Saying good bye. Sometimes it happens when you least expect it.
In April of 2011, my sweet friend Heather said good-bye, way too early, to her 20 year old brother Brandon. He had a beautiful full life ahead of him, but it was painfully and quickly ripped short without notice. That day, she said goodbye to her best friend. She said good bye to the person she’d had adventures with, the person who knew her hopes and dreams. She said goodbye to plans of growing old together with families of their own. She said goodbye to the future uncle of her children. In a single moment, she lost it all.
At the time, I worked with Heather, both of us teachers. I watched her walk through the devastation of losing Brandon, but even more than that, as time passed, I watched her make something incredibly beautiful out of her loss. She honored him by advocating for his life and for the lives of many others affected by the disease that stole him from her. She was brave and strong. And courageous. And she made his life count. She continues to make his life count.
After his death, she slowly began to pick up the pieces: but little did she know that she’d be faced with many more goodbyes in the years to come. In 2014 she married her best friend Ryan (their story is AMAZING, childhood friends, the whole works!!) and they began their lives together. However, as they attempted to start a family, they quickly learned it wasn’t going to be as easy as they thought it would be. In October of 2015, they said goodbye to their first baby. In August of 2017, they said goodbye to their fifth. Five miscarriages, five beautiful lives they would never see on this side of heaven.
They were at rock bottom. They began to lose hope. But, God was getting ready to write a page in their story that no one saw coming. A few months later, Heather found herself staring at a positive pregnancy test. A MIRACULOUS positive pregnancy test. But once again, she found herself protecting her heart, just waiting for another loss. They had been down this road before, and they most likely knew how it would end. They went to their first appointment with the doctor…but this time, things were different. Her levels were high. Her body was accepting this pregnancy. Somehow, with no explanation. A few days later, they went in for their first ultrasound. And that’s when they heard it…
TWO answers to prayer.
No medical procedures. No interventions. No explanation for the unexplainable. In fact, after their losses, all signs pointed to this being yet another tragedy in their lives. But God had other plans. BIG ones.
They’ve said goodbye to five sweet babies, but through the grace of God, and nothing other than that, they’ll now say hello to TWO babies. Their two little miracles. Their two SURPRISES (did I mention they don’t know what they’re having?!?!?!). And their hearts are full.
I’ve shot their engagement and wedding pictures, but these were by far my favorite. My cup overflows at the goodness of God in their lives and the way He has taken their greatest pain and turned it into JOY. These little miracles will grow up knowing the story of how they came to be, how they came to heal what was broken, how they came to restore. Their lives are already so beautiful, and I can’t wait to meet them, and tell them all about how greatly they are loved.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1:5