Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Box Lurking Behind the Door

I am having a hard day. I woke up with a fog surrounding me. I couldn't put my finger on what it was, but I knew it was going to be a hard day. (It may have had something to do with the fact that I have not slept a full night in DAYS because my boys keep taking turns having "nightmares" and though they are wonderful to cuddle with, sleeping with them is like sleeping with a violent octopus!) I digress.

So, my heart heavy, I got up and began the day. I prepared breakfast for the boys but I haven't been able to shake the immense heaviness and sadness I am feeling. It is kind of interesting because just yesterday I was sharing at Bible study how at peace I am about this pregnancy and how God is pouring his grace upon me and I am enjoying the gifts he has given.

When I get sad or anxious I tend to clean. I don't mean pick up a bit, I mean scrub with fury. I mean I begin throwing things away. So, I decided I would opt for that method of therapy today and I began on our bedroom which is ALWAYS the biggest disaster in the house. As I was moving things to sweep, I saw it. It is always there, I walk by it every day, but I typically walk right past without a second thought. Today it was glaring at me. A cardboard box hiding behind our bedroom door. It was overflowing and beckoning me. I grabbed the box and put it on the bed. I began to pull all of the things out of the box. A lock of strawberry blonde hair, tiny perfect footprints, endless cards, photos, newspaper clippings, it is Asher's box. I ran my fingers over his footprints. Tears began to flow.

He doesn't have a room in our house filled with his things. He has a box. Everything tangible that reminds us of Asher all fits into a small cardboard box. It doesn't seem right. it doesn't make sense. I looked through his memory book where I had written all of the details of his time with us. Now, I must also admit that Asher also has a bag, it is filled with his blankets, hats, and his outfit he wore, along with stuffed animals we took his picture with. I have NEVER opened the bag. It is a white plastic bag with the hospital logo on it. It hangs in my closet, but I cannot bring myself to open it. I know that opening that bag will unleash emotions I am just not ready to deal with and so it will remain sealed until I am ready. I still have NOT opened Isaac's bag so I do not expect this one will be opened anytime soon either.

As I continued to look through the contents of the box I found an ultrasound picture. It is dated November 20, 2007. That is ONE YEAR ago today. That is the date of our first appointment at the hospital in Pittsburgh. That is the date that our fears were confirmed. It is a date that I hope to never have to relive. We were told that our baby had "issues" and that a counselor would be in to discuss our options. I was 22 weeks pregnant. I heard our options and immediately became filled with rage. That moment when the words termination and my baby boy came into the same sentence was the only moment of my life that RAGE is the best word to describe how I felt. My heart hurts so deeply but I cannot imagine for ONE moment my life without any of my children. All of the hurt and anger began to well up in me again today.

How could ANYONE say that Asher's life didn't matter? Yet, statistics say that 90 percent of the time when such a birth defect is found that a parent will terminate the pregnancy. I feel that many moms are misinformed. Termination is often presented as the only REAL option. Families are not often supported by the medical community to carry a baby to term despite their "issues". This my friends is something we need to work on. Parents need to know there IS an option. Either way they will hurt. But by chosing LIFE they are chosing to give it to God and when he writes the story amazing things happen through suffering.

Each of my children has been given to me by God. Each of them is a special gift. I have been blessed FIVE times now and I am so grateful for each of the lives God has trusted me with. They each matter. They matter to us, and they matter to God. Children are all a gift. Not just some, not just the ones the world sees as perfect. ALL children.

That box lurking behind the bedroom door reminded me of where we stood on this date last year. I am thankful for that box and thankful for the life represented by that box. Though the tangible memories of Asher's life can be held in that box, the impact he has had cannot.


mrsrubly said...

my heart is heavy with you today! i am praying for sweet friend!

Mrs. Angel Ghastin said...


