Pain can do very interesting things. It can linger after a heartbreak. It can suddenly and tragically take the place of happiness, in an instant. Or, it can teach you things you didn't realize you needed to learn.

It was Christmas Eve, and I had just put the kids down. I kissed Dan, and headed to the store for candy and gifts for the next morning.  I got in the truck, just as I normally do. I walked into the store with a little list, just as I always do. But something was different. I felt as though I was walking in a fog. I had a feeling in my chest. As I looked around the store at all of the busy shoppers, I noticed something. Someone.  She was there, in the isle, looking at clothes. Her belly was round, and she must've been about 8 months pregnant. I watched her from afar, unnoticed. I stood there, staring at this stranger who I didn't even know. After a quick moment I found my way out of that section and headed to check out. I must've seen three different pregnant women in the store that night. By the time I was in the parking lot, before I even got to my truck, my whole body was shaking and I couldn't get the door open fast enough so I could lay myself on the steering wheel and cry. And I did. I cried and I cried and I cried some more. And then I realized why. I'd been so caught up in the day, that I hadn't remembered what anniversary was coming in the morning. We had lost her. Seven years ago, on Christmas day. She would've been seven. All month long I had dreaded the 25th coming. It's like that every year, you know. I hear Christmas carols, I see the lights. I see newborn babies swaddled in their mother's arms, and honestly, I just want to sit in the corner and cry. It took one stranger at the store to bring it all back for me, and the pain was crushing

So there I was in the driveway of my home, alone in my truck. I sat with my phone in my hand, my sister's number ready to dial. But I knew it would ruin her Christmas Eve if I'd called her crying.  What do you say to a phone call like that? And there was nothing anyone could say anyway. No words to mend a heart that knows there is no hope. Not in this lifetime, anyway. Miscarriage is hard and cruel and viscous, and it does not care. Instead, it leaves an aching and a haunting that comes and goes, but never really leaves.

And so I sat there. Feeling forgotten, sad, angry, and oh so miserable for myself. But, after a moment, I pulled it together, went inside, and there my husband wrapped his strong arms around me, and held me until I was done weeping. Then, we talked about what she would've been like.

And it was that moment with my husband that I realized that when I think of this loss, it doesn't have to be all about the pain. It can be about the future. Pain is strong, but something else is just as strong, and even stronger. The love of God. He didn't take this unborn baby from us and leave us broken. He's keeping her for us. In a place much bigger and brighter and more glorious than this world could ever be. I may not see that very clear every minute of the day, but I do know it.

It wasn't but a few months prior, we were in the middle of a prayer. We had just prayed about her, when suddenly, after our prayer, Emma said, "Her name is Naley". It was a magical moment. It seemed as though Naley was there kneeling beside us. Little Naley. We talk about her, we pray about her, Emma even has conversations with her and includes her in her games. I know we are an eternal family, and we will get this little girl some day. I know that where she is, there is beauty and bright lights and love.

Someday Emma won't have to pretend that her older sister is there with her, playing unicorns & horses. Someday Emma will be able to wrap her arms around her sister and tell her herself that it was Emma that gave her that beautiful name. We love you, little Naley.

You will be ours someday xoxo.

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