Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stories of Grief Love and Hope.

Today's guest writer is Sue Elvis.

Some years ago, I used to say, “I’m ready to do Your Will, Lord but please don’t send me any suffering.” Perhaps this wasn’t much of an offering. I knew suffering would involve much pain and I was afraid.

Often when I try to push fears to the back of my mind, God arranges matters so that I have to face whatever I feel I can’t deal with. And this was the case in 1999 when, for the first time in my life, I was plunged into a sea of suffering like nothing I’d ever experienced before. One day I was in full control of my life, the next, my world was in pieces and I was choked with the feeling that I wouldn’t survive. Finding out that our unborn baby was unlikely to survive after birth was a very frightening, distressing feeling and I was full of panic as I looked ahead to what should have been a happy event in our lives.

The next five months were a mixture of calm as I tried to place my trust in God, and despair as I contemplated holding our dead child in my arms. How could a mother be expected to survive the death of her own child? I prayed so much during those months asking God for a miracle of healing for our child.

Thomas was born and it was soon obvious that God had not healed him. There are not enough words to describe our pain and suffering. We watched Thomas been wheeled away to the intensive care unit, seconds after his birth, and our first look at him came hours later: a tiny body hooked up to a life support machine. Thomas lived 28 hours and that time seemed like months. We arrived back home 48 hours after setting off for the hospital and it was inconceivable that we had been away for such a short time. Our lives had been changed forever and it was difficult to come home and pick up the threads of everyday life…

This is the start to one of my Thomas stories. It comes from my book Grief, Love and Hope.

I started writing my Thomas Stories quite a few years ago. At first I just wanted to record our son’s life. He lived for only a fleeting moment and I wanted to say, “I have a son. His name is Thomas. He didn’t live very long but his life was valuable. And we love him so very much.”
Later a friend suggested I share my stories so that I could connect with other bereaved parents. Grieving is such a lonely existence. Sometimes we feel we are going crazy. Does anyone else feel like we do? And does anyone survive the deep sorrow of losing a child? By sharing we can encourage each other, give hope and lessen that feeling of isolation.

I wrote my first Thomas Stories for a homeschooling newsletter. Then I gathered these stories together, and added some more: my book Grief, Love and Hope came into existence.

After the publication of the book, I was very surprised to find I had still more to say about Thomas. He might have lived only for one day but he has affected our lives forever. I am continually amazed how our son works his way into my writing. So more Thomas Stories were written and I have been posting them on my blog Sue Elvis Writes, as well as on The Apostolate of Hannah’s Tears blog.

But now I feel my stories need a home of their own, a blog just for Thomas. So I have created Stories of Grief, Love and Hope.

I will be gathering all my Thomas stories together and posting them on this new blog. Some you will find in my book Grief, Love and Hope. And some have been published on other blogs. I am sure Thomas will keep on inspiring new stories so there will probably be entirely new posts too.

I would also like to write about the experience of miscarriage after losing seven little souls much too early.

Maybe you have experienced the sorrow of losing a child yourself, or you might be supporting the bereaved, or maybe you’d just like to learn more about the experience of grief.

If you would like to share my stories of our precious son, please visit my new blog, Stories of Grief, Love and Hope. I would feel very honoured if you read my posts.

And if you know of anyone who is suffering and might want to connect with another bereaved parent, I would be grateful if you told them about my blog.


  1. May the God of Comfort wrap your tender and sorrowful heart in His loving arms and grant you every grace to find peace and healing in His love.
    This deep grief and pain is unfathomable to me...and I have known suffering in my life that I felt "unbearable" at the time...but what you share here goes beyond all human comprehension; especially that of a "mother's heart". Thank you for bearing your sorrow before the world that others may find healing and grow closer to Christ's mercy and love because of you and your sweet Thomas. I have an online friend who shares a similar experience to yours, although her baby girl lived in this world a while longer than Thomas. I am sending her a link to this post this morning:) Thank you.

