She would have been thirteen today. Yep. We would have had a teenager in the house.
I have been more reflective and emotional about Karis Rose this weekend than I have been for awhile. I wonder what she would have looked like today. I wonder what she would have requested for her birthday dinner. I wonder if she would still let me kiss her goodnight.
I miss her, and I never really got to know her.
Karis was stillborn at 38-and-a-half weeks. There were no indications that anything was wrong. We went to the doctor for our regular late-pregnancy check-up. He listened for the heartbeat. Then he sent us to the ultrasound room. We were still smiling. He looked up and simply said, “I’m sorry.”
My wife and I had never felt devastation like this, and have not since. We would later learn that 70-75 percent of marriages do not survive the death of a child.
I would like to tell you that we survived by running to Jesus and drawing strength from him. But that would not be true. We woke up. We cried. Sometimes we ate, but more often, we just didn’t feel like eating. We wondered why. We doubted God’s presence. And we cried some more.
Over time, we began to see that God answered every prayer we had offered for Karis. We prayed that she would be a girl of grace and beauty. She certainly was a beautiful girl with curly black hair. Prayer answered. Many people heard the gospel at the hospital and at her funeral. Friends set up a scholarship fund in her name for short term missionaries. God used her for the sharing of his grace. Prayer answered. Most importantly, we prayed that Karis would know Jesus and love him dearly. She is enjoying the privilege of seeing him face to face, even as I write. Prayer answered.
We also had dear friends and family who loved us well during this time. Our church family was a constant conduit of God’s love for us.
Seeing these things helped to get us off of the couch and rejoin the living. We didn’t run to Jesus, but he did run to us. He is good!