Update on Anastasha – 1 month after birth and death

Many of you have been following the notes sent to me by family physician Craig DeLisi, MD, about his daughter, Anastasha. Here’s an update, about a month after her birth and death:

November 26th 2010

We’ve updated Anastasha’s blog with several new posts and lots pictures (funeral, funeral program, her monument) since my last email.

Today marks the one month anniversary of Anastasha’s birth and death. She is gone. We’re still here. And we hate that.

There are many days that we wish we weren’t here either and that Jesus would return to take all of us who are in Christ with Him and end all pain and suffering once and for all. But He tarries, so we wait …

In the month since we said good-bye to Anastasha, we have:

  • laid her body to rest in the ground
  • enjoyed special time with numerous precious family and friends
  • received her social security card in the mail
  • returned to work (Craig)
  • returned to the same Labor and Delivery to be with friends who were having their first daughter
  • went to Tonya’s postpartum checkup (first time back to the place of “life” 5 times for us)
  • returned to basic homeschooling (Tonya)
  • signed Anastasha’s death certificate as the physician of record (Craig)
  • rejoiced in the births of FIVE babies born to local friends in the last month
  • cried daily
  • read to the kids more, played more kickball with them, and hugged them more tightly

So how are we doing one month later? We’re hurting. We’re sad. We’re emotionally spent. We don’t have the energy to put on a happy face and “pretend” to others that all is well.

If our journey with Anastasha was a marathon, and the days and weeks leading up to her death were the “kick” at the end, then we are in the cool down period right now. And neither of us has the energy to sprint, or even to jog.

We aren’t crumbling. By God’s grace we are standing up under the pain. But all isn’t well. Our daughter is dead. We can’t hold her or kiss her. We can’t watch her grow up. We know she is with the Lord. But to be truthful, we want her here with us.

As the colorful life of summer gives way to the dreary death of winter, so it is in our hearts. The world seems a bit duller. Things that are usually attractive and appealing have lost their shine. And I don’t mean that in a depressed, anhedonic sort of way. I mean that in a “seeing-things-for-what-they-really-are” sort of way.

Money, “stuff”, sports, achievements — its all gonna burn someday. The truth is that this world is temporary. We were made for another home … a heavenly one. And the things we often run around chasing in this world by and large have very little meaning or purpose for that home that is to come. What matters is what will last — the lives we impact for God. And most importantly, how we love Him while we are here.

Because when the day comes that He calls our name, none of that other stuff will matter. He won’t ask us what car we drove, how much money was still in our bank account, or what degrees we earned. He’ll ask us how we responded to His Son. That’s all that will matter, and the day is coming for each of us sooner than we realize.

Yesterday at Thanksgiving, there was an obvious absence in our home and at our “table”. We felt great thankfulness for Anastasha, but at the same time this feeling was almost overshadowed by grief that she isn’t here with us. There is a void there, one that I suspect will never be truly filled this side of heaven.

Grief is a process that looks different for everyone. It looks different for Tonya than it does for me. God is present in our grief, guiding us through the journey with this unwanted guest in our lives. But we won’t rush it. We couldn’t if we wanted to.

We are determined to let the Lord lovingly take our hands and lead us through this to the other side, in His timing. And we desperately want to emerge on the other side more like Christ than when we started.

God is still good. Christ still reigns. It is well with our souls. We’re pressing in to Him. We’re still trusting. We’re still hoping in His unfailing love.

But we hurt.  A lot.

Craig and Tonya

If you’ve not visited the website devoted to Anastasha, you can check it out here.

Here’s the entire series of amazing stories:

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