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Goodbye

May 17, 2019

NOTE: This guest post was written by my wife, Carissa, as we prepare to leave Boston and move to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We lost our daughter, Ruby Kate, at 18 weeks of pregnancy in March, 2016. She is buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Natick, MA.

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cemetery cropped

May 9, 2019

Today is beautiful. As I sit here at Ruby’s grave, the birds are singing, the sun is bright and warm, the slight breeze brushes my cheek, the trees have exploded with flowers. Yet in the beauty of life that is bursting all around me I am surrounded by death. And herein lies an ironic truth about the world in which we live. Surrounded by a beautiful glimpse of life when it was first born in perfection, yet clouded by the shadow of death and sin. And so as I sit in the reality of this paradox–my baby girl’s broken body in the ground at my feet as the colors and sounds of life that spring brings explode around me–I realize that, in this meantime we live in, goodbyes are part of the brokenness we must bear. And I am being asked to say goodbye again.

ruby's tree 3Not to Ruby herself, my sweet baby girl, who is being securely held in the arms of Jesus. That goodbye has already been said. But to the places around me that sing her name. The places where these mommy hands of mine can still be a mommy of sorts–caring for them, sitting at them, touching them. The Ruby tree in our yard that we planted for her and that erupts with ruby-red flowers each spring. This stone inscribed with her name and verses of hope–Ruby’s special place–where we come to remember, long for Jesus, and leave little gifts of beauty behind. This stone that I leave a Mommy kiss on every time I come (and my kids know that Mommy kisses don’t come off-ever!:)). And so I must say goodbye to all of the tangible things–what I can see, touch, and smell–that give me a small glimpse of my beautiful baby girl, my Ruby Kate.

And as I weep again and long for Jesus to come and make all things right, because of Him I can say goodbye with hope. Knowing that my faith in Jesus and the promises that He gives are not always seen, not always felt, not always heard, but always sure. I can leave these places with much weeping, but with great hope that all of this death will finally be brought to life. True, eternal, perfect life. A life that one day I will see, touch, and hear. And part of that life will be the sweet face of my baby girl (and the sweet faces of our other two babies we never held) whose face I will see and touch and whose sweet voice I will hear.

It’s really the same for all of our goodbyes this side of heaven. We weep because we’ve shared life and been loved. But we weep with hope that no “gospel goodbye” is forever, because we have the assurance of the hope of eternal life through faith in Jesus. Through Him we can trust that any earthly goodbye is temporal and we will once again see one another–if not this side of New Creation, then when we are perfectly rejoicing in the presence of our Savior who defeated the reality of eternal goodbyes for us, and whose omnipresence gives us assurance that though we may say goodbye for a time, Jesus never will. He is with all of us, always. In that hope I am eternally thankful, through the tears. And so I will let Him bear my sorrow, leaning into Him with steadfast hope and say goodbye to one of the sweetest parts of my heart.

Mommy loves you, baby girl!

ruby's stone

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2019 10:52 pm

    This is beautiful, Carissa. It brought tears to my eyes, yet hope to my heart. May the Lord bless you all in your next phase of ministry and encourage and strengthen your hearts. We miss you all!

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