When I am asked, "How many children do you have?" I don't know how to respond. "Three," I answer, while I finish the sentence in my head, "...here with me and one in heaven." I will never forget my daughter, even if the only life she experienced was in the womb. Rachel is always with me. As beautiful as she was at birth and at death, those images are not what flutter through my mind. I imagine her dancing with her sister. I envision her dark curls. I embrace her, though she's not physically here. Rachel died at birth and age stopped counting, but to me she's almost 6.
Rachel lived in me. Her heart beat loud and strong while she stayed with me. But, she left my body, and our hearts no longer beat in harmony. She was here. Then she was gone.
Losing Rachel evoked desperate emotions. "May the day of my birth perish...That day -- may it turn to darkness...May darkness and deep shadow claim it once more; may a cloud settle over it; may blackness overwhelm its light. That night -- may thick darkness seize it, may it not be included among the days of the year nor be entered in any of the months...for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me to hide trouble from my eyes" (Job 3:3-10). The pain was so intense it would be better never to exist at all than to experience such heartbreak.
Though I lingered awhile in the darkness, I could not wallow forever in my misery. I emerged from the pit despair plunged me into, and, "I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 4:2-3, emphasis mine). Rachel existed, but she did not live to "see the evil that is done under the sun". I know she is truly happy, because to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
From time to time, I gaze my affection upon memories of Rachel. She was here so briefly, they are but a few, so I hide those treasured trinkets in my heart. Often in regard to writing, I tell people I know it's a God thing when my writing goes a completely different direction than I planned. The same is true in life. I had plans for Rachel. Big ones! But God's plans were even bigger. Better than both is he who has not yet been! All Rachel has ever known is Glory. I rejoice in God's plan. Sure, I cry tears of sorrow sometimes, but I long for time without end when I'll join her in God's presence and see what she's always seen.