October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. As I reflect on the last two months since we lost our beautiful daughter, Isabelle Clare, I can’t help but realize how far I have come from those first desperate weeks. For all of the moms reading this whose hearts are devastated by the loss of their precious little one, who feel that the pain is too much to handle and that they will never move forward from this horrible time in their lives – there is hope. One day, you will wake up and realize that you have been putting one foot in front of the other and functioning like a sane adult. You will never forget your precious child and there will be days that the permanent crack in your heart seems to run a bit deeper, but you will move forward. You will take comfort knowing that our Lord is holding your child closely and that there is a tiny saint praying specifically for your family. How do I know this? Because my daughter reminded me…
The day of Isabelle’s funeral, it rained. The rain continued for several days and seemed only to take a break on our anniversary and then resumed regularly for days afterwards. It was as if Isabelle were trying to tell us how much she missed her parents. This “conversation” with her did not simply end with a sunset each day. For several evenings following the funeral, our family would gather at my in-laws house for dinner. For three evenings, a magnificent rainbow would appear outside. The third rainbow was the largest. Our family would gather on the porch and marvel at the symbol of hope that God had allowed our little girl to give us. We were so thankful. She wanted us to be hopeful for the future and to move forward.
Believe me, the symbolism of three rainbows was not lost. In Genesis 7, God sent rain to flood the earth sparing only Noah and his family. One can almost imagine the excessive rain representing how painful this must have been for God to do. But despite the pain, there is always hope. Eventually the rain dried up so that Noah and his family could retreat from the boat. God established a covenant with Noah stating that he would never again flood the earth. He created a beautiful rainbow in the sky to symbolize this. Many years later, Jesus’s disciples were told to look with hope towards the third day because Jesus would rise to fulfill what was said in the Old Testament. These three days – Christ’s death, the waiting, and his resurrection were so incredibly important that the Church’s shortest liturgical season, the Triduum, is centered around them.
Both the third day and the rainbow represent hope – hope for the future. It reminds us to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to God. Since Matt and I know that our daughter is waiting for us in heaven, we are now more committed than ever to end up there ourselves. We know that Isabelle does not want us dwelling on the past but rather looking with hope to the future, constantly striving towards holiness and heaven.