My thoughts and prayers are with you. It's amazing that another life is growing inside of you right now. How can that not be exciting? You should be overwhelmed with love and hope. All of your children are blessings, not only to you and your family but to the other people you have shared them with. Thank you for that. May God bless you and your family. Though I'm sure there are times of uncertainty, remember the message your received many months ago, "Be Still and know that I am God." I have faith that you will bring home a precious gift to your family. I'm thinking of you.

Ghastin Family

Rachel said...

Praying for your heart today. May you feel His peace and have a calmness about where God has brought you and where He is yet to bring. May you continue to feel full of Hope and peace as you anticipate this new little miracle growing inside of you.
Hugs and Prayers
Rachel in PA

Michelle said...

I think of and pray for you so often... I can't imagine how hard some days must be just to be in the moment without two of your children on this earth. Somedays I feel like I repeat myself to you... I just pray for God to fill your needs and continue to give you grace through each time of year. Isaac and Asher are important. I agree, more need to know of the blessing of leaving things in Gods plan. I am praying for your heart as you feel this new life grow within you. You are loved!

Shannon said...

I love you, Kristy. Thanks for always, always putting your heart so out in the open for us. I do hate that you're hurting right now. But I'm thankful that you know where to go with that hurt. I'm praying that as you have ventured into that box today...that He will begin to brighten your day with the joy that your little has brought you. He IS so special and definitely a gift. love, Shann

Mrs B said...

I could not agree with you more. Life does matter. You are such a courageous woman! May God bless you and use your tragedies to help others, as they are helping me. Thank you for your real words...

Nicole O'Dell said...

Blessings and comfort for you today.

Melanie said...

Thanks for sharing, Kristy.
(I want to respond and have a few ideas mulling around in my head, but need time to verbalize...)

Christa @ Quintooples said...

I can't even imagine. (((hugs)))
I have no words.

I have an ultrasound photo that is in Reagan's baby book. It's of her and her twin sister. I look at it all the time, and I wonder about the what if's. I have had 6 miscarriages total, but Reagan's twin has been the hardest. Anyway, I lost her sister at 13 weeks...and the memories of that day are still fresh.

Josh and I often think of how exciting it will be to meet her someday, and while I no longer feel grief...I am very anxious to go home to see my other children. I can't wait to meet them all.

My imagination can't take me to the place where I could hold them first, and then loose them. My heart shatters just thinking about the gravity of your loss.

Please know that you are always in my prayers. Have you read the book, "Heaven"??? If not I HIGHLY recommend that you do. :)

Lauren said...

Isaac and Asher will always matter. Thinking of you today and send extra prayers for you and this pregnancy.

Laurie in Ca. said...

I love your heart and am praying for you Kristy. I see God working in your life every time you post here. Today, he led you to Asher's box, sweet and tender hurt. I see Him there with you all the time. And I agree 100% that all children are Gods gifts to us and the world. A dear friend of mine is burying her new baby girl today. She was given the same option, terminate, as her heart and many other organs were growing outside of her little body. Hard decision made to carry her to term, still handing her to Jesus, still a family left with shattered hearts. Choosing Gods way is not easy, but He promises to always walk with us, grow us, and see us through. My prayer is that more options are presented to mothers, allowing them to see the whole blessing in the life they carry. It still hurts in the end, but one is the hurt of loving and hoping. The other may get tangled with guilt and regret and many what ifs. I met you through Asher, and he softened my heart and taught me so much about gifts. He matters much to me. Isaac too, now that you have shared about him. I pray for this new life you carry, that Gods plan is for health and joy. Praying for your heart to be able to balance in the months ahead as you continue working your way through. I love you.

Laurie in Ca.

Laura said...

Praying for you today. So good to be able to just sit and look through the box...I am sorry it is this way. Sending love to you.

The Pittsburgh Hites said...

Isn't it so odd that a year has past already, the journey that God has given you in that time frame. Remember, above all, no matter how short his beautiful little life was, it was in and of itself a miracle. What you have done with his story, and Isaac's, is a great and powerful thing. I know it's hard, it's supposed to, otherwise it wouldn't be worth doing. We love you, and will be beside you every step of the way with this new one, just like we have been before...
Oh and by the way, Maggie says lets see if she gets another one right!!
Hugs and prayers from too far away!!

