21 October 2010

Charlotte's Eulogy

Written by Heather Crane

"Children are such a blessing from the Lord! And that is part of the reason that we gather with such heavy hearts today to remember Charlotte Rose Douglas.

Julie and Grant wanted another child. They desired another child in their family. They already had 3 children, so they knew that raising children wasn't easy. They knew about the sleepless nights and the difficult pregnancies and the disciplining and the nappy changes and the mess and the runny noses and the tantrums and all the tears. But they also knew about the joys. They knew about the relief after coming through a sickness, and the hugs and sticky kisses, and the first steps and the first word, the first day of school and the praying together and the laughing together. The belly laughs at watching a one year old learn to walk, or the laughs when you tickle a two year old again and again and they keep on asking for more. They are very aware that life is full of the sweet, as well as the sour, and yet they desired another child.

I remember the day when they told us they  were expecting. It was a hot, sunny Sunday afternoon and we were having a picnic down at the foreshore. We laughed and acted silly (as usual), and then a slight lull in the conversation came... a lull full of meaning because Julie and Grant were sitting opposite us with big goofy grins on their faces. Those goofy grins usually mean one thing, so out it came.... YES, they were pregnant!! We screamed and hugged and congratulated and stood there in disbelief! Wow, another Douglas in the world! The amazing wonder at it all... the joy!! Truly, this may sound cheesy, but it's true... it was an amazing feeling just to know that these guys were going to be growing their family very soon and that their lives would change forever as they welcomed in another little one. What a blessing! What a responsibility, yes, but this was a time to celebrate! This was great news and we felt privileged that they would share it with us. For the rest of the day everything now was talked about through the grid that these guys were at the beginning of a new adventure! There were jokes and laughter and talk about getting a bigger car, and house (though they had just moved into a bigger one). It was an exciting time and they soooo wanted this baby. Grant especially was 'fired up' about his growing family! It was an exciting time of life.

Grant and Julie only had a couple of months of care free enjoyment. In December, Julie had appointments with her caring specialist for him to check things out as she had had difficult pregnancies before. After one particular appointment they were called with disturbing news. They didn't know exactly what was wrong, but something had been picked up in all the tests and their doctor was now determining just what was going on. When you are waiting for news... this sort of news... the minutes seem like days and for a few days in a row they learnt a little bit more and a little bit more about what their baby was facing. The picture was being laid out before them and it was not the picture that they had envisioned. Hadn't we all been jumping for joy and slapping each other's backs, just days before? The joy that they had been filled with was quickly slipping away, as the reality of the situation began to set in. And right before Christmas it was made very clear to them what they were facing: the very real probability that their precious baby, their wanted baby, their desired baby was not going to live.

So try and imagine that Christmas for them. They were reeling from such devastating news, and yet they also had three other little ones at home who were full of the Christmas spirit and were ready to celebrate. They had not yet told the children about the pregnancy, let alone the difficulties and so that holiday time was filled with all sorts of mixed emotions.

From here their whole world changed forever. They did their own research and found a whole network of other families worldwide who had faced the same difficulty. Of these babies that made it to full term, they  only lived anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. This was not what Julie and Grant had pictured at all, but they began to pray for time. They hoped to have even just a little time to meet their baby.

Through all of this they experienced also the normal side of pregnancy: the nausea, the cravings, the anticipation, the movements, the expanding waist, the doctors appointments, and the questioning eyes from others. By this stage, they would have normally told everyone that they were expecting, but what do they tell them now? What are they to say when they are still trying to understand it themselves? Energy is at a premium during these times and so slowly they had energy enough to share their pregnancy news, but understandably not enough to go into all the intricacies of the challenges they were facing. So because of this, it wasn't widely known that while they were expecting a baby, they were also expecting the loss of a child.
Imagine if you can, what it was like for them going through life with this knowledge. The physical signs showing that a baby is coming and the family soon to expand, but the facts saying that they would probably not bring their little one home.

During this time one thing that continually amazed me was the strength with which Julie and Grant have dealt with all of this. Of course they were devastated, but they didn't let their devastation overwhelm them. Of course they cried and despaired and at times felt like everything was hopeless, but still they also said things to me like the fact that they trusted God and that they knew they were not forsaken, they had God to hold onto through all of this....

So I will end as I started with saying that Charlotte Rose was a very desired, very wanted little girl. She will always be the precious 4th child of Julie and Grant and precious sister to Mikayla, Ethan and Caleb. She will be a precious grand-daughter, cousin and friend to all those who know and love Julie and Grant..."

Forever a part of us......

18 October 2010

Remembering You Always

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day began in America in 2002. The day has grown immensely since then and is now recognised worldwide. Thousands of candles are lit at 7pm around the world creating a continuous wave of light to remember and honour our little ones gone too soon.

Sunset Remembrance Ceremony
at Mullaloo Beach

A beautiful evening...

