5 Years Ago

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I cannot believe 5 years have passed. Matthew is such a part of our family. Every year with anticipation we look forward to celebrating his birthdate and his feast day. Today is his feast day. Sunday was his birthday. He shares a birthday with his cousin who just celebrated his 10th birthday. What a special treat. In the shadow box behind his cake, you can see his hand impression, a few locks of his dark hair, and his cross given to us from the Trappist Monks in memory of his casket. Below you’ll see his dark almost curly hair. Matthew lived here for three full awake days before passing on into God’s arms. Our oldest posted two facebook posts that were very touching. If you haven’t read them, take a tissue. Matthew’s life was a gift. I’ve never forgotten how huge I became carrying him around as he began to struggle with the amniotic fluid cycle. I also have never forgotten how often he got the hiccups. He constantly kicked around just like the little girl wiggling inside me now does.DSC_0035
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I still recall the day that John’s brother and family visited us before we entered the Fisher house. Jared chuckled at his constant and rhythmic hiccups. Being a military family, we lived too far for most of our friends and family to see us. Matthew was mostly shared through pictures. Matthew Karol Snow 057I wish all of you could have felt him and held him. He was just as snuggly as every baby we’ve held. Thank you all who remembered with us these three special days and who let us know you were thinking of us. That means a lot, more than you’ll know. Matthew will always be loved and missed. Time does heal, but time can’t take away the memories and love. This was the hardest thing we’ve ever gone through. Snow09-2508BW
We’ve learned too that most people just don’t know what to say. It’s OK to say his name to us. It’s OK to bring his name up to us. It’s not going to hurt us if you’ve remembered him. To help remember Matthew, again, I’d like to give away a birthday gift. Last year I gave away a Catholic mom’s planner. This year, I’d like to give away a personalized burp cloth. Leave me a message and let me know you’d like to be entered and if you’d like it to be for a boy or a girl! God Bless, Emily
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A Significant day in many many ways…

*I am 32 weeks along today. Three and a half years ago, I was 32 weeks along and in the OR delivering little Matthew Karol.
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*Today is my only sister’s birthday! Today is also my Brother-in-law’s birthday! Happy Birthday to you both! What historical birthdays for both of them!
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* Obviously, I’m nesting… I’ve torn every room apart… we can’t walk down the hallways because I’ve filled them with items for give-away, items for the attic, and things I am ready to get rid of. I want furniture this and that moved, I have sewing projects pleated, and the entire refrigerator contents are all over the kitchen island (as I sit and watch EWTN all afternoon!)
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All the tiny baby boy clothes are washed and folded and put away.
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the crib is up and ready…
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*Today, my only living grandmother has moved into a memory care home. I have my grandfather heavy on my mind. This is a big change for my grandfather who has only known life with his wife by his side. Please include a prayer of peace for them.
*Today we all woke up wondering if today was the day the day our Church would elect a new shepherd.
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* Habemus Papam! Today we welcome Pope Francis as our new Shepherd! His first blessing on the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica was very humble. He asked for a prayer from the people to ask the Lord to bless him. The entire crowd of pilgrims were silent in prayer. It was amazing to watch. The Church began with St Peter. This is our new leader! Matthew 16:18-19.
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* Obviously a celebration was in order. The children all voted to make a red velvet cake with white (cream cheese) icing. The red velvet with white icing in honor of the papal outfit. The significance of the red accessories: Red is the colour of martyrdom and the pope is the successor of the martyred St. Peter, “red is the color of burning love, the color of the fire of the Spirit.”
I let the two little girls make this from start to finish, they did a great job!
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Matthew’s Feast Day 2012



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Today marks the third year our baby boy, Matthew Karol, left our world to enter into Eternal Heaven. I won’t tell you today was easy, but I will say it’s getting easier. I’ll also tell you my ideas of how today was going to be was completely different than what God’s plans were. After a beautiful Mass, a few sweet friends who didn’t even know us three years ago, remembered Matthew. Thank you. A drive home to prepare for about 7 college students along with Fr Kevin stopping through on their way to a college retreat for dinner, led me to a trip to the ER with Cookie, who was trying her best to help us get ready. While I was in the ER room, I was texting John what needed to be done the most while I was gone. Cookie cut open her thumb on a can and it was just enough to lead us to say, “yep, you might need stitches…” well, to her relief they were able to seal it shut with Durabond. So grateful it was able to be a quick fix. Luckily for her, she can’t do dishes for a while. 🙂
While the college students were a delight to have in our home, along with our dear friend, Fr Kevin, all of the kids had a chance to visit with them and share some of our home with them.
My sister and our sweet Godchild, Christian, are on their way up here for a weeks visit, so be prepared to see pictures of this adorable 4 month old in days to come.
For Matthew’s Gift to you, we did a drawing before all this happened.

