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......


OhlsonFamily said...

Thank you Heather! Not my first time to hear these words and not the first time they have brought me to tears!! What a beautiful friend Julie to know your heart so well and to be able to communicate your story so eloquently!

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