The Darkest Night: Afton’s Story, Part Nine

This post is part of a ten-post series I’m sharing about the life and loss of our son, Afton. Click here to read more of Afton’s story.

Afton's Story

It’s been almost one month, and time has softened the grief only to unleash a storm of questions. I try to sit with them, to work through them, but the most cruel one lingers: why couldn’t my body hold onto my baby?

A few nights ago, I couldn’t sleep. I laid on the couch by myself, in the dark except for a box of Kleenex, and I thought back to seeing Afton for the last time on the ultrasound just before he was born. It was the exact definition of bittersweet: watching his lively feet kick right down through my dilated cervix, showing us that he was happy and healthy, but that he needed to come out before it was time. It was the last time I saw or felt him move.

Over and over I thought about it – he was perfect, but I was flawed. How could my body not know how to do this natural, life-giving thing for him? I cried hard that night as I sat alone in the dark. Why? WHY? He was beautifully and intricately formed, more than any living thing I’d ever seen. He was loved so fiercely.

And then, without missing a beat, I heard – You are, too.

Or maybe more like felt it, right there in the intense darkness. Lindsay: you are, too. You are beautifully and intricately formed, and you are loved so fiercely.

I’m always a little wary of people who say “God spoke to me,” so I won’t make that assertion when I can’t say for sure. But what came into my mind in that moment, and what I know deep-down is true, and how God loves us… they all match. I’m keeping it. The reason I think this story is worth sharing is because I think this place of self-doubt is more universal than it is personal. And that you-are-too message? That feeling? I want you to keep it, too.

I am convinced that God looks at me the way I look at Afton, except better: as perfectly made, beautiful, and so loved. I am also convinced that Afton’s loss is a tragedy that happened in my body. To be honest, I don’t necessarily believe there’s a reason for it, that God wanted it, willed it, or planned it, or that “my body failed me.” My body grew a beautiful baby and tragedy took him away.

What I know of God is that he is life and love, and he is with us in the dark night of tragedy, and that he made us beautifully the same way he made Afton beautifully. And he is weeping with us – all of us – for tragedy and loss of life.

I know that I’m not the only one with a broken heart these days. So many of you have sent messages and emails, and whether your story is the same or something completely different, I think this truth still applies. I’m including this as a part of Afton’s story to remind myself – and us – that just as beautiful and perfect and loved as our sweet Afton was?

You are, too.

I’m sharing more about life with and after Afton on my personal Instagram account. I’d love to have you follow along here.

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70 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kim

    I love this post. I felt the same guilt after my 17 day old daughter died of a rare random genetic defect. Why us? Why did my body create such a beautiful but broken baby. Why did God not answer my prayers to save her? I thought I was a decent human being. It took me months to accept it was terribly bad luck. God didn’t punish us. My daughter has sent me many signs that there is an afterlife whatever that is. I hope you hear from Afton too. The book – “why do bad things happen to good people” helped comfort me. Wishing you more peace.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Lindsay, You guys have been in my thoughts and prayers. I’m glad you are starting to heal with God’s help. I can’t imagine the pain you are going through, but you are right – God is life and love, and he can be your light in the darkness. John 8:12 –
    Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Belinda

    Thank you for writing this.

    I’ve been struggling with infertility for 4.5 long years and 2 miscarriages. I really needed this reminder today.

    You are SO strong for sharing these posts about your sweet Afton.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Lindsey, your words are a true testimony, and you have so much love and prayer surrounding you! I am so proud of you for sharing everything about this part of your life with us all. Keep sharing, keep praying 🙂 you have such wonderful family through the creation of this blog. You are Blessed and loved 🙂

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    kim

    A testament to what a good person you are…in the midst of your grief, you are sharing light and hope to others. Continued healing sweet girl.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I think you’ve got it spot on with “I don’t necessarily believe there’s a reason for it, that God wanted it, willed it, or planned it, or that “my body failed me.” My body grew a beautiful baby and tragedy took him away.”
    It wasn’t part of some greater plan. It was just one of those tragic flukes of nature.
    Sending my love to you and your fam.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Abby

    I miscarried in my first trimester. I live just outside the Twin Cities and KTIS 98.5 was a blessing. I can’t tell you how many times I cried listening or hearing God through music. I pray it may provide you with comfort too.