We wrote out each name from the comments left in the Giveaway post and folded them in half. Then I put them all in a small basket and had both girls draw out a name since both smaller girls wanted to “help.”

From those two, I put the two names back in had John make the final draw.

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Congratulations to Melody from Blossoming Joy, (Mamma’s Little Ditty)! Melody, we are so excited to send you this beautiful planner and hope that you and all of you who visit here have a wonderful New School year. Sanctus Simplicitus does offer free downloads, so if you’d like to hop over to their blog, you can still get your hands on this beautiful planner. Thank you CeAnn for your generous offer!
I really enjoyed every comment with ideas and each prayer that was sent to us. You have no idea, even how small a note it was this year to hear from you. Charlotte, thank you for your kind post remembering Matthew. I am grateful for your friendship and miss you guys in Texas so much!
I had real plans to get this post published before the end of the day but, God was in control of our day, not me.
Have a wonderful year, St Matthew, pray for us.
(Melody, email me at emilysnowATmeDOTcom)

Matthew’s Birthday Giveaway


For the past three years, since the summer of 2009, someone here has searched or read a post on our baby Matthew. The top searched posts here are Fiat, and Mass of the Angels. These two posts have been read every day since they were written. We are humbled. How could a little bitty guy affect so many people? Obviously God had a plan when He sent Matthew to us and allowed people like you to love him even though he spent most of his time here on earth inside only showing his presence by growing (very) big, kicking, hiccuping, and rolling around. People knew he was an active little thing.

Well, time has gone by now with a move from Texas to Tennessee, a year goodbye and hello again with a deployment to Afghanistan, a new puppy, and countless weekly activities. You’ve been beside me all the time and I am grateful for your friendship. The homeschool community has been a great place of friendship and support. I honestly can say I thank God that we homeschool, sometimes I look back on those dark days following July three years ago and think homeschooling is what kept me going. I can only imagine how I very easily could have remained in a depression had our children left all day for school. Instead, they were right there beside me each day keeping me from sinking. I am thankful for our homeschool program we follow as it arrives so organized and ready with plans and all. Without that organization, I’d have been treading water. I praise God for saving me from the depression I was in for so long. Grieving I think takes on several stages. I want to think I’ve made it to the final stage. First is shock, then abandonment and depression, then a gift. Matthew’s life was a gift and I know that. I no longer feel depressed. I no longer feel as though my prayers were abandoned.

The anniversary of Matthew’s birth and death is approaching. Even though he’s gone to a better place, he very much has remained in our daily lives. His hand and foot prints remain on our bulletin board. When I take them down, the kids ask, “where is Matthew’s card?”
Now that I feel as though I can actually take charge of our homeschooling year, I’ve found this beautiful fresh planner. One that will keep me motivated and on track. I decided to order not just one, but two. One for Matthew’s gift.
This year in honor of the anniversary of little Matthew Karol’s birthday and life into Heaven, I want to give a birthday present away. I am offering a Holy Simplicity Liturgical planner from Sanctus Simplicitus I know for me, the more I had to keep my days straight, the better our homeschool day went.

To be entered in the drawing all you need to do is leave me a comment and let me know what your family does to make ‘back to School” special. Whether you homeschool or not, you are my friend and I want you to have a chance at receiving this beautiful Planner. Between now and Matthew’s Birthday anniversary, leave me a message and you’ll be entered. On July 29th, We will do a random drawing and announce the birthday gift winner.
Here is a peek inside the planner, Isn’t it simply beautiful?

A Feast Day

Calls for Heavenly Delight, and why not, Heaven must be delighted that our little Matthew Karol joined them two years ago today. Matthew lived with us here on earth for three days. Those were three of the longest days. Each day we had such hope that he’d get better, but each day, he was being called closer and closer to God. I can only imagine the joy and praises he heard as he entered in the Kingdom of God. No more wires, not tubes, just Heaven.

