By Alaina Hiatt
Through the night, the nurses brought us a keepsake box with a birthstone necklace, a baby-powder scented cape and blanket that were Hope’s size, and a few other momentos. They also gave us a “Certificate of Life” which they had taken the time to put Hope’s handprints on. We were touched by their thoughtfulness. We also gave the hospital permission to take pictures of her, should we want them someday.
The next morning, we were thrilled to be leaving the hospital and yesterday behind, though it filled us with such sadness to know we were leaving Hope behind.
The next few days brought quite a bit of activity as we planned Hope’s memorial service, looked for an angel to leave at the cemetery, looked for non-maternity clothes to wear to the service and designing Hope’s birth announcements.
Friday morning, July 18, 2003, dawned a beautiful summer day—part of me was thrilled knowing that the graveside service would have clear weather, but part of me couldn’t understand how the sky was not gray with a slow and steady rain falling.
I was already realizing that life marched on as though nothing had happened, though I knew my life would never be the same again.
We had chosen to have an intimate graveside service attended only by our immediate family and friends because we knew we couldn’t handle a visitation or church service—nothing we were living was normal and we wanted to remember Hope our own way.
Both our pastor and my Uncle (a pastor) spoke at the graveside and it was an absolutely beautiful service. My Uncle had his part of the service bound in a little book for me and I’d like to share part of it with you now.
We’ve come today to say goodbye to one we hardly knew. She was not with us long, but she was dearly loved and will be sorely missed. Kelly and Alaina, her loss is especially painful for you. But from the first day we knew she would be coming we loved her too, because we love you. In this family, babies are always “our babies.”
You named her well. Hope Elizabeth. Hope presented to God. From the first moment you knew she was coming, through the shock and pain of the initial diagnosis and all along the painful road that brings us here today, you were filled with hope. Hope that the diagnosis was wrong. Hope that somehow there would be a miracle that would bring her safe and whole into this world and your arms. Those things were not to be.
But you hoped for other things. We all hoped and prayed that God would strengthen you and give you wisdom. He has. We hoped that God would bring you comfort, peace, and rest in his loving arms. He will.
Today is not the end of our hope. Indeed in a very special way,
it is the beginning of a Journey of Hope.
Though this journey is not one that I would have chosen for myself, I know I’m not alone as I walk this path. In a card that we received from a friend is a quote which can be found on Hope’s headstone today:
Hope is waiting with expectation for the good and even miraculous
things that God will unfold.
Next week we will conclude Hope’s story, although that isn’t entirely true. Hope’s life and death has touched many other lives and will continue to do so. Next week find out how God used all of this for good, to bring Himself glory. The enemy could have used this story to tear down Kelly and Alaina’s faith, that did not happen.
What’s your Genesis 5020? We want you to share your story. It doesn’t have to be long (it can be), it can be a short one week blurb. What is something in your life that the enemy could have used to pull you away from God, to question your faith, but God used it to make you stronger and to draw you closer to Him? It could be anything you know God has done in your life. Share your story with us: 5020genesisstories(at)gmail(dot)com.