Today in our Messages from Moms series, Adrienne Graves tells us a little bit about how her local church supported their family, and also how strangers who love Christ cared for them. The Graves family’s experiences reminds me that the Church (with a capital C!) isn’t a building…
The Red Rocks Church family was amazing to us, and to Emily, during our time at the hospital. I seriously was oblivious to our needs at first, but they were not. They brought meals to us for 5 months, along with our friends and family contributing, too. Literally. 5 months of not having to worry about “What’s for dinner?” And, not just a drop at the front desk type of thing, but some of the people who brought meals would come and spend time with us. Yes, it’s uncomfortable for even people we know and know us to be in a hospital setting where a baby is gravely ill, but some of those who stayed with us didn’t even know us prior to Noah’s birth. They became our friends while we were in the hospital.
Some people are afraid to do that…they want to give you space, don’t want to be “a bother”. Since Em was there every day, too, she built friendships with our many visitors from church. They’d play with her and help her feel like a kid in the midst of this big unknown. We didn’t actually attend church but once while Noah was in the hospital, and that was the day my older sister and I got baptized, so as far as Em making connections to church members during that time, it all took place at the hospital or if members offered play dates or brought their own kids to visit her, in addition to her brother. This was huge!
In addition to our church body we have an amazing core group of friends with whom we do life. They rotated visits and always brought their kiddos along so Em would know she was special, too. Some people may not think it’s appropriate to take kids to visit at a hospital, but it’s a children’s hospital! It’s totally appropriate, and who knows, a visiting kid might just be inspired to be a medical professional some day just because they were allowed to see inside. Once Noah passed away we started going to church again at Red Rocks. Em made some really solid friendships with some of the kids there, all of whom were aware of her journey. They didn’t shun her or think she was a freak because her little brother died. They just chased her and tackled her, swung from the trees with her, and shared their snacks. Kid stuff. They were just kids together.
We had actually attended and served at a different church prior to Noah’s birth and overlapped attendance at that church and Red Rocks for several months. We had no ill feelings or anything for the former church, but just felt we were supposed to support the start up Red Rocks was doing in Colorado. That former church literally checked out after one week…Red Rocks along with family, friends, our neighbors, and even strangers from blog world all around the globe, surrounded us and walked through all the rough patches. A classroom of children in Korea “adopted” Noah and Emily and sent handmade pictures, artwork, and beautiful Korean treasures to our family. Our church and a sister church in Florida collaborated, and through a tremendous gesture of generosity, Jason and Emily and I hopped on a plane for a week and got away the Spring after Noah died for some time in the sun, at the beach, Disney World, and Sea World. To a 4 and a half year old girl who had just lost her brother, Emily thought she had won the lottery. It was important for her to be able to have both of her parents by her side as she laughed, and saw them smile again.
Thank you, dear Adrienne, for sharing your heart!
Tune in tomorrow to meet another phenomenal mom!
I know that you have probably many times heard “I am sorry for your loss”, but I truly am. I have first hand seen the drama and loss that losing a child can cause, along with the many hardships of having a baby in the hospital. My first wife was a wonderful nurse that worked in the NICU (newborn intensive care unit) for many years and still works in one, had a hand in caring for many very sick babies, some of which didn’t make it like Noah. But I also saw a lot of those that did, and the miraculous recoveries they made. It was hard when my first born was in the care of doctors that couldn’t explain what was wrong, and you go a little crazy. Thank you for sharing this touching story.