Matthew


hand in hand

We were always sad that the children didn’t get to see him, only pictures. They certainly remember feeling his hiccups and kicks. I share the pictures with you to show how a small baby, even only a three day old can touch so many lives. Matthew is very much a part of our daily life. The children ask God to say goodnight to him every night at bedtime prayers. Every day since Matthew was introduced here on God’s Canvas, someone has done a search for him. Many search Mass of the Angels, Fiat, St Matthew Karol, Miracle needed, Update on Matthew Karol, and so many more word combinations. I am telling you, not a day has passed without Matthew being searched. I am humbled.
I am touched that this little bitty fellow could fill the need for a search. Over the past two years, we have felt the prayers that have carried us through the good and the bad days. How does one go on after this… through God’s grace and your prayers. I think I cried for a whole year. I have gotten better and I can feel God’s hand and Heaven’s help. My mother always said “Heaven help us” and I believe Heaven does.
So, with your help, Heaven’s help, and Little St Matthew Karol’s help, we will celebrate this special Feast Day… with Heavenly Delight!

Two years ago

Matthew's bed card


We said hello to a 6lb 7oz little boy. Two years ago seems like yesterday to me.

hand in hand


Our children here woke up with plans to draw Birthday cards and bake a cake. We found a sweet text from Nana remembering Matthew in Mass today, a card in the mail from Honey, and a few chats online, emails, and phone calls. Thank you all for remembering us on this special day. We will always be filled with Hope no matter what God sends our way.

Cake, Snowbabies, and Our Lady of Hope

What I read in my inbox

Blessed John and Em,
Just wanted to let you know that the day before Matthew’s birthday will be my last day in Rome; …. My Mass that day (offered at St. Peter’s) will be for you and your family. Love and prayers!

Fr. Kevin

Thank you Fr Kevin for your love and prayers. Our children were thrilled to hear of this special Mass intention!
Two years ago today, we saw this precious little guy in distress. We are so thankful for the Fisher house and the amazing care we had.

Matthew July 2009

Packed up and gone.. from Texas…


Wednesday, we said our goodbyes and drove 16 hours away from Texas. This was actually harder than we thought. We have been in Texas for so many years. At a farewell party, given to us by several great friends, someone asked me.. ” how many sacraments does your family have here?? ” Wow.. three baptisms, two First Holy Communions, and also, Matthew’s baptism and last rites. We were truly blessed to have such a loving community of friends. We are on a wait list for a house on post, so while we wait, we will be busy finishing school. planting spring flowers, and swimming at Nana and Guka’s house in Georgia. Who knows, with the Army, we’ve learned to say, see you later, not goodbye. You never know when those orders will come and send you right back to where you came from.

Before we drove away, we went to Mass, followed by the blessing of a newly planted tree, in Matthew’s memory. Matthew’s Godparents bought a tree in his honor. Below the tree, Fr. Richard had a limestone marker with a plaque on the top of the stone. It was really a touching moment to see his name on the plaque, along with the Godparents.

time away


My husband and I had a quick getaway while the children played with my sister who flew into town to watch them. John and I returned to San Antonio for the first time since we had been there one year ago. With my mind full of memories of last summer in San Antonio with just John. It was just the two of us, heading south in his truck, but this time, it was different… not with Matthew in tow and me out of breath. This time, we were on a date to see Fr. Corapi speak and to walk on the Riverwalk. While the children danced and played games in the house with Aunt Courtney, I am sure eating way too many marshmallows, John and I enjoyed the peace of walking up and down the Riverwalk outside of the hotel we stayed in. Our dinner was so nice, this time with a glass of wine. Part of being back there was sad, but also closure. The rest was all a wonderful trip. We timed it perfectly and were able to walk right up to Father Corapi and say hello. We had a wonderful time and I didn’t worry once about the kids.. and I don’t think they worried about us either.

This building was right across the river from our hotel. Our waiter told us this was once the tallest building in Texas!