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sherry

    What a wonderful conclusion you have come to. This is a gift to everyone who is having a difficult time in their life. Thank you

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Nichole

    This is so beautifully written and well said…as Afton’s entire story has been. I always like to imagine that Heaven is a wonderfully happy place with all our sweet beautiful babies running around.

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Beautiful. 💙 And so true. Becoming a parent gives us a small glimpse at how God feels about us, His children. Thank you for sharing these deeply personal moments. Your words are powerful and comforting. XO

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I couldn’t agree more. Thank you Lindsay. Thank Majorie for sharing that. A glimpse of what God sees of us, his children. Perfectly made. Love to you Linz

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Simone

    Dear Lindsay,
    your words are kind and wise and speak straight to the soul. You are lovely and a perfect part of God. May he hold your grief and bless you.
    Thank you for sharing your story.
    Love, Simone

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Linda

    You are such an inspiration! I lost my husband on Dec 27, 2016 and I cry a little each day.

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jessica

    Your faith is beautiful and brings light and hope into this world. Afton’s precious life is making a mighty impact – it’s an inspiration to see you give glory to God through this heartbreak. Some people live a century and don’t impact others the way Afton, you and Bjork have. Thank you for sharing your story. Praying for healing for you and your sweet family.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Karen

    What a beautiful post…your strength amazes me. I too had the very same sense of failure after losing my baby – “what’s wrong with me?” I asked over and over… It took some time for me to realize that there was nothing wrong with me – it was just a horribly unfortunate turn of events. However, one of the blessings I received was to be able to truly empathize with others who have lost and provide comfort to them whenever I can. I never realized how deeply painful a miscarriage could be until I had one myself. So for that gift I am grateful. I continue to pray for you and Bjork daily…and thank you for sharing such meaningful and emotional words with all of us.

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Erin

    This post was beautiful, thank you for sharing your heart. I wanted to share a few things from our pastor’s message just a few short days ago – I believe it was meant for you to also hear. He shared with us “God takes away the power of death and gives the promise of life beyond this life. Jesus is raised from the dead to give us hope, hope in God’s loving care and that, “though he giveth or he taketh, God his children ne’er forsaketh.”

    “Loss is part of life and faith and trust cannot change that. But faith and trust can give us the peace and the strength to handle whatever loss life can give, and help others in their times of loss, too.”

    I take comfort in the statement “God giveth and taketh away, but we still have faith – and know that we are fiercely loved.” I hope you can too.

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Joy

    Lindsay, I’ve been so amazed by your ability and courage to celebrate life in the midst of lost. What a gift the world so desperately needs displayed. And you are so right, this was not God’s plan or His will. The enemy comes to “kill and steal and destroy” but He has come to give you LIFE–abundant life– to the brim and overflowing. Praying that over your family, and believing for abundant life for you!

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lynn

    Thank you Lindsay for your brave and heartfelt post. God is with you and Bjork and He holds you close in loving care. Only the Lord knows why things happen that break our hearts. We all love and care for you deeply and wish you peace and comfort with your struggles.

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo
    sabrina

    After we lost our son at 22 wks 4 days, i remember praying and finally thinking “God, you dont get it…my son died!”. I am always wary of people who ” hear’ God too, but at that moment I definiteky heard him: Did you forget my Son died too? And it hurt me so much that I turned my back and left the earth in darkness for 3 hours?
    For the first time, I thought of God as notonly The Father, but A Father, who grieved and understands my pain and yours and all others…

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      sabrina

      He understands our pain, and it hurts Him too.
      The loss of our babies was not the result of some sin, or error we made, but rsther just a part of the human existance. Still thinking of you.

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Crystal

    Yes, Lindsay, yes! You described it so perfectly. God doesn’t take our babies away but he mourns with us when it happens. And the support He gives is unsurpassable, steeped in experience, love, and His desire to see us made while again. You are in my prayers!

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Cat Rydzewski

    Although I can never imagine your pain, thank you for sharing your story, your strength, your love. As a mother I am sending you the biggest hug I can.