In April, 1996, my sister went through what is probably the most painful experience that a woman could ever have. She had already went through two miscarriages (one with twins), and she was now going into her seventh month of another pregnancy. She was anxiously awaiting the arrival of her little girl, who she had chosen to name Dakota. Yet, once again she miscarried. We were all heartbroken. Being part of a preacher's family, you become accustomed to dealing with all sorts of things, but nothing breaks your heart more than when it's your family going through a trial. Nothing has broken my heart more than having to face my sister knowing that she'll never be able to hold her beautiful daughter in her arms. What do you say? What kind of hope do you offer. You know what the scriptures say, but at that time, in that moment, you can't remember anything to offer encouragement. I found the best thing to do is just be there. Offer comfort when you can, a shoulder to cry on when it's needed, and eventually the storm will pass and the clouds will lift. You never fully get over going through something like this. Even though my sister has since been blessed with three beautiful children (one that looked exactly like Dakota when she was born), I can almost guarantee that she still thinks of that beautiful baby that we held in our arms, just for a few minutes, on a bright, sunny April day.
After my sister lost Dakota she heard of something that our local hospitals do for women and families that face this kind of tragedy. The first Saturday of October they have a Walk to Remember in our town's zoo. They have a minister or priest that says a few words, and you are able to read a poem or share something about your baby with the group. A few years after losing Dakota, my sister asked me to write a poem in her memory. It took me almost 9 years to do this. I admit I never even started or attempted to start to write something. I finally decided to just sit down and try to put some words down. This was in 2007, right before the Walk to Remember in October. This was the hardest thing I've ever written, but I think it made my sister happy. She read it a few weeks after I wrote it, at the zoo on the day that we walked to remember those little angels that only come into our life for a brief, fleeting moment and left a footprint on our hearts forever.
One wonderful moment in time you belonged to me.
You were a part of my life, a part of this world.
Then suddenly, too quickly, you were taken away.
I didn’t have time to prepare for your departure.
I had no idea that it was so near. I didn’t want to let you go.
One moment, you were there, so anxious and full of life.
Then, in the next moment, in an instant, all was still.
I never knew there could be a pain as great as the pain I felt when I lost you.
You were my joy, my heart…you are a part of me.
I could not comprehend why God would take you from this life…from me.
I had so many questions but never the courage to ask them.
I know that God has a purpose for everything in this life.
And He has a plan for everyone.
And in one fleeting moment He called your name, and set your spirit free.
He took you by the hand and led you through Heaven’s gates.
He whispered your name as He held you in His arms and welcomed you home.
And as I look towards the Heavens
I can almost see your smile and hear your sweet voice.
And I smile, too, for I know that one sweet day I’ll see your face.
And, as I meet you at Heaven’s gates, all my tears will fade away. One sweet day…