This talk is going to be available to purchase through his website. This talk was recorded and included four talks and will be available after Sept 15th.

one year ago ( repost)

( while we were on day two of school, my mind was also here).
. Today was beautiful and breezy…
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The Mass of the Angels for Matthew was so very touching and sweet. When we walked into the church, right in front of the altar was our little Matthew’s Casket. It was placed on a soft blue satin sheet next to a statue of the Blessed Mother and a Crucifix. His casket was handcrafted by The Trappist Monks and made from Red Oak. It was a simple casket with a little cross on the top with his name engraved on it. We went to look at it on Saturday, and I’ve been a mess ever since. Seeing the casket up at the altar started the tears as we made our way to the front pew.

John’s parents did the readings for the Mass and our children took the gifts up to Father for the Offertory. As the children approached Father, Moonbeam was overcome with emotions and then I of course followed. Father Richard’s Homily was lovely and comforting of course. He reminded us that Matthew is now able to look into the very eyes of God and if we could only see the joy in heaven right now we would not weep, but rejoice to see him in such glory. When Mass ended, we followed Matthew’s casket out of the church.

We drove out to the cemetery for the final blessings, prayers, and goodbyes to Matthew. While his time here on earth was short, we celebrated the time God gave to us. Now we are left with empty arms and heavy hearts, we know in time will heal. Matthew and our other little children, Luke, Mark, and Karoline, who are already in the Presence of God, will intercede for us until we meet again.

We want to thank all who were able to be with us today, to include a dear friend who drove two hours with her children and one of Matthew’s NICU Nurses as well the Social worker both from Wilford Hall where Matthew received amazing care. We want to thank Nana and Guka ( John’s parents from Georgia) for keeping our children and driving them across the Southeast and back. To all who joined us in spirit today, we thank you too.

On the back of Matthew’s Holy Cards, we printed part of the song we sing in Mass.. City of God…. After losing Matthew, this song has played in the back of my mind……

……I can’t tell you how empty we feel, but God will heal us and we turn our sadness into dancing…..

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Matthew’s NICU nurse spent quite a bit of time with Matthew creating beautiful keepsakes for us of his hands and feet. She made molds and prints for us. She also made little cards of his feet for the tables for the reception. A real treasure for us.
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This tiny Red Oak Cross matches the one on his little 24″ Casket. It was a gift from the Trappist Monks.
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Thank you Charlotte and children for the beautiful Willow Tree Memory Box. It is beautiful.
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1. Awake from your slumber! Arise from your sleep!
A new day is dawning for all those who weep.
The people in darkness have seen a great light.
The Lord of our longing has conquered the night.

Refrain: Let us build the city of God.
May our tears be turned into dancing.
For the Lord our light and our love has turned the night into day.

2. We are sons of the morning; we are daughters of day.
The One who has loved us has brightened our way.
The Lord of all kindness has called us to be
a light for all people to set their hearts free.

3. God is light; in God there is no darkness.
Let us walk in the light. God’s children one and all.
O comfort my people make gentle your words,
proclaim to my city the day of her birth.

4. O city of gladness now lift up your voice,
proclaim the good tidings that all may rejoice.

How do you celebrate…

… a hard anniversary of two different dates with two separate meanings? Dates filled with memories and pain in so few days all bunched up together….when all your children talk about is their baby brother’s birthday coming up?  Last week was so  hard to get through… How do you celebrate it? Well, I guess you just plan a cake a celebrate, after all, following his birth-date was his feast day.

Well… this was new to us. With Luke, Mark, and Karoline, we’ve made angel food cakes and said Happy Feast Day. This was different. How was the week going to go? Would we hold it together or fall apart…Would anyone remember?  As last Tuesday approached, we were a little quiet, trying not to plan too much for the next few days. It was a somber day in our home, but a day of rejoicing for our six year old nephew who shares this same birthday with Matthew. As we gathered the mail on those days, we were  touched by some cards we received.. what was the most touching was that they were from what some may call “strangers” while others would say  “friends.”  They remembered.. they took time to send a card to us..  families we’ve never met,  from states we’ve never visited…….. that  was how the week started…. later we received a card from the NICU where Matthew was cared for, with little messages form various doctors and nurses who knew Matthew.   Another card that touched us, was from the priest from the Trappist Monks. That was their job, to make caskets for families.  They didn’t have to, but what was so special was that it was hand written with Matthew’s name in it. As the days went on, we were so touched by so many emails, comments posted, and blog posts from others remembering our son.  Thank you all for the prayers as I am sure they helped hold us all together, especially the children. Cookie would say, “that was thoughtful.” (This is from a young girl who keeps her feelings to herself.)  The children were all so aware of their baby brother’s short life.

