Aug 16

Answer This…

My mom’s best friend from high school works at a little clothing boutique. A girl walked in recently holding a baby in a car seat. She started talking to the girl and of course oohing over the sweet baby boy, and she asked her if it was her first child. The girl answered, “No, my firstborn is in heaven”. She went on to tell her story. My mom’s friend shared with her about our Mary Anna, and of course called my mom immediately to tell her about the conversation.

As my mom told me the story it caused me to stop and think how I would answer that question in the future. If someone asks, “Do you have children” or eventually, “Is this your first child”, how would I answer that. I thought the girls answer was so elegant and raw, “No, my firstborn is in heaven.” I want to have the courage to answer that way.

We are at the beach right now, and this morning Dan and I went on a little stroll before the rain came in. I started telling him the same story, because I hadn’t had a chance to yet. He told me about a conversation that he had at a vet conference recently, where a professor asked him if he had any children. He paused and in the situation did not know how to respond. It was so soon, and so he just quietly said, “no”. Throughout the rest of his conversation with this professor he kept bursting to tell him about Mary Anna, but he didn’t know how.

Dan and I both agreed that from now on that we would always say, no matter what the audience is, that “yes, we have a baby girl and she is in heaven”. As we finished our walk and the rain started slowly coming down I could not help but wonder if she heard the same thunder rolls that I did. It was so symbolic of our walk right now. As we begin to Keep Walking and make a step forward, the rain is always there slowly coming down to remind us that even though we are walking, we are still in the storm.

  • Allison

    Kari, I have been following your story, and I am so heavy for you and Dan and the loss of your precious baby girl. You are so brave to write about it. This post in particular really stood out to me. After our dad died I felt like I was always nervous to meet someone new, who didn’t know our story, and have them ask, “what does your dad do?” I don’t know why, but I got this question on a regular basis for years and it always made me so uncomfortable. I knew people wouldn’t know how to respond when I said he had died, but I felt strange the few times that I answered the question with his previous vocation. And while I don’t think there is any wrong way to handle it, I think answering that your firstborn is in heaven is very honest and brave and honors her life. I think it’s such a beautiful answer. I am praying for you as you figure out how to keep walking this life without her. Praying that the One who holds our stories holds you very close.
    Allison (practically a stranger, Steph’s sister :))