SONY DSCRemember how I posted that life was fleeting?  And then I posted “It’s Been a Long Time!”, about how we were expecting another baby, much to our surprise?

Well, once again, I learned that life is fleeting.

My beautiful, precious Maia Rose, 4lbs, 9oz, died on December 2, 2012.  I was 34 weeks pregnant.  I am still devastated.  I never imagined that would happen to me, to us.  I can’t begin to describe the horror, fear, and pain of having to endure that kind of reality- I can just say it never goes away and doesn’t get any better.  You just learn to manage it better.  But it still hurts just as much.

You just don’t talk about it much, because it’s such a downer to everyone else.  Truth is, I feel now the same as I did then- I’m better able to control the despair, to mask the pain and bewilderment- but it hasn’t gone anywhere.  I just have to put on a brave face so I don’t weird everyone out.

I also can’t begin to describe the difficulty of explaining this to my 5 and 3 year old.  Their disappointment over not being able to ever bring her home to play; their confusion about how and why she died and why other people got to keep their babies, but we did’t get to keep ours; and their fear that they might die too.

Seeing people I hadn’t seen since I was pregnant and watching their face change from excitement (oh!, you had the baby!) to confusion (but why don’t you look happy…) to shock (oh, my God- I had no idea, I’m so sorry!) to embarrassment (gee, I wish I hadn’t said anything…) to panic, as they flee (okay- just put my foot in my mouth- let me get away as soon as possible, because I have no idea how to fix this!).

BTW- I’m not contagious.  Your babies won’t die if you talk to me.

Just sayin’.

And so, I press on through this life that I’ve been blessed with.  God is still good, and He’s still incontrol.  I don’t understand and I certainly don’t agree with all that happened and continues to happen (like the constant reminders- you can’t escape babies, pregnant women, or the mention of either), I know He’s still in control.  And really, even if I understood it wouldn’t change anything.

She’d still be gone, and I’d still be devastated.  Forever.

But in a weird way, I know it’s okay- even if it doesn’t always feel that way- because I’m still on His mind, and He still has a plan, and He’s still on the throne.  And I’ll see her again.

But I still miss my baby, though.

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I wanted to post my feeling on this about a week ago, but out of respect for the family and not wanting to share any information before they were ready, I decided to wait.  A little over a week ago, an aquaintance of mine lost his wife.    When I used to teach, I would see him at professional development days and teacher things, and sometimes, I’d see them at church.

A week ago, she had a massive heart attack in her sleep and died.  She was 33.  They have a daughter who’s about 7 or 8.

She was a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend.  She was young.  She was overweight. She was stressed out.  And she had a heart attack.  And died.  At 33.

I write that because in a lot of ways, she is me.

I am a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, and a friend.

While a little older than her (36), I am still young.

And I am overweight.  And I am stressed out.

Do you see where this is going?

That could have just as easily been me.  But for the grace of God go I, and all that.  When I heard about her death I was shocked.  I mean, I know overweight + overstressed = candidate for heart attack, but she was so young I would never have seen it coming.  I doubt she did, either.  So many questions filled my head all that day and night:

Did she wake up the morning before just like every other day?  Was she tired?  Was all that she had to do that day running through her head?  Did she go to the market?  Take her daughter to dance class?  Did she kiss her husband goodbye?

Did she put gas in her car in the cold, and comment to her gas- pumping neighbor on how cold it was?

Was she thinking about all she had to do that week?  Fretting about her ailing mother?  Did she argue with her husband?  Were they on good terms, or barely speaking?

What did she cook for dinner that night, or did they go out?  Was she feeling okay, or unusually tired?  Was her heart racing and did she attribute it to stress?  Did she think she was coming down with something?

Did she read her daughter a bedtime story?  Did she skip pages or rush through it because she was tired?  Did her daughter ask for just one more story?  A glass of water?  One more kiss?

Did she kiss her husband goodnight?  Did they make love?  Sleep with their backs to each other?  What was she thinking about as she drifted off to sleep after a full day?  Did she say her prayers?  Have a quiet time?  Or maybe just crawl into bed, exhausted, deciding that when it came to exercise/ lovemaking/ prayers/ devotions/ reading that bedtime story she’d just do it tomorrow?

All of these questions plagued me, and we’ll never know the answers.  The truth is that a lot of those questions described MY Saturday, and I thought about how much I would regret if that had been me and I could have looked back.  I would have read the extra story, hugged my kids a little tighter, kissed my husband, made time for that last prayer.  Or knowing it was a possibility,  in the days and weeks before I’d have taken more time with my kids, exercised anyway, made better eating choices, been more available for my husband, and worried less about the house/ laundry/ my to- do list.

I’ve decided that I’m going to learn from this wake up call, focus on what matters, change those things that I can for the better, and honor God with the time I have left- however long that may be.  Not just for me, not just for my kids or my husband- but to learn from and honor the life of a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, and a friend who left us too soon.