  2. Love Judy's comment and echo it completely. I look forward to reading more from you. I wasn't aware you also suffered 7 miscarriages. I will put a pay it forward link to this post on my site.

  3. Much of what you wrote is very familiar to me. I have lost 4 babies to miscarriage and last year we lost our 7 week old daughter who was diagnosed when I was 15 weeks pregnant with Holoprosencephaly, a brain disorder. To know that your child will not grow up is devastating. But God is a God of comfort and peace and strengthens faith during these times. My heart still aches and sometimes I ask why, but I am assured that she is healed and in a better place than we are. The story of Kara can be found here: http://www.sweetkarafaith.blogspot.com. We have 7 living children ages 20 to 3.

  4. Sue,
    Thank you for sharing some of your story here. I too join in Judy's prayer that you may be consoled in your grief. I know your testimony will help countless others. I may pass this on to a friend who lost their baby boy last year. He was born with a rare type of leukemia that brought along with it several other complications. They had their sweet boy with them for 28 days.
    Thank you again and may God bless you and Our Lady console you.

  5. I like Pumpkin Nut bread over anything :)
    :) Thank you for popping in.Nice to meet you :)

  6. Hi Sue, you know that I am already familiar with your story but it's impact is still as poignant now as when I first read it. I was very happy to see you post here! You should do it more often :)

  7. Nancy, my prayers are with you for the loss of your baby girl Kara.

  8. Sue,
    It's still hard for me to read your stories about Thomas without tearing up. In my mind I call him "little St. Thomas" because it is so obvious that through your stories God is using both you and this little saint to touch hearts all over the place. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing your grief, sorrow, healing, and faith with us. Through this you are helping other suffering mothers who have lost babies (including those who have lost children during various stages of pregnancy). May our Lord bless you and anoint you and may sharing your Thomas stories bring continued healing to your own heart and to the hearts of others.

    Nancy, my heart goes out to you in your loss and I will be praying for you and your family.

  9. What tenderness and compassion are in your words. I have twice miscarried and though they never came to term for some unknown reason with the 2nd miscarriage I had named this wee child, Matthew Thomas. I'd not named any of my living children in the 1st 6 months of my pregnancies, yet in 9 short weeks this child had a name. I trust that he will be one of the first to meet me when my time is due, Thank you for this post! Cathy

  10. I am so overwhelmed with everyone's kindness.

    Thank you to Victor for suggesting I write about my blog and for posting it here on my behalf.

    And thank you everyone for your compassion and prayers and your encouragement.

    Judy and Karinann - I hope the mothers you mentioned will find a kindred spirit if they visit my blog. I feel there is such comfort in knowing you are not alone, that someone else understands.

    I certainly connected with you, Nancy when I visited your blog. Your writings about your beautiful daughter touched my heart and brought back so many feelings and memories. Thank you for leaving your blog address. We also have 7 living children aged 24 to 7, not that different to your family!

    Mary and Colleen, you have been so helpful and I am vey grateful for your suggestions, and links and mentions of my blog. I was so surprised to see Thomas' book button in your side bars. Thank you!

    Cathy, thank you for sharing your own grief story. I think that this is what it is all about. It's not just about me telling Thomas' story but about using my grief experience so we can all share together, so we can help and support one another.

    Noreen - maybe I will write more posts here if Mary thinks they are OK! Thank you for your friendship. I value it highly.

    Thank you everyone for your prayers. I am keeping everyone in my prayers too. Please pray that God will use Thomas and his stories to bring comfort to any parent who is grieving.

  11. Glad to see you here Sue! Hugs and prayers!

  12. Thank you, Colleen! The hugs and prayers are appreciated. May God bless you.

  13. "Nancy" is the mother to whom I was referring in my comment and I am SO glad that she stopped in to read this beautiful post and that the two of you have now connected at heart:)