Releasing balloons - a symbol of our children

Throwing rose petals into the sea
as we remember...

Mementos on the Memory Table

Walking for SIDS - October 17th
Walking around Lake Monger

Receiving SIDS medallions

Feeding the birds after our walk

Remembering you Charlotte and loving you always...

14 October 2010

Half a Year Ago...

14th April 2010

"All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:16

 6 months ago I waved goodbye

I am standing on the seashore.
A ship spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
I stand watching her until she fades on the horizon,
and someone at my side says,
"She is gone."
Gone where?
The loss of sight is in me, not in her.
Just at that moment when someone says, "She is gone,"
there are others who are watching her coming.
Other voices take up the glad shout,
"Here she comes..."

~Henry Scott Holland~


"Joy in affliction is rooted in the hope of resurrection,
but our experience of suffering also deepens the root of that hope."

~John Piper~

  14/04/10 - 14/10/10

6 Months
Six months ago
A baby was born
My little girl.

Six months ago
I waved goodbye
As Jesus took her Home.

Six months ago
I walked the valley of death's shadow
Immense pain
Separated from her.

Six months ago
I chose to trust
In the One who desperately loves my little girl.


 He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning
or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.
He who was seated on the throne said,
"I am making everything new!"
Then He said, "Write this down,
for these words are trustworthy and true."
Revelation 21:4-5

01 October 2010

Our Tribute to You - Part 2

"Dear Lord, we thank you that You are a sovereign and all-knowing God
and today we thank you for the precious gift of Charlotte Rose.

Lord, little Charlotte is SO loved and while we do not understand why she could not stay longer,
we want to thank you for the incredible impact her life has made on ours.

Lord we acknowledge that Charlotte was not a mistake,
but that she has an extraordinary purpose.

We want to thank you that while You have taken Charlotte home to be with You,
we will continue to see the fruits of her purpose fulfilled..." (Opening Prayer - Janelle)

Sitting in Charlotte's memorial service, I feel detached, like I have
been partially anaesthetised. I can see and hear what is going on but I am unable to absorb the enormity of it all. If I did, I know the pain would be unbearable. So for now, I remain somewhat protected from the complete onslaught of reality.

The songs we chose to sing that morning were particularly significant to me during my pregnancy.  "How Great is Our God," reminded me of how all-powerful and all-knowing our God is, that our lives are in His hands and that His hands are trustworthy. It was comforting to remember that He was in control of our situation particularly when I felt so out of control.
The song 'Blessed Be Your Name' became my 'theme' song. It was inspired by the prayer Job prayed after he had lost ALL of his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, sons and daughters!

At this Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.
Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
"Naked I came from my
 mother's womb,
 and naked I will depart.
 The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
 may the name of the LORD be praised."
Job 1:20-21

His response was truly amazing. He worshipped! He truly believed that God was completely sovereign. What a challenge! The words to this song repeatedly ministered to my hurting heart.

(To listen to these songs return to the main page and scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

Our Pastor based his message on an article that I had read in a Billy Graham 'Decision' magazine. The article was entitled 'Is God Really in Control?' The topic was so relevant, so personal. This question often arises out of all kinds of tragedy... divorce, miscarriage, illness, physical infirmity, loneliness, injustice, racism, cancer, rejection, famine, war, bankruptcy, Tsunami 04, September 11.... - 'Where is God in all of this?'

Ecc 7:13 says "Consider what God has done: who can straighten out what He has made crooked?"

This verse reminded me that God alone was in control of Charlotte's life and only He had the power to change the outcome. The Bible repeatedly reminds us of God's sovereignty. We needed to choose whether we would believe what the Bible said and whether we would trust Him.

"Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?" Lam 3:37-38

Jesus Himself acknowledged His Father's sovereignty in His imminent crucifixion.

(Pilate said) "Don't you realise that I have power either to free you or to crucify you? To this Jesus replied, "You have no power over me if it were not given to you from above." John 19:10-11.

Jesus completely believed in His Father's sovereignty as well as being able to relate to our excruciating pain. He came to the point where He prayed -  

"My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me." Matt 26:39

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father." Matt 10:29

"Nothing, therefore happens unless the Omnipotent wills it to happen. He either permits it to happen, or He brings it around Himself."  St Augustine

His sovereignty is marvellous, yet at times totally mysterious to us, invincible but also incomprehensible. We cannot begin to understand why some things are allowed to happen.

Romans 11:33 His judgements are unsearchable, and His paths are beyond tracing out."

These truths are what have sustained me throughout the unknown and the extremely painful loss of my baby girl.

"... (I have) confidence that (my) suffering is under the control of an all-powerful and all-loving God; (my) suffering has meaning and purpose in God's eternal plan, and He has brought it or allowed it into (my) life for His glory and (my) good."
'Is Good Really in Control?' - Jerry Bridges, Decision Magazine

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