This Sunday (November 23) marks the two year anniversary of the day we delivered our Luna Eugenia. She was delivered stillborn after being diagnosed with a chromosomal disorder called Turner Syndrome. We still celebrate this day as her birthday.
I also had the privilege of starting a new chapter in Biology class this week – Genetics. I hadn’t anticipated really getting to talk about Luna so close to her birthday, but it just so happened that today we looked at karyotypes and I got to show them hers.
We looked at the missing space where an X chromosome should have been, and I told them about how grateful I was for the technology to allow us to know what was going on with our baby girl. I asked them to imagine being pregnant and thinking that everything was going well until one day you go in to the OB and they can’t find a heartbeat. That would have been more difficult to bear than what we had. I am grateful for the six weeks between diagnosis and death that I had to value and savor every single moment with Luna.
There was also a rare chance where I got to speak to my students about why we named her Luna. I explained that the moon has no light of its own and only reflects the light of the sun. In the same way, as a Christian, I know that I have no light of my own and I only reflect the light of Christ to the world. Luna’s name and Luna’s story remind me to shine brightly for Christ no matter what the circumstances are.
I anticipated these holidays being difficult without my dad, Jen, Luna and Jake, but I have found that my mood has been better recently. Perhaps the constant reminders of those I’ve lost have actually served to keep my focus in the right place. Maybe I’m just happy that I get to see the rest of my family more during the holidays. Regardless, I’m thankful that I get a little break from the grumpiness and anxiety of my grief.
I came up the stairs in MACA to go to my lab and there was a slanted rectangle of light on the floor where the sun was streaming in a glass door. You know the kind. The kind where the light hits all the particles in the air and it looks like a snow globe and the whole world seems to glow. I stood in that doorway and felt the warmth of that sun and it really felt like a hug. I don’t usually say cheesy things like that, but it really did feel like a warm hug. And it made me think about what I have to be thankful for.
1) I am thankful for Luna. For the experience of having her. For the reminder of how to live because of her. For the warmth of knowing her. For my children who still talk about her and make things for her.
2) I am thankful for losing Luna. Without losing Luna when I did, I would not have been able to be in the hospital when Jen died. She died two days after my due date with Luna and I would have had a hard time being there with a newborn (or being so enormously pregnant). Also, if I had not lost Luna, I would not have Joe. And Joe lights up my world. He hugs like my dad, bosses me around like Jen and makes goofy smiles like Jake.
3) I am thankful for my family. Both living and dead. I have learned so much from all of them and I value each and every one of them. They shape me. They support me. They make me who I am. They are funny and smart and attractive. They are kind and generous and patient. They are everything I am not and everything that I am. They fill all my gaps and make me into someone whole.
Even though my struggle through grief hasn’t been easy and I have so much to work on, I am thankful for the life that God has given me. It has given me a platform that I wouldn’t otherwise have. It has taught me to rely on Christ when I have nothing left. It had made me compassionate and patient. It has created in me a grateful, joyful heart.
That God really knows what he’s doing, doesn’t he?
So when Sunday rolls around, we encourage you to think for a moment about the light you are reflecting and we hope that Luna reminds you to reflect the Son as brightly as a full moon.