We did decide over the weekend, we would celebrate on both Tuesday and Thursday with a Cheesecake. The day we discovered Matthew was in danger and needed to head over to the Hospital, we were at a Cheesecake restaurant having lunch. (My only “allowed outings” last summer were to go get a meal and return to my room to rest.) Ironically, we left before even ordering a slice of Cheesecake.  If you know our family, you know that we only have dessert on the weekends or “dessert nights” unless there is a birthday or a feast day.. we certainly had that all wrapped into a few days. Our sweet neighbor from Poland surprised us with her homemade Cheesecake Tuesday morning. We celebrated Matthew’s gift of Life on Tuesday with Sundae style pancakes for breakfast, prayers at  the cemetery, and one half of the cheesecake, singing Happy birthday . The second half of the cheesecake was enjoyed on His Feast Day  on Thursday. We miss you sweet baby Matthew.

July 29

Thank you all for your prayers. We are so touched by all the kinds words from so many of you.

Here is the story of Matthew going home one year ago today.
Fiat

We miss you sweet baby.

St Matthew Karol, pray for us.

A year ago ( in song)

we were in San Antonio praying for a miracle. I can’t say a miracle didn’t happen, it did. It just wasn’t the miracle we prayed for, but it was a miracle. A year ago we were expecting our baby Matthew. He really was given no chance of survival. Everyone said his heart condition was fatal. He would never live beyond the womb. He lived with us for three days.

It’s not that I don’t have an answer
It’s just not the one that I’d like
But through this time Lord I must keep in mind
You’re always wiser than I

I thank God for getting to see him and even hold him. Looking back, I am sad that we never got to bath him or change his diaper. The NICU nurses were so attentive to his needs, I don’t think it occurred to them to ask us if we wanted to care for him that way.
I can’t tell you this year was easy. It was probably the hardest year to get through. So much happened that I really wasn’t up for. My only sister got married three and a half months after putting our baby to rest. I was the Matron of Honor. Although I wish I could say I was delighted to attend, the depression was so hard to see the joy. I wanted to avoid all photos. I think I wanted to just go back to my room and sleep the pain away. Looking back, I wished I smiled more while I was with her on her happiest day. John became a Godfather to our niece a few days after Matthew’s funeral. Our sweet friend delivered a healthy baby girl, our Goddaughter, a month after Matthew’s funeral. At her baptism, I was reminded that life goes on, people continue to marry, babies are born, families grow. Our daughter received her First Holy Communion on New Year’s Day. … another beautiful occasion to be in Mass. With every Sunday Mass, we were greeted with caring people asking us how we “were doing.” I don’t know if I can articulate “how we were doing” Everyone deals with a loss differently. A smile on our face was about all we could do, and return the question, “fine how are you doing?” With every song we sang in Mass, I think I sang them in my head, but I couldn’t form the words on my lips.
I know that I separated myself from group activities. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to interact with others, I just couldn’t find the smile I ‘ve always had while with others. I think one part that was so very hard was seeing life going on. I knew that is should, I just wasn’t ready to forget. I know many people have said, ” well, we just don’t know what to say. ” I understand. I really do. I don’t know what was more painful.. Ignoring that fact Matthew existed last year and all nine months before he was delivered. He was a baby brother to our five children, or bringing his name up. When regularly scheduled activities approached, I was sad.. I guess a little sad life went on and he was no longer here. Sad that regular things such as homeschool field trips happened and everyone was reared up and ready to go have fun. I could put on a smile, but inside I was dry. I guess a better description would be filled with apathy….

