A couple weeks ago I ran across something special. One of my friends from college just experienced his wife delivering a stillborn. My heart broke into a million pieces as I read his post, but by the time I was done reading his post I was in tears and uplifted.
How did he do this? During a time of great sorrow, this father was uplifting others through his words when it should have been the other way around.
I asked him if I could share his story on here in hopes to help someone else who has or is going through something similar. This was his talk he gave at his sweet daughters funeral. If you are struggling with losing a baby, or really any kind of difficult trial, these words will give you hope and understanding. I hope you feel uplifted as I did after I read it.
A letter to Tessa and my Father in Heaven that turns into a conversation with my Father in Heaven:
All we’ve wanted to do is thy will, and it hasn’t worked out.
Why did we receive false hope.? Not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. And this last one, to carry a baby for 8 months and then lose her?
It’s not fair.
Hyrum was going to be an awesome brother. He already was. He loved to talk to and cuddle Tessa. He was going to protect her. He was going to look out for her. He was going to be the perfect older brother.
Life’s not fair.
I was going to be an awesome father. I couldn’t wait to have a little girl. She was going to be daddy’s little girl.
Life’s not fair.
I was going to play with her. Barbies? OK. Dress up? OK. Cars, paw patrol, transformers, ninja turtles, ball with Dad and Hyrum? OK. Or without Hyrum, maybe one on one time with dad? OK. Wrestle with Dad? Play lions with him? Go down slides? Swing on swings? Laugh until it hurts? Go on daddy daughger dates? OK. Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. And Ok. We were going to play a lot.
Life’s is not fair.
I was going to read to you every night. Sing to you every night. Kiss and hug you every night.
Life’s not fair.
Your Mom and Dad were going to teach you everything and then let you discover your own passions. We were going to give you every opportunity to discover who you wanted to become. We would watch proudly as you would choose what path you wanted to follow.
We were going to teach you how to throw, shoot, and hit a ball. If you wanted to follow a path of athletics I would open you that door (perhaps a little wider than other doors, although I’d do my best not to get in your way).
We were going to teach you how to build and construct (OK maybe Mom was going to teach you how to build and construct). We were going to teach you the sciences and the maths if you wanted to become a doctor or an astronaut (OK, maybe we’d need a little help on this from Aunt Mary).
We were going to teach you the beauty of art and creativity. Like Hyrum, you would have followed Mom to pre-school and she would help you from a young age imagine, create, discover, and explore. We were going to teach you to love the outdoors and Gods creations. We were going to camp and roast smores and set up tents.
We were going to teach you to dance or cheer if you wanted (Ok maybe cousin Emma and cousin Emery would have to help with this). We were going to go to every dance recital or cheer competition out there if you chose this path. We were going to teach you that you could become whatever you wanted to become.
Whatever you chose, We were going to teach you to give it your all.
Life’s not fair.
Your Mom was going to be an awesome mother. She was going to show you the virtue, power, balance, and empathy that makes for strong women today. The world needed you, and your Mom was going to prepare you to be an influence for good.
By watching her you would learn what it takes to build Christlike character. This would not be hard for me to teach you. “Watch your Mom, and do what she does” would be the short lecture on this. By watching mom You would learn how to be kind, considerate, compassionate, observant, and aware.
The world needs more people like your Mom. The world need’s more Ambers. You were going to be one.
Life is not fair.
We were going to watch you grow up. First day of Kindergarten? We’d be there. Being baptized? I’d proudly do that for you. Going on your first date? Oh gosh, I don’t know about that one. I think I could be there for you though.
Going on a mission? If you chose We’d be there. Furthering your education by going to college and choosing your career. We’d be there. Getting married, we’d be there. Being a grandparents to your children, we’d be there.
Life isn’t fair.
Not only would we be there for the accomplishments, but we’d be there for the hard times as well. Receiving poor grades? Your dad can surely empathize. We’d be there. Making choices you’d regret? We’d be there and love you. Making choices that your parents would cringe at? We’d be there. We’d help you understand that no matter what, you are ours, and our love will always, always be there.
Life isn’t fair.
