In Memoriam

On September 6, 2011, we laid down to rest, our third child Brooklyn Alexie Raines. She was only 37 1/2 weeks old and was delivered stillborn. Today, a year after, we commemorate her short life. I believe that even though I never saw her alive (though felt her kick many times while she was in the womb), she has given my family so much reason to live for. This is why I am writing this piece, to honor my little baby, and to ensure that her memory lives on and that her passing is not in vain.

What happened to us on that fateful day of 29 August 2011 can only be described as tragic. It was obviously the saddest moment of our lives and the pain, though it may ease up as the years go by, will probably never go away. However, I will not linger on this for no amount of commiseration will ever bring her back. Instead, I want to remember the short life she lived and what she meant to us.

I believe that despite what happened to us, there is still so much reason to rejoice and give glory to God for. Just a few months before, on June 5, 2011, we had a major car accident. You can see below the damage it has caused our car. We were hit from behind by an SUV running at the speed of 90 mph. The car was totaled. Miraculously, truly by God’s grace, all 5 of  us survived. Yes, Brooklyn too, survived the ordeal. Sadly, a few months after, she left us.

You may wonder…how can a baby survive such an accident and then eventually say goodbye? Why? I honestly do not know the answer. Certain circumstances that happen in life sometimes leave us without any clear explanation. It was God’s providence and I accept it. Of more importance to me, rather than answering the question why, is to ask what has God done for us? 

One of us was taken away but the Lord in His kindness and mercy chose the rest of us, all four of my family to continue living. I still have my two beautiful tots. I still have the most wonderful husband in the world who truly lives out 1 Corinthians 13 on a daily basis. I have lost Brooklyn (and my sorrow is beyond words) but the Lord allowed me to keep the rest of my family. For this I am truly grateful. I cannot ask for more. Brooklyn has shown us that life is precious and that every single moment counts.

  

If there are any lessons at all to be learned in this difficult experience; it is to truly trust God and to be thankful regardless of the circumstances. As I look back, I cannot imagine how I managed to keep myself in one piece if not for the love of God that has been shown through Mark, William and Sophie, my immediate and church family and countless friends. During the most trying times, they were there for me, lifting me up in prayers, helping me in practical ways and, comforting me in my grief. Sometimes it is when we go through the toughest times that we truly experience God’s love and presence. This is when I learned to trust Him more, to depend on Him more. I do not know what tomorrow may bring (Life is indeed short as Brooklyn’s experience has shown) but I am assured in Romans 8:28 that “…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”   

One of the Lord’s kindest providence was the timing of the burial. We wanted to have it on a Monday after my parents have arrived from the Philippines. However, we could not do it because it was Labor Day, a holiday, so we had to postpone it till the next day, Tuesday. This was the same day that my little boy William was to attend his first day of Kindergarten. I was apprehensive and a little anxious about the timing of it all. How can these two momentous yet significantly different situation happen on the same day? I didn’t know how I can bring myself to say goodbye to Brooklyn in the morning and then bring William to school immediately thereafter. It seemed odd. In hindsight, I think I know why the Lord orchestrated it this way. It was no mere coincidence. In the morning, as we laid Brooklyn to rest, I, and the rest of the family, were not only in tears but quite in deep sorrow.  But then just before noon, we were all excited to see William off to school. If it did not happen this way, I would have just been wallowing in my grief all day long. But the Lord reminded me, while there is much sorrow when you say good-bye to a loved one there is also much to rejoice when you see life around you. Taking William to school for the first time that same day gave me hope and peace and even joy knowing that I still have so much to live for.   

After what happened, I also have learned to appreciate and love my family more than ever. Yes, there are so many challenges in raising children and managing a household, but the Lord has given me the chance to build my own house (for this I am eternally grateful) and I hope and pray that I will give Him honor and glory as a Mom and a Wife. I thank the Lord for my loving family and for Brooklyn who gave us much joy albeit in a very short time. Like David, I look forward to meeting her again someday. 

For now, as we look at the many sunrises and sunsets in the horizon, we pray that we will keep Brooklyn’s memory afresh and never forget how the Lord dealt kindly with us during this very difficult time. My hope is that when you read this, not only will you remember our little Brooklyn but that you may seek the Lord, feel the same love that He has shown us, and have joy and peace amidst all trials and afflictions. To God be the Glory!


37 Comments

  1. September 7, 2012 / 2:32 am

    Oh Abby, I'm so sorry to hear of your lost… I have no words…. can only try to imagine what you must be feeling/had felt.

    However, you're showing great strength and lots and lots of faith. Your entire family is BEAUTIFUL and you are all pulling through this bravely.

    Keep smiling and keep looking forward 🙂

    • September 7, 2012 / 2:11 pm

      Thanks, Jen! It's been difficult at times but we are grateful for the many happy moments we continue to share as a family. Have a lovely week and thanks for dropping by!

