Finding Hope After Loss
By Kathy Wucherpfennig


My life changed forever the day I learned that our baby died. Since then I have learned of others also grieving a loss, and I pray that through sharing my experiences others will find hope.

My Story
After trying to conceive for years we were very excited about our pregnancy and we loved our little girl, Kristine, very much. Two weeks before the due date I questioned feeling movement so my husband, two daughters (then ages 5&8) and I went to the hospital to have Kristine, monitored. We watched the nurse's futile attempts to find a heartbeat. Ultrasound equipment was brought in and I saw a still image of Kristine on the screen. I heard someone say, "There's the heart…I am sorry…your baby has passed away."

I felt as if I could explode. I jumped up, ran to the bathroom and vomited.
Anger, bitterness, confusion and emotions too strong for words rushed over me. I desperately wanted Kristine back to tell her how much I loved her and that I was sorry I couldn't take better care of her. It was Father's Day (1997) and my focus changed from earthly to heavenly as I called out to God for help. We are so grateful for the Christians who prayed and offered words of comfort, including the nurse who brought a CD with the song "Visitor from Heaven" which we played during the delivery.

Words cannot describe the intense pain I experienced while holding Kristine knowing it would be the last time, in seeing her body taken away, and watching her casket lowered into the ground. The finality of each act seemed more than I could bear. Stricken with the worst grief I had ever known, I wondered how a heart so broken could still beat. I felt I had failed my baby, my family, and myself.

After a memorial service life went on, and I struggled to make it through each day. I searched for answers as to the time and cause of Kristine's death so I could get past feeling responsible, but even after an autopsy there were none. We had moved from Minnesota to Colorado the year before Kristine died. Missing close family, friends and that which I had known and loved for nearly 30 years was painful. Then grieving the loss of Kristine I became overwhelmed and depressed.


My Strength
I sought God from deep within my innermost being. I prayed, studied the Bible, sought godly counsel, read a lot and expressed myself through writing. Broken as I was, I truly recognized my need for God. He has been my ultimate source of strength. Had I not been humbled to this place, I doubt I would know God as I do today. God has worked within my spirit to develop a deeper love for Him and different perspective that has enriched my life.

I find strength in focusing on who God is instead of what has happened to me. Worship is medicine to my soul. My spirits are lifted when I sing praise choruses and play them on the piano. I continue to pray and fill my mind with God's truths throughout each day. I recognize my perspective is limited, and accept that God's ways are beyond my own. I never got answers to the questions as to how and why Kristine died, but I now recognize a more important question "How can I best live within God's will?"

Healing comes as I recognize that my pain stems from unfulfilled dreams. I expected Kristine to live, and I expected that I would live close to family and friends. God never promised either one of those, but He did promise that he would be with me through whatever happened. I walk the mountains as well as the valleys with my Heavenly Father. At times God needs to carry me, and it is in these times that I experience the strength and security of His arms.


My Hope
I have hope knowing the pain of this world is temporary. Upon my death or the return of Jesus, whichever happens first, I will enter heaven. Then I will spend eternity in a perfect place in the very presence of my Heavenly Father. The glories of heaven will outshine anything I have ever known. Knowing Kristine is in heaven, spared from the pain of this world, and guaranteed eternal joy brings comfort beyond measure.

I have hope knowing Kristine's life has purpose. God has used pain to help me become more compassionate and focused in living in light of eternity. I now have a greater desire for others to know God personally and spend eternity in heaven. God sacrificed His only son to death on a cross so that we can receive forgiveness for our sins. Those who believe and accept Jesus Christ as Savior are promised eternal life in heaven. Jesus is the only way!

Having lost a daughter at a young age, it is clear that this life is short and I am not in control. The only secure option is to live this life for God. I believe we are held accountable for what we do in this life, and I look forward to receiving my rewards for faithful devotion and service to my Heavenly Father. My faith has been tested, yet I continue to trust God and live for Him.

I deeply miss Kristine and the life I knew before we moved but I have hope. With joyful anticipation I look forward to the day I join Kristine and other loved ones in heaven in the very presence of God! Then I will experience ultimate joy that will last forever. "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal." (II Corinthians 4:18)

My prayer is that you will find strength and hope in light of eternity, more fully knowing God and His will for your life.
With Love in Christ,
Kathy Wucherpfennig

 

Here are some ideas for memorializing the life of a child:
Give out memorial cards, with writing and possibly a photo.
Keep a memory album or box.
Wear a ring or charm representing your child, consider the child's birthstone. You may want to wear a family ring that has the baby's stone along with other family members' stones
Visit the cemetery or other memorial site, possibly decorating with flowers and/or seasonal items.
Let helium balloons go.
Display photos of the loved one, tombstone, or memorial garden. They may or may not include people. If needed, photos can be touched up at a professional lab.
Commission an artist to draw or paint a picture.
Hang a picture that is symbolic of your child.
Dry/display flowers to represent the loved one (consider representing along with other family members in an arrangement).
Tend a garden and/or plant a tree.
Have a rock or plaque engraved.
Write in honor of your child (with our without its publication).
Give to a charitable cause in your child's name.
Set up a memorial fund through an organization.

Here are some resources I find helpful:
The Bible…God's word is rich with great truths and comfort
The Worst Loss (Barbara Rosof)…secular but very enlightening
Mourning Song (Joyce Landorf Heatherley)
I'll Hold You in Heaven (Jack Hayford)
Empty Arms (Pam Vredevelt)
A Silent Sorrow (Ingrid Kohn and Perry-Lynn Moffitt)
When Pregnancy Fails: Families Coping with Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death (Susan Borg and Judith Lasker)
One Minute After You Die (Erwin Lutzer)
The Glory of Heaven (John MacArthur)
Vision of His Glory (Anne Graham Lotz)
Death and the Life After (Billy Graham)
A Grace Disguised (Gerald Sittser)

www.angelsinheaven.org
www.aplacetoremember.com
www.epm.org (access eternity)
www.geocities.com/heartland/flats/1449/index/html
www.nationalshareoffice.com
SHARE is a national organization that provides support through education and various resources including newsletters (phone # 1-800-821-6819).