Thursday, November 8, 2012

What does this all mean?

Isaiah 57: 1 & 2

"Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time.  But no one seems to care or wonder why.  No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come.  For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die." ~ NLT

OR another version says:

"The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.
Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death." ~ NIV

What does this mean??  No, I mean seriously.  This has been here in our Bibles this whole time and did we all not take notice?  Does this mean that anyone who is righteous and pure is taken early?  Or just the select few?  The "special" (I say this with bitter distate)?  So, when we have an extra special child who seems so unearthly pure, should we fear that they could just be taken early?!  Hhmm?  And, what does that mean...that all other children left here are not as special?  That Ivy is not as special?  That your children are not as special?

Sure, I know some of the "pat answers" to these questions...but I would love to hear a more in-depth perspective on these verses.

I don't know.  These are just my irrational ramblings right now.  I know these verses seem to echo the thoughts in my one post on "An Answer", but it still confuses and frustrates me.  I know that I came to that "answer" as a tangible grasping for something to ease my angry frustrated mind.  It is a nice story that I will look to when I am so distraught...but it is still just a story that I found on the internet.  It does not make it all better.  Sometimes, I will even go back and read that post and roll my eyes.

I am going through the so-called "phases of grief".

The anger has consumed me now.  It is always just boiling right below the surface.  Mark and I can "carry on" and look "normal" to you when you see us.  Sure, we'll smile and even semi-laugh along...we'll attempt to ask how you're doing and so on and so forth.  But this anger that we conceal is just still right there...ready to snap at any given moment.  It is usually set off by stress, for me.  Vienne is just always on our minds...and the anger comes from the unfair reality that she is not here anymore and that we have to live with this.  And, that there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.  Nothing.  No amount of amount of pictures hung on the amount of blue and green that I will wear...nothing will bring her back.  And, so I sometimes feel like Solomon, writing Ecclesiastes:  "all is meaningless..."

I look at my Bible, on the shelf, and I feel betrayed.

I wish that I could be FULLY convinced that Vienne would've died no matter what choice I made that morning.  Even though her death makes absolutley no sense, I still cannot stop thinking that I could've prevented this if I had just made a different choice.  I have a very difficult time believing that she would've had a seizure and died even if she was just laying in her bed.  If it really was a seizure...they can't prove that either.  It is just the "story" that we tell to suffice for the time being. And they say she did not drown or that there was not enough water in her lungs to drown.  Perhaps the water was inconsequential.  So that means she died before she hit the water?  I just have a very very difficult time believing that!  How does an exceptionally healthy child just fall over and die?!

I stumbled upon a cause of death label called SUDC (sudden unexpected death in childhood) for mysterious deaths in children.  There is even an organization for support and for research on it.  But, as I read through most of the stories of accounted deaths, which all sound similar to each other, Vienne doesn't even fully fit into this category.  SUDC is extremely extremely rare....far more rare than SIDS.  It seems to happen in children between the ages of 1-3.  In almost all the cases that I read about, the children had a mild fever and then died in their sleep with no known cause of death.  Some were prone to febrile seizures (seizures related to a fever).  Not one that I've found, just fell over and died while awake...and none that I can find over four years old.  So, WTF?!  Where do we fit in?  We just have absolutely no one to relate to.  But, this is definitely the closest I've come.  Of course, we have not received the lab results yet from toxicology and blood tests...there could've been some virus or bacteria...I suppose.  We're supposed to hear back this week.  But, I'm afraid to hear anything back at this point.  I'm afraid that if they found something, that I will find one more thing to blame myself for.  Though, the medical examiner warned us that they will most likely not find anything and that we will most likely never have an answer.  How f-'ed up is that?  Hmm?

Obviously, my mind is full of ramblings today.

Often times, in public, I feel like I have suddenly lost a limb in a tragic accident.  Perhaps my leg.  Pales in comparison to losing my Vienne.  But, it is the awkwardness that I compare it to.  Everyone can see that I am missing the limb...everyone can see me trying to be brave as I limp along...and everyone wonders whether they should acknowledge it or pretend nothing is wrong.  All the while, I limp and with every limp is searing pain.  I will always limp for the rest of my life.  The pain will grow numb over time, but it will always be there.  I will never function like I used to...I will never look like I used to...I will never be the same.

I guess our life will always be bitter-sweet from now on.  Bitter for the haunting death of our first born, though sweet for the precious life of our second born.  Finding the balance between those two extremes and the strength to live in that balance will be our struggle for life.

