope it’s a fun day as a family as we remember you, our first son. I’ve begun to wonder if maybe your dad blames me for your loss because things seem to be extra rough around your birthday. A counselor friend suggested that as a possibility, and he does seem to be extra angry and harsh around this time of year. Hopefully our outing can be good.

I love you always. I’m thankful you first made me a mom, even though it was a painful way to begin that journey. I know we will be together again and all joy will be restored. I’m so thankful for my salvation through Jesus so that I can rest in the peace and assurance that we are only separated by a thin veil. Your loss is temporary. You are already in our true home and I will get to join you there when my race is done. Some days that is easier than others, but I strive my best to do what God needs me to do each day so that I can enjoy the rewards you are enjoying, my son. I’m thankful I’m forgiven through God’s grace when I fall short (a lot). I’m thankful I know you are safe and in heaven where there are no tears, no pain, no death, no hurt. Surrounded by God’s love and in His presence! I love you so much, Luke Hudson Hopper. Happy 8th birthday! I remember you today and always.

Happy 7th birthday

Happy 7th birthday, my first son! I love and miss you! I look forward to the end of my race when I get to arrive at the gates of heaven and see you waiting to greet me. There’s so much I want to know about you. What color your eyes are, what your personality is like, what your favorite things are. I have so few things of you on Earth. A few pictures, a onesie you wore, a memory box and your ashes. They are still in the closet because what do you do with ashes of a baby who never went anywhere?

This day is always hard because I don’t unpack some of those painful memories very often. The nurse not finding your heartbeat with the Doppler, the doctor coming in to do an ultrasound, the quiet and somber feeling in the room that started the panic, the doctor saying “there’s no heartbeat” and then immediately after, “I know Dr. X wanted you to induce”, which immediately began the guilt. You were so close to being here! We were so excited and ready for you! But I know that God allowed your loss for a reason. He has brought me many gifts through you and your loss has refined me to follow Him better. I long for heaven in a way I did not before.

What I am missing most about you these days is the relationship your little brother would have with you. I didn’t want him to be an only child and I’m sad he’s missing out on that sibling relationship your dad and I both had. During these last 2 months of the corona virus outbreak, he hasn’t had any interaction with other kids. No Sunday school, no preschool, no park or play dates. It makes me feel bad. I hope his development is not harmed in some way by going without that peer interaction. He is so sweet though. When he saw I was sad this morning, he brought me one of our new baby chicks and said, “Here mommy, this chick will cheer you up.” ❤️

We don’t have any big plans for your birthday today. The world is different at the moment, but that is okay with me because I know this world is so temporary. It is not my home. My home is with you and my Father in heaven. I would be happy if this world was ending so that I could get there faster! But for now, I will continue to try to run my race with endurance until He says it is complete and I can come home. I love you, my son and I remember you today on your birthday and always.