Father, why is it not fair? Why does life have to be this way? Not just for us, but for so many others? Why is there so much suffering because of unfairness in this, at times, cruel world?
Well son, I know about unfairness. I once had a perfect child who suffered the greatest of unfairness.
He would become the King of Kings, yet he was born in a manger. It was not fair.
He would lose his earthly Father at a young age. It was not fair
He would lose a best friend and cousin who would be beheaded because of selfishness and pride of others. It was not fair.
Despites teaching kindness, love, and acceptance, he would be despised, rejected, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. It was not fair.
He would offer forgiveness and love, comfort and peace to anybody who was willing to turn to him. In return he would be mocked. He would be beaten, stripped, whipped, scourged. He would have a crown of thorns placed on his head and nails driven through his hands, wrists, and feet. He would hang on a cross and in the anguish of his soul he would cry out “Father, Father, why hast thou forsaken me” His own people would turn on him. They would release a murderer before they would release a Savior. It was not fair.
Perhaps most unfair would be that he would not sin, but in a garden he would suffer for all the sins the world has committed, is committing, and is yet to commit. This was the most unfair of all.
But let me teach you about what resulted because of unfairness.
Because of unfairness, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be like red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Wow, Father, that is unfair. I have always appreciated your perfect Son and what he suffered in that garden and on the cross. I am indeed grateful for that. I have even felt that cleansing and forgiving power in my life.
But right now I need strength. I need faith. I need comfort. Can your perfect Son do that?
Yes son, he can. He can strengthen and enable us to do more than we could do on our own. This is called his Grace, and it is just as real as his Forgiveness. Listen to the words of my servants, the prophets.
Elder Bednar has stated “Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints—for good men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better.”
OK Father, I will look to Christ for strength beyond my own.
But it still doesn’t make anything fair. Why is there so much suffering?
Well son, That is a difficult question to answer. Part of it is that suffering unites us. Have you ever felt as much love from others as you have in the past week?
No Father. We’ve been overwhelmed by it and grateful for it. People are good.
My son, listen to another one of my servants, who may help you understand this fairness a little bit. Elder Renlund said, “If life were truly fair, you and I would never be resurrected; you and I would never be able to stand clean before God. In this respect, I am grateful that life is not fair.
At the same time, I can emphatically state that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, ultimately, in the eternal scheme of things, there will be no unfairness. “All that is unfair about life can be made right.” Our present circumstances may not change, but through God’s compassion, kindness, and love, we will all receive more than we deserve, more than we can ever earn, and more than we can ever hope for. (Elder Redlund)
So, my son, do you see?
I think Father, let me make sure. You are saying that because life was unfair for your perfect son:
-Tessa will be resurrected
-Me and Amber and anybody who has ever died will be resurrected,
-We will see each other again
-Families can be together forever.
Christ experienced complete unfairness so in the end all could be made fair.
I think I understand in part why Christ experienced unfairness Father. But I’m still confused about why Amber, and I experienced the unfairness of being able to raise Tessa.
I don’t know if I can answer that question for you yet son. But keep trusting, keep putting faith in me, and I promise you’ll understand.
Even though I don’t understand the why I think I can see some possible results Father.
Great son. Will you express those to me?
Because of this unfairness I can be a more loving husband.
Because of this unfairness I can be a more loving father.
Because of this unfairness I can be a more loving teacher.
Because of this unfairness I can be a more loving friend, neighbor, and family member.
Father, I hope I can be more empathetic, understanding, kind, and loving because of this experience. I was sure going to love Tessa with all that I had. I don’t want to lose that love. Perhaps I can transfer that and share it with others. I think to start the easiest way I can do that is give more hugs and say I love you more often.
As your Father in Heaven I want you to know something. You are mine, and know matter what, I will always love you son.
Thank you for listening to me Father. You’re a great listener. I sure love you and will trust in your plan, even though I don’t see the whole picture yet.
Thank you for putting your faith in me son. As I said to another Son of mine, even your perfect older brother Jesus Christ, I know it won’t be easy, but I promise it will be worth it.
I hope you gained something from this as I did. I haven’t experienced having a stillborn but I learned a lot from these words.
For a post on infertility and miscarriage, check this post out.