Unknown said...

Sorry to hear you are having a rough day! Lack of sleep is horrible....especially when you are pregnant...and EXTRA tired anyhow!

Know that we are thinking of you and your family and praying for you each day.

Val :)

bri said...

there are tears here on earth. But never again will they be in heaven!

I have 3 of those boxes. I hate seeing them. Maybe I am a bad mother. But I feel so betrayed, and so forgotten when I see those boxes. I know my children are "in" those boxes. Pictures (only blurry ones from the hospital staff, nobody came and took pictures for us), footprints and their little bracelets as well as a cap and "shirt". and some ultrasound pictures and videos. I think it hurts worse when you know of people mistreating their children and or pregnancies (because we foster them now) and all you have is a box of memories. WHY?! It is so not fair. I have gone through the boxes time and time again feeling the soft fabric of the clothing they never wore or looking at the pictures of the blurry baby in the nurses arms in the NICU room (I guess). I do know that God was with me there and I know He is the only one that has brought me this far. I am grateful for the blessing He has given us in Bear and am still holding on to the hem of His garment to get me through another day! I am loving the little boy we call our son but it is easy to miss the ones you could not bring home.

Thinking of you and praying today would get easier and more joyful. Blessings

Rob and Amy said...

Something in your post stuck out at me. You mentioned the fact that Asher's things that tell his story, or remind you of him are able to fit into a box or plastic bag. In all reality- Asher's story has no containable walls. That little boy (both of your boys living in glory) have no boundaries where their story has reached. How amazing is that? To the ends of the Earth, to the roads paved in gold..their story reaches everywhere.

It made me think...what about me? What about my story?? You see...I haven't near as many lives. My things COULD probably have boundaries and walls. They could be kept within a room.

But your boys? Their stories have no boundaries.

And for that, I want to thank you so much for continuing to share.

Continuing to life your entire family up in prayer....

Devin said...

I feel like I want to write something encouraging. Really, I do. I want to try to help you feel better.

But, truly, as I have now sat in front of this comment box for several minutes, I must say that I am sorry--because I am just not coming up with any words to say to encourage you.

I am just sad with you today. I am so sad--and I am so sorry that Asher isn't there with you right now. I am sorry that all you have is a box.

I know God is good, but I am still sorry for the pain you are enduring.

Crying much with you today, Kristy. It's a hard day for both of us.

Jason and Vanessa said...

Thank you so much for writing that post. On November 11 I delivered conjoined twin girls Melody Joy and Madison Hope they lived for an hour. The first time we went to see the specialist he told us "if we chose to continue with the pregnancy" I quickly told him that there was no choice we would be carrying these babies to term. Our girls were born at 32 weeks and only lived for an hour but we were so thankful for the hour that the Lord gave us with our babies. I wish there was a way doctors could be retrained so that as soon as something was wrong abortion wasn't the first thing they thought of. The doctor told us that I would most likely have a miscarriage because their heart would give out. That didn't happen either. We were also told that one of our babies might not have lungs but they both came out breathing. Anyway I know how real the pain your feeling is we also have a small box that holds all of Melody and Madison's stuff in it. It is very hard to lose a child but the Lord has been so good to us during this time in our lives. I will be praying that the Lord would continue to heal your heart. Our blog address is
Please feel free to email me also I would love to talk to a Mom who is going through what I am. Well kinda you know what I mean.


zanesmommy said...

It is so amazing how God can speak to us. Praying for you to have stregth today.

MomMom said...

Thank you for sharing this!

sumi said...

What a beautiful post. I have so much respect for you and all of our friends who chose to love and cherish their babies for as long as God would give them breath. Like Jesus said to Martha: Mary has chosen that good part...