THIS COMPLACENCY IS WEARING ON ME
ALL MY PASSIONS TURNED TO APATHY
I COULD GET UP AND FOLLOW YOU
AND FIND MY FAITH FROM BEFORE
DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M WAITING FOR

Actually I think I was the most tearful at church. During Mass, so many gospels were read from the Gospel according to Matthew. I can completely separate the two Matthews. They are not the same, but certainly a namesake. I think in the Mass, we are so close to Heaven’s banquet and we know that our children and loved ones are right there! I picture St Faustina seeing the Infant Jesus dance around on the altar, and often wish I could see our baby Matthew celebrating the Mass right there with the priest knowing Christ is right there too.
Many times music has been my prayer time. On the days.. the weeks where I could find no words. I would drive my children to adoration and sit there.. sit there and watch my little ones build a puzzle on the floor, watch my older ones kneel and pray.. I would sit there.

Try to pray bow my head but life gets in the way
And I don’t even know what to say

Dryness… Spiritual dryness. I am human. I am weak. I know people seemed stunned to learn that even Mother Teresa experienced loneliness from Christ. I can say, I know that loneliness. It is not faithless, just loneliness and dryness.
I have watched this humble little blog searched for on the internet every single day since last year and think maybe this was all for someone else. Key search words such as, Matthew Snows blog, Godscanvas baby, God’s Canvas miracle needed, etc. I have been humbled yet again. There has not been a day that someone has not come to read a post on baby Matthew. I pray that if my story can help someone make it through a terrible scenario, then it was all worth it. One day I did receive an email from a lady who thanked me for my postings encouraging us to pray. Her husband was a non believer, and after following Matthew’s story last year, has now begun to Pray. I thank God. Where I have found myself unable to pray, others have prayed in my place.
As Father Corapi reminds us, Why does God allow suffering? To bring a greater good. There is always a plan for the Divine Maker.

WHEN THAT MIRACLE COMES CAUSE YOUR ANSWER IS YES
I WILL PRAISE YOU FOR ALL OF MY DAYS
BUT WHEN YOUR WISDOM DECLARES THAT A NO IS BEST
I WILL PRAISE YOU JUST THE SAME

Lyric credit below:
What I’m waiting for Lyrics: Jonny Diaz
Waiting room :Jonny Diaz

All I could say was…

Throughout our journey with Matthew, we were faced with so many doubts and negative remarks… my answer to each one was, “well, he’s alive today..” ( with a smile). Some took it hard and said ” Why bother?” others were just amazed we had  any hope at all. I think most of what we had was Grace. I think what Grace we had that came from so many prayers, carried us through the hard times as well as the hard questions from others as they questioned our openness again to life after so many trials.  God first of all, never promised  life in this world  would  be easy.. he also asked us to pick up our cross and follow him. …. I know there has been a thought that if we were able to lay our cross down at the altar and choose another, we’d look around the room and sheepishly take our own cross back. The crosses he asks us to bear are the ones He has chosen for us to carry. I once heard the words.. “It’s not always  happy endings, but its happy In-Betweens….”

This is one of the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through.  All those baby clothes were put away. The car seat, passed on to a new expectant mother,  The crib, tucked away under the bed. The cloth diapers, all bagged up.

We are slowly approaching July.. where so many of my “in-betweens” took place. All those baby kicks my children got to feel… All the hope that “maybe” it’ll work out…. I was never mad. I never questioned God. I did fall into a depression as anyone would losing a loved one. Its one I will come out of.  I am doing better.

it  is a cross…

Heavy,

Hard,

splinters in the shoulder, yes….

I  marvel at how God works. I am amazed at how I am met with a situation and say to myself, “I could never do that”… with each situation, God has challenged me…. I could never.. “oh yes you can, Emily…..”

With Matthew, I was told so many bad things,…. “he’ll never make it to…” He won’t….” You won’t be at your next appt…”

All I could say was.. He’s alive today. I’d look down at my  own expanding belly and say, he’s alive today.  If only I  was to know this son in utero…I knew him that day… Each day he kicked, each day he moved…. he was alive today. With every appointment scheduled, no one thought we’d be at the next.. ” He’s alive today….” the next appointment we’d go…

With each day, God wanted  us to know this baby,…on that day… He was alive that day…..

With any bad  situation, with every  bad prognosis, look for the good in  THAT day…. God allowed us to have Matthew alive each and every day in utero.  Our five living children only knew him in utero.. My Doctors knew him on the Ultrasound screen… he was alive that day.

All I can say now is, I wouldn’t trade  my time with Matthew inside or the three days we spent with him in the NICU for anything.  I am so grateful that God allowed us to spend  last summer with him.