Monthly Archives: April 2017

The Beginning…

It would be the epitome of conceit to believe that we at Hope House (and especially me, Monica, as a writer) could be the voice of every grieving parent out there, so we won’t even try. What I will do, as I write on behalf of Hope House, is tell you a series of stories, our stories from my perspective, showing you how they have intertwined and brought us to this vision of Hope House of Central Illinois. In sharing our stories, it is our desire to bring hope to other grieving families even in the darkest of days.

Our story begins with a mission trip to New Orleans to aid with recovery efforts from hurricane Katrina.

In early 2008, a couple gifted in construction (Michael and Teresa) led a missions trip to NOLA to aid in recovery in St. Bernard Parish. My husband Jon and Randy, a veterinarian friend, went as well. Shortly before the missions trip in February, Jon and I found out we were expecting a baby. I was 39 at the time. Michael was encouraged by our somewhat late-in-life pregnancy and mentioned to Jon his desire for he and Teresa to “throw their hat into the ring” and try again to have a child. They had struggled for many years with infertility.

A few nights into the mission trip, I was at home in Illinois working my night job as an ER nurse when I began experiencing early signs of miscarriage. I left work and miscarried at home. Communication with the mission team in St. Bernard Parish was unreliable at best. Once I finally reached Jon, he didn’t know if he could get home, because he had driven Randy’s truck (and Randy had flown). When Randy found out what was going on back home, he immediately offered his airline ticket, so Jon could get to me quickly. I was thankful Jon was able to fly home to be with me as I recovered.

We continued to pray for another pregnancy for ourselves as well as for Michael and Teresa. I specifically prayed for years that Teresa and I would get to experience pregnancy together and raise our kids together in our community and church, encouraging one another in parenting.

A few years passed. Randy and Gina had children graduate high school and go to college. Jon and I had our boys from my first marriage who graduated high school. Michael accepted the call to ministry and enrolled in classes at Lincoln Christian University. Life was rolling along, not exactly as we had planned but it was good. Michael and Teresa had attempted to foster some children, looked into adoption, and contemplated in-vitro.

They got the exciting news IVF was successful: Michael and Teresa were expecting twins in May 2013!

Winter 2012 brought the surprising news that Jon and I were expecting a child in July 2013. We had really given up the thought of ever having a child together, but here we were, pregnant. And at the same time as Michael and Teresa! We were all very excited.

What do you see?

We have all seen them. Those social media ink blot type photos that you are  supposed to stare at for 30 seconds then look away, blink three times, and see an image like Jesus or a bunny. Maybe a flower. The life of a grieving parent can be like an ink blot. You see one thing but after careful attention and then a glimpse from another perspective, you have a whole new picture. We grieving parents have buried a very very precious part of our lives. What would happen if we found a way to change that picture from having buried something precious to having planted something precious? With soil and water, things grow. With our tears we have watered what was planted at the burial of our children. What grows from that is up to us to some degree. Will it be a more loving and compassionate person in ourselves? Or will it be something not quite so pleasant? Don’t be too hard on yourself if what grows from your grief isn’t always pretty. After all, one of the most beautiful and well known flowers has thorns.