This morning, right after I wrote my post about plans and control, I got a text from a friend about a family who had just lost their baby girl, named Grace, at three days old.
Because of what we have been through, I hear a lot of stories like this. Of course they all affect me, but the ones that affect me the most are either stories about little boys like Rip...or little girls named Grace. I think it's because parents who name their baby girls Grace are usually looking for just that.
Some of the definitions of grace are mercy, favor and goodwill...I know I wanted all of those things when we decided on Gracie's name. I know I prayed so hard for all of those things for Rip and Gracie, I know what it is like to feel like I was denied and I know what it feels like to receive in abundance.
The first thing I did this morning when I heard the news about this baby Grace was to squeeze my Grace so hard that she looked at me like I was crazy (this is a look I expect to receive a lot over the next 18 + years). The next thing I did was send a special prayer to my boy to look out for this newest angel who shares such a special name with his little sister.
There is a quote I love, "it is the nature of grace to fill the spaces that have been empty".
It literally makes me sick to think back to how empty I felt in those moments after Rip died. I thought I would feel that way forever.
Losing a child is the most painful thing I can imagine, no parent would ever choose to be a parent in that way. But as for feeling empty forever, feeling like your child is lost to you forever, I was wrong about that.
Rip changed me, he made me a mother. Even though my arms cannot physically hold him, I still carry Rip with me everywhere I go. He still fills those empty spaces when I need him the most.
If there is one thing that I could tell those grieving parents today, it is that Baby Grace, her life, will be there to fill the empty spaces when they need her the most. It's in her nature.