These are my random thoughts right now.

I like to add a video to most of my random posts now.  We have stumbled upon so many and I want to share them all.  

(age 2 1/2)


  1. When you wrote "grief 101" it was liberating for those like me who just don't know what to comment. We are strangers but I cry for your loss. I bury my face in my sleeping child's hair and tearfully whisper "Why, Lord??" on your behalf. I see your missing limb and I want to acknowledge it: THIS SUCKS...IT'S NOT FAIR. You are so brave for putting your feelings here. And you should know even amongst this suffocating grief, you HAVE managed to do what you intended... people who didn't know Vienne are getting to. And loving her.

    1. oh, you gave me tears with this comment. you have no idea how much it means to hear that people I don't even know are getting to know my angelic girl and are touched by her precious love for life.
      Thank you so so much.

  2. So the video was adorable. That squealy laugh is so, so cute! Thank you for sharing your Vienne with us. She is precious.

    I wish I had answers for you Jenny. I know it doesn't add up. Even that verse is confusing. It doesn't seem like there are any good answers. And that's a horrible feeling.

    What I do know is that God never changes. He is the only constant in our lives. I understand why you're angry. Who wouldn't be? But God can take your anger. He can handle your grief. Your questions. Your fears. Your rage. Isn't that refreshing?

    My prayer is that at some point, you will circle back to the truth that God is faithful. And that He loves you enough to give up his ONLY and firstborn child for you. That's some kind of love. Unfathomable really.

    Diane Comer wrote a beautiful blog post on Faithfulness yesterday. It really spoke to me in my current struggle. Every day I fight against this challenge of raising Godly, responsible, respectful kids. Kids who are not perfect, but who I'd give my life for in an instant. Some days I see results. Most days come out unmeasurable. It's easy to get bogged down in the nitty gritty of day to day and miss the big picture.

    But Di says, "I think that’s what it means to be faithful. It means to show up every day. Every single day. To keep doing what I am called to do even when I can’t see a difference. Can't measure progress. When everything looks exactly the same. Being faithful means I believe God. That I have discovered His bigness, that I have surrendered my story into His. It means setting myself aside because I believe He’s a better planner for me than I am. He knows what He is hoping to do with me, with my life, with my everydays."

    My heart breaks for your pain Jenny. It's strange to me how much I pray for you, Mark, Ivy, your mom and Tom. Especially since I only met Vienne once. But I know I'm not alone in my prayers. There is an army of people around the globe praying specifically for you. For healing from the rage. For peace for your battered spirit. For strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other. For answers to your questions. Or peace to trust God with the unknown.

    This is not your fault Jenny. You are an incredible Mommy.

    Praying right now for you and sending love... and sorry for the mini novel!

    1. Jodi ~ I appreciate your words and all that you shared. It is some good stuff to think upon.
      Your prayers and encouragement mean so so much.

    2. Is there a button I can click so your response shows up in my inbox? I had no idea you'd replied to this comment. I continue to pray for you every day Jenny. I am so sorry about the discouraging "results." But again - this is not your fault. Don't let the enemy lie to you. You are a wonderful momma!

    3. I wish there was, Jodi, but I have yet to find a way to get my responses back to the people who leave comments. I still try to leave replies when I can, even if most people don't return back to the same post to check for it.

  3. My you know, the first part of my comment that shared my heart got wiped out...I'll re-write that later. Below is what didn't get wiped out....

    I looked up some commentaries on the Isaiah 57:1-2 passage, trying to understand it. It seems rather specific to the happenings of that era when taken in full context. Yet, I know we try to apply it to "now" and wrestle it into something that makes sense. We try to "figure it out". Not sure we can, really. Here are two snippets...

    Commentaries on Isaiah 57:1-2
    From “”
    "These verses refer to the fact that from the times of Isaiah and afterward to the captivity, "Most of the few godly persons left, perished, partly through vexation at the prevailing ungodliness, partly by the horrible persecutions under Manasseh," of whom the Scriptures say, "Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem one end to another; besides his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin in doing that which is evil in the sight of Jehovah" (2 Kings 21:16). We call on the critics to produce anything whatever that fits these words in that post-exilic period which they vainly assert was described by these verses!
    The righteous is taken away from the evil to come…
    (Isaiah 57:1). God here gave the reason why many of the righteous perished during those dreadful years. By their death, the righteous would escape the temptations of their godless environment, and they would not have to witness the awful punishment that would fall upon the godless nation. Thus, Abijah's death is represented as a blessing conferred upon him by God for his piety (1 Kings 14:10-14); and the prophetess Huldah likewise promised Josiah that, Thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eye see all the evil which I will bring upon this place (2 Kings 22:20).
    "Those martyrs in the times of Manasseh were actually saved from the horrors of Judah's approaching siege and captivity; and they entered into the peace of `Abraham's bosom' (Luke 16:22), there to await Christ's resurrection." "