  2. September 7, 2012 / 3:29 am

    Reading your posting I started craying and remembering my daughter who died the day after she was born at 32 weeks, eleven years ago. My faith has kept me sane and somehow blanced. I believe the little ones once gone from our world, God gived them wings and they become our guardiang angels. Mine has given me a beautiful son and always looked after me. Your little angel know how much all of you love her and will always be watching over all of you and love always.

    • September 7, 2012 / 2:16 pm

      Thank you so much for your sweet words, Giangi. I do cherish it a lot coming from someone who has been through what I experienced. I am sorry to hear about your daughter and thankful that you have been blessed by a son. I know that we both look forward to the day when we shall meet our daughters once again. May the Lord bless you and your family always!

  3. September 8, 2012 / 1:44 am

    Thank you for sharing this Abby. I believe this testimony has given the Lord His much deserved praise and glory and you have given us an example of hope, faith and gratefulness. You have encouraged me to keep on going, holding on to God's grace and promises. Right now, I am thinking of our trials with little Mikey. How I sometimes feel sorry for him and still wishing that he was born without down syndrome. How I feel tired of waiting until he reaches his milestone. We have a long way to go. But you remind me about being strong, not by my own strength but by keeping my eyes on the One who gives us strength and joy and peace.

  4. September 8, 2012 / 2:00 am

    Thank you Mildred. Am glad that this little article has helped. I will not forget how you have helped me last year by designing a memory box for Brooklyn. I often look at it 'cause it's one of the few mementos I have of her and for that I am grateful to you. Will continue to keep you, Mikey and the rest of your family in our prayers. Hope to see you soon. The Lord bless you, dear friend.

  5. September 10, 2012 / 1:52 pm

    I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, but grateful that you have hope in Jesus. How could we survive without that?! Keep your trust in Him, even when — no wait — ESPECIALLY WHEN it doesn't make sense and pain is intolerable. I am happy to see that you have honored her short life and that she will be always remembered as a loved child.

  6. September 10, 2012 / 3:54 pm

    Thanks, Tiffany! The hope that we have in Christ is something that enables us to go on and move on no matter what. Thanks for joining our site and for your very thoughtful words. Really appreciate it.

  7. October 27, 2012 / 12:55 am

    I just discovered your blog and reading through your posts led me to this page. I'm sorry for your loss but I admire your resilience and will, due, I'm sure, to your strong faith. He truly is the one who brings us hope, isn't He?

    You have a beautiful family.

    PS: Nice to know another filipina blogger. 🙂

    • October 27, 2012 / 1:30 am

      Thanks for stopping by Jean. Appreciate your kind words. You've got an amazing blog!

  8. March 30, 2013 / 12:10 pm

    hi! found your blog via pinterest! saw a pin that was tagged "manila spoon" and just had to go check it out. I'm south of you, in Cincinnati, but our 22 year old chef-daughter will intern for the second year this summer in Harbor Springs, MI. so good to find another filipina blogger.

    i've decided to comment here because we too lost a child, our first one, a boy, who died in utero. i empathize with your sorrow and pain. sending prayers.

    • March 31, 2013 / 2:53 am

      Hi Stef! So lovely to meet you and thank you so much for your kind words. Always a pleasure to meet another Filipina blogger. Hope your daughter enjoy her internship here! Keep in touch!

  9. May 17, 2013 / 10:39 pm

    I'm glad I found your blog. I'm deeply touched by your honest sharing and testimony. You have a wonderful family. This reminds me of the verse from John 10:10.

    Take care!
    xxx

  10. May 23, 2013 / 12:48 am

    I am so sorry for your loss, Abigail. I miscarried my first baby when she/he was just 6 weeks old. It was quite painful. I could not imagine how much more painful your experience was. God does work in mysterious ways. With you, I thank God that all of you were spared from the accident. Thank you for sharing your story. God bless you and your family always.

    ~Imelda

    • May 23, 2013 / 1:42 pm

      Hi Imelda, thank you for the sweet message and so sorry for your loss too. I believe that regardless of the age of the baby, any loss is painful. It has been a difficult journey but the Lord has miraculously sustained us and we are thankful. So happy that He kept the rest of us alive.

  11. August 29, 2013 / 4:03 pm

    So incredibly sorry to hear this, but glad you know that God is with you to help you through. God bless your family and your little angel Brooklyn.

    • August 30, 2013 / 3:16 pm

      Thanks, Christina. We are thankful for the the Lord's daily dose of kindness and grace. We are able to live through this on a daily basis because of His loving-kindness. Appreciate your sweet comment.

  12. August 29, 2013 / 5:09 pm

    What a lovely tribute, Abby. Thank you for opening your heart to us. <3 -Becky

    • August 30, 2013 / 3:12 pm

      Hi Becky. Thank you for reading the post. I didn't want to forget the memory of Brooklyn and who knows this could be helpful too for anyone who may have been in the same situation. Thanks for stopping by.

