children • education • parents
relationships • marriage • the elderly


Letter to Our Baby in Heaven: The Mystery of Miscarriage

April 3, 2017 by

Darling –

A few months ago I walked along the coastline and found a tiny shell, shaped just liked the hand of an unborn baby.

the shell in Norann’s hand

The moment I picked it up and held it (your hand in mine), I realized that this was the week of your eighteenth birthday. Except that it wasn’t, because you left us before we could ever hold you and care for you. Your birthday was your heavenly home-going day.

But for the short time you were with us – for those precious weeks I carried you “beneath my heart” (as my German mother would say), and which we blithely assumed would meld into months as you readied for this world – we loved you and knew you as our own. We sang and talked to you daily and welcomed your joyous presence into our lives. We tried to imagine you and all you would become.

And then... we lost you.

You came and went, and broke and mended our hearts all at once. For as much as we miss you and wonder who you would have been on earth, you are our forever baby, our eternal child.

You are an enduring, unchanging soul – totally young and fully completed.

You anchor us to eternity even now, just as you did then, when, adrift in our heartache my husband and I mourned your loss, and tried to give each other grace-space to discover the way woman and man navigate grieving differently, and how it is always personalized.

You are the embodiment of the deepest joy and greatest pain, continuously connecting me in a collective tornado of grief to a million other mothers whose children have left them too early.

And right now, as I hold this perfect shell, I am perfectly sure of why you came and left: in purely entering our lives and silently leaving, you were doing God’s work. Your every moment was counted, your every heartbeat recorded, your life forever written into ours. And through the suffering of your departure, we have come to know the suffering of many. We have come to know the celebration of every life, regardless of the length.

Without ever drawing a single breath, you taught us about love and trust and letting go. And even as we slowly learned these lessons, we knew we were held – sometimes cradled, sometimes gripped – but always and all ways held firmly in the palm of a good, all-knowing Hand.

You taught us to not only grudgingly accept but openly embrace God’s plan. That plan is painful at times, oh yes. But there is healing in the pain that brings you to your knees, turns your face upwards and bars bitterness from your heart’s door.

And so we know we did not lose you. Though I at times feel lost, I am held by the certainty that you, my child, are waiting to welcome us, pointing our way to the Place you already call home.

Coda: Yesterday we celebrated our oldest living child’s seventeenth birthday. As he bent down and kissed my forehead, his strong hands on my shoulders, I felt profoundly grateful for all of my life up to this moment – for everything that’s brought us to here, including the most difficult things which have blessed us in ways we would have never imagined.

Follow Norann on Twitter at @NorannV. Comments

About the author

Norann Voll portrait

Norann Voll

Norann Voll lived in New York’s Hudson Valley until moving to the Danthonia Bruderhof in New South Wales, Australia in 2002...

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  • Dear Norann, What a profoundly tender letter, to your baby! There were comments in your letter that helped me with my own grief when our child went to heaven. Yes, my husband and I did grieve differently - each of us in the way that was right for us. I loved that you say 'totally young and fully completed'. Yes, i believe that! I loved your phrase, 'you anchor us to eternity'. Yes. Knowing my child is with God, comforts me in knowing that we still have connection. I was touched with your words, 'you are the embodiment of the deepest joy and greatest pain'. Yes. And i too believe that in each child's life, no matter how short, each one does 'God's work' in a perfect way. Thankyou so much for ministering to us all with your exquisitely beautiful letter to your little one. I also loved the photo! Just perfect! Love, Heather xx

    Heather Kerridge