    From “”
    "…the pious are often removed in order that they may not be exposed to evils which they would experience should they live. There might be the pains and sorrows of persecution; there might be long and lingering disease; there might be poverty and want; there might be the prevalence of iniquity and infidelity over which their hearts would bleed; there might be long and painful conflicts with their own evil hearts, or there might be danger that they would fall into sin, and dishonor their high calling. For some or all these reasons the righteous may be withdrawn from the world; and could we see those reasons as God does, nothing more would be necessary to induce us to acquiesce entirely in the justice of his dealings."

    Just some thoughts from some scholars on the matter. Puts nothing to rest for me, just thought I'd share.

    I love you, my daughter, and am praying with every breath upon which my sweet granddaughter's name is found.

    1. oh wow, thank you Mama. I appreciate the work you put into finding some info. Interesting reads.
      I do know and understand that the scripture was written for that time and not necessarily for all of us to take so literally. Thank you for reminding me of that. Scripture is so hard like that sometimes, though, ya know?
      I look forward to reading the other half of your note. I love u.

  4. It's just SO unfair and your anger is very justifiable (I feel rage-full for you). Your limp/limb story is the perfect analogy and I know you have been altered forever by this and part of you will be missing forever. I just commented on your latest post before I saw this one. The story I heard was of a 5year old, bathtub, febrile convulsion --so it is not limited to 1-3 year olds. I will try to find a link for you.

    1. Wow, Lisa, I would really like to know what show that was on. I will text u.
      Yeah, the febrile seizures are not necessarily limited to ages 1-3, though they are very very rare after age 3. Neither is the label of "Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood" limited to ages 1-3. Those are just the common ages. And, SUDC does not necessarily mean that they had a fever related seizure, it just seemed that many of them did, from what I read of their accounts.
      And, you are not being a "know it all" (from you comment on the other post). I appreciate hearing of any story that is similar to mine. This one sounds exact. I would love to contact that person or at least read up more on them.

  5. My love….I, too, have wrestled with this scripture, as with many. I have struggled when others offer John 11:35 (“Jesus wept”) as consolation…though I know their heart’s intent. Was He empathizing with Mary & Martha’s grief, or troubled at their unbelief, or grieving the death of His friend? In any case, Jesus showed that He cares enough for us to weep with us in our sorrow. But then, of course, He turned around and raised Lazarus up from the dead. Why did He not do that for Vienne? No answers will satisfy, I know that. We are so accustomed to a solution, a resolution, an end to the matter of things. In Vienne’s death we have none of that and it is torturous. It hurts so incredibly.

    I rest a fraction in returning to what I have formerly believed of my God…-that He is for us and not against us, HE knows the end to the matter of things, the beginning to the end – though, in this, there is no understanding (Isaiah 40:28-31). And though yes, the angel story in your post “The Answer” is just that…a story…as Diane said, “stories help us wrestle theology into reality” and I think the basic truth about the angel story that brings me a measure of consolation is that God knows our days (Psalm 139:13-16) and holds our eternal best. I love that story. It rings true in my heart. I have heard parents say that their children are not “their own”, but God’s…lent to us for a time. I actually rather hate that thought, because in my heart I cling so tightly to my children. But I think there is truth to that…very hard truth to interface our lives with. I am not so arrogant as to realize that God was/is my parent partner and the very reason my children are amazing.

    Since the autopsy, and now the toxicology, have come back with the final word: “No known cause of death” we can only surmise that God did, indeed, usher her into His presence early, in our estimation. In this, you, my daughter, could have had no control in the matter. There is no blame to be had….though I know, as any Mama would, you will always wonder what you could have done differently. What Mama would not always wrestle with that? We are angry with this decision of God’s, to take our Vienne…from our limited view this side of Heaven. There is no peace in this, there is no good whatsoever from our vantage point. I do believe, when we meet Him face to face, we will be enlightened as to His ways, we may come to understand the “whys” and, I shudder to say, we may even be thankful…not for our loss here on earth – no, never - but for her sake. Not here. Not now. But then.

    Loving you deeply. Praying with every breath.
    Your Mama