  13. August 29, 2013 / 8:30 pm

    Sweet Abby,
    I just got the chills from reading this… What a beautiful way to honor your baby. It was truly touching to read this post. I'm so happy that you and your family are alive & well. Much love xo- Emilie

    • August 30, 2013 / 3:10 pm

      Thanks Emilie, for stopping by. We are indeed grateful to be alive and The Lord continues to give us grace on a daily basis. Appreciate your kind words.

  14. Anonymous
    August 30, 2013 / 7:31 am

    Thanks for sharing this. As commented on Facebook, I remember you and Brooklyn all the time… Our due date was the same with our babies, Brooklyn for you, Samuel for me… As you know, Samuel is such an amazing miracle and gift to us after Josiah… I wish I could say I am healed from what happened to Josiah… While I am not yet there, I certainly can say that The Lord has been so good and generous to us through Josiah and Samuel. The pain may never go away, but hope, faith and His Joy comes when we most need it! Thank you for your encouraging writing! It means a lot to me as I mourn Josiah's birth and try to live life to the fullest with God's grace. Sending you much love! Lotti

    • August 30, 2013 / 3:08 pm

      The strength of your faith and your endless perseverance always inspire us Lotti. Thank you for your very kind words and we often think of you and your family, pray for you and looking forward to seeing you all again. 🙂

  15. August 30, 2013 / 8:02 am

    Dear Abby . I am so sorry for your loss . You are showing such a strength, I am sending prayers and love for you and your family. xx Misbah

    • August 30, 2013 / 3:01 pm

      Thank you so much Misbah, appreciate you stopping by and your very sweet words. 🙂

  16. August 30, 2013 / 9:00 pm

    Dear Abby, I am sorry to hear about your loss but glad to know that you have the Lord and He has seen you and your family through a very difficult time. May He continue to hold you and your family in the palm of His hand.

    In Christ…Biren XO

    • August 31, 2013 / 12:02 am

      Thanks, Biren. It's the hope that we have in Him that made it possible for us to move on. We praise the Lord for his continued mercy on our family.

  17. Anonymous
    September 17, 2013 / 2:07 am

    My search for a recipe with sour cream led me to find a sister in the Lord! 🙂 I have had the honor of standing by a friend who has gone through similar loss, also a believer. I cannot imagine the grief yet I am grateful for the hope all who trust in Jesus possess. I am so pleased to see you being bold and standing firm in your faith and doing so publically. If you ever want to have a link to a video presentation of the Gospel go to http://www.juststopandthink.com Pastor Francis Chan and Pastor David Nasser each have video (Just Stop and Think: the movie & Religion why it isn't working) Check them out I think you'll be glad you did. 🙂 Nice to meet you online and will someday see you in Eternity worshipping at the Throne!
    Lisa K.

    • April 3, 2014 / 2:40 pm

      Thank you so much, Lisa. I wouldn't have managed without God's grace.

  18. Anonymous
    December 28, 2013 / 9:30 am

    abby, I know this pain… Hold fast to the promises of God for death is not the end It is only the glorious beginning
    1 Thessalonians 4:17 john says …then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. and thus we shall always be with the Lord.

    wont this will be the ultimate family reunion? much love to you and your family… rho

    • April 3, 2014 / 2:42 pm

      Hi Rho! Thank you so much and I do look forward to the day when I will see my loved-ones again especially my dear Brooklyn. Blessings to you as well. May the Lord continue to keep you in His grace.

  19. April 3, 2014 / 1:56 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss! I found your website through Pinterest in search of a recipe for polvoron. May God continue to bless you and your beautiful family. Much luv to you, Sister in Christ!

    • April 3, 2014 / 2:46 pm

      Thank you so much Beth, I am so happy that the Lord providentially led you here. This is my own little way of encouraging those who may have gone through the same experience. May the Lord's blessings be upon you and your family, too sister.

  20. August 30, 2014 / 9:42 am

    G'day Abby!
    With a tear in my eye, I am so sorry for your loss beyond words and I truly admire your beautiful spirit that remembers Brooklyn and allowed you to share her with all of us today!
    Hugs!
    Cheers! Joanne

  21. Anonymous
    September 12, 2014 / 10:08 pm

    To God be the glory. It blessed me to read your post.

  22. August 30, 2016 / 10:52 am

    Oh Abby, I am so sorry to hear this. As I am reading, tears are streaming down my face. I can't even imagine what you are going through. You have such a beautiful family and I love seeing your gorgeous kids' smiles. What a beautiful tribute to Brooklyn. I am sure you are helping so many people going through a similar tragedy. God Bless. XO

    • September 3, 2016 / 2:54 pm

      Thank you so much Lauren! Appreciate you stopping by and reading this. God bless, too!

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