You are all Marys, who have chosen to put things in perspective and sit at the feet of Jesus regardless of the repercussions.

I could so relate to your feelings about opening Ashers' bag. Jenna's suitcase is still stuffed in my closet. Right at the bottom of it, is her ballet outfit and those cutesie ballet shoes that I was so excited to get her for Christmas last year.

I have not opened that suitcase. I can't bring myself to do it either.

Hugs, Kristy. My heart is with you.

Corie said...

I am thinking of you. Hard day and yet providental. Hard to have everything in a box for 2 of your children and yet though small their lives have had a ripple effect on so many.

I continue to pray for the baby inside. Praying for your heart and axiousness. They still creep up on me also...seems to always follow a good day. Gods reminder to cling to Him

Just Me said...

"Children are all a gift. Not just some, not just the ones the world sees as perfect. ALL children."

I completely agree, and am so blessed that God has given me an opportunity to meet (and work with) so MANY children the world does not see as "perfect"...they are the ones who have taught me the most.

Thank you for sharing this...

connie said...

Kristy, you are on my mind so much these days. I am praying that this pregnancy brings you a little healing, but sadly, with healing, comes more awareness of the awful wounds. I realize these are just words, and words are so useless, sometimes, but I am so sorry that not all of your boys are in your home. I am sorry that the sense of loss is so acute sometimes. love, connie

Melissa Dovel said...


Oh the road that I have reciently traveled and yet my heart is led to continue to pray for you. For that I am greatful. I pray for you as I know its not just one day that the box lurking behind the door brings a flood of memories. I pray for you to continue to have peace. I pray for this child to bring forth a joy filled pregnancy. No worries! I also feel a peace that this baby will bring a sweet suprise to your family. Praying for your days of peace and joy- Your hard days I pray that the Lord gives great measure of favor to you for finding the greatness of God in them. As always your faithfulness, obiedience and testimony shine through with the Love of Christ.

Sisters in the Only I AM

Unknown said...

You don't know me, but I thank you for your honesty.

I have a little Asher, and my daughter Lucy and I are praying for your Asher's little brother or sister nightly. She loves it, I think, because she has a brother named Asher so she is tickled that you have one, too!

It is such an honor to be able to watch you carry on Asher and Isaac's legacies so beautifully.

Lucy and her twin both had the same genetic defects. Her twin died at 16 weeks in utero and though it was 4 years ago, I think about him so often. I am so inspired by your faith in our God and your willingness to allow Him to use you and mold you.

I know pregnancy is NOT easy for you.

Thank you for sharing your journey!

Howard said...

on a lighter note, its comforting to know that even though Asher's not in the house, his stuff is cluttering in corners just like ben and luke. something we normally complain about, but in this case appreciate.

Gram said...

kristy, when i read of some of the moms who have experienced tragic losses in the last year who are now delivering healthy babies, i feel joy for them. but my very next thought is of YOU! i know you must be feeling sadness and frustration that you would have to suffer through such a tragedy not once but twice. i know your heart is joyful for them but also hurting. please, please know that all of us think of and pray for you daily and your obedience to Him and determination to muddle through is an inspiration to us. we love you and pray for miraculous blessings for you and your sweet family. jan

Anonymous said...

I was a mom that wasn't given "the options" and it breaks my heart, I found out Baby James condition on Friday and was in the hospital being induced on Saturday. I want to scream sometimes when I think why didn't someone tell me to slow down, breath and THINK. I love your blog I feel your heartache.

Jaime said...

My heart breaks with you. We too chose life, when we heard that our baby girl wouldn't survive. It was an easy choice, but not an easy road. But we can rest in the fact that we gave our baby every chance we could and she is now resting in her Father's arms. I too, will never forget when the doctor "offered" termination. It was never an option in our minds and I am so thankful for that. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

the voice of melody said...

What a touching post. I'm teary-eyed just reading it and I don't even know you!

May God bless you and your family, may He give you strength, peace, hope and love each and every day.