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February 16, 2011

When you say nothing at all...


These words take on a whole new meaning to me now.

For just seven and a half years ago, these words were part of a song played at our wedding reception. "You say it best, when you say nothing at all." In other words, our love didn't need to be spoken of. It was a look. It was feeling.

Today, when others say nothing at all, I crumble a little more inside. A little more of me fades away.

I recently read in a devotional book of another mother who has suffered a similar loss as mine. She said this, "You add to my pain when you choose to ignore it." What words, what truth to me.

For so many do not know what to say, but please, say something. When you know someone who is going through such pain or sorrow. Say something. This is a lesson that I have been learning, unaware of pain I may have been causing in the life of others. Unaware of what "silence" can really do to a soul.

Thank you for being here with me, reading these words. You are saying that you care. You are saying that you love me and hurt for me. Thank you. It is because of so many of you that I have the courage to press on especially when I go through something like this...

I had a terrible experience today. Not quite as heart wrenching as my post about the dentist, but a close second.

For the last 6 months, I have taken my sweet son (Elijah Braden) to speech class. He experienced severe hearing loss before the age of two and has had a hard time pronouncing his consonants. So, every Wednesday from 11-12:00, we go to speech therapy.

And for the last 6 months of my pregnancy, Maddie Grace came along, kicking and hiccupping, she came.

Elijah's therapist has been wonderful with him. She takes her time to help him and he has made so much improvement, but on this day; I felt like she overlooked us. I felt as if she ignored our lives, our sorrow, and our pain.

She didn't say one word to me about losing Maddie. She didn't ask how our family was doing and I felt that she was quite short with Eli and his "not quite there" attention that day. I had to explain to her that he too, had been through a lot. This was something she should of known. Our whole family was hurting, suffering. Our whole family has been affected.

We haven't just lost a baby. We have lost a family member. She was a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece. She had a life. She had weight in this world.

So, as I sat there and listened to her practice K sounds with my little boy, I thought "I would never just say nothing, I would say something, anything, whatever."

Nothing was said.

I remember tearing up as I watched her with him. Again, I wanted to cry out. "Don't you know? Don't you get it? She's gone. The baby that has come with me week after week. My belly that we discussed. Her name that you knew. Her? She's not here, do you know that? Her room is empty and she will never spend one night around the dinner table with us. She's not here. She's not here..." But instead, I sat there silent, biting my lip and holding back tears, smiling at Eli as he finally got his k sound.

As I left that day and the words "Good to see you back" were uttered to me. I was in shock, that was it? It hurt so very much that nothing was said. I walked to my car and bawled. Would I be able to do this? Could I go on? I still have a swollen belly that reminds me everyday that she was here. Yet, I felt the whole world was moving forward and I wasn't ready to.

Maybe I overreacted. Maybe I shouldn't have been upset, but I was.

Maybe she didn't know what to say, and that's why she said nothing, I don't know. I was crushed.

One thing I have learned through this is I will never forget. I feel so bad for those mother's who have gone through this before me with whom I did not continue to talk about their sweet children and babies. The children that took part of their hearts when they left. Those sweet babies that made a difference in this world. I will never again forget to speak their names.

So, please make me cry. Mention her name. Tell me what she means to you, but please. Please. Don't forget my sweet girl. Maybe in time, I won't need it as much, but for now, right now, I need to hear of my sweet Madeline Grace. I need to talk of my sweet Madeline Grace. I only have 2 days to last me a lifetime. I will do my best to live life praising and loving the One who gave her to me. But remind me. Help me, I need you.

So, if you don't know what to say to someone who's hurting, that's okay. Sometimes there are no words but just an "I'm praying for you." That is more than enough.

For those of you who have taken the time. To those of you who have read, and written and prayed. To those of you who have mentioned her name and what she has meant to you. And there have been many...

Thank you.

From the bottom of my heart. Thank you for saying something. You will never know how it has helped my heart and soul to heal.

Thank you.

And thank you to my Lord who I know remembers the pain and the hole in my heart. The God who lifts me up and helps me to press on, everday. The same Lord who gave me His child in exchange for the payment of my sins. I am so grateful for this. Thank you, Lord for knowing my heart and saving me from my sins. Thank you Lord for your Son and thank you Lord, for my daughter.

Isaiah 53:3-5 He was despised and rejected of men; acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him: he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our grief's, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.


  1. Thanks for this post, Natalie. I'm one of those odd people who never knows what to say either. When my dad died I remember some people who never said anything about it to me or my family and you're right, it does hurt. A hug or a "praying for you!" helps SO much! People who act like nothing happened because they're afraid of making you cry or hurting your feelings are hurting more than helping. Bless their hearts, they have good intentions! :) Its easy to rejoice with them that rejoice, but not so easy to weep with those that weep. We need more weeping together. Yes, its draining and hard and emotional but its so helpful and healing and comforting to someone who has had such a loss as you. I am one of those "sympathetic" cryers. ;) But honestly, every post I've read has made me weep. Not just because its a sad story but because my heart hurts for you guys. Our family has prayed for you and I've cried so many times for you. Thank you for teaching us some things about grief and helping those around us who are grieving. Maddie is a beautiful perfect little girl! Praise the Lord for Heaven!

  2. Natalie,

    You probably don't know who I am, I went to Crown for a few years. When I heard about your story and Little Maddie Grace, my heart broke for you. I have been following your blog and praying for you daily.
    This post especially helped me because my sister inlaw is going through a hard situation similar to yours and you have given me a glimpse that she will want to talk about it as well. I just don't know what to say to her and we lve in different states so I can't even hug her. I hope that letting her know we remember and care is helpful to her as well.
    You have really given me to love the people in my life like there is no tomorrow. I think and pray for you every time I see a little Maddie bird!
    She is not forgotten!
    Kim Speckman(Winebrenner)

  3. Nat,
    My heart is constantly breaking for you. I just read the last two posts and I can't express into words how deeply I feel for you. Picturing you at the cemetery and at Eli's speech appt. saddens me. I wish I could hold your hand through everything your going through but I know you have a wonderful husband and family that is with you through it all. The Lord has given you strength, and a story to tell others of how you are able to make it through this tragedy. I am so proud of you that you continue to praise the Lord and serve Him through every circimstance. I love you dearly.

  4. Natalie - You don't know me, we have never met. I came across your blog because of a Facebook post of a friend who said she was praying for your family. I have read every post every day since, and always cry as my heart breaks for you. This is every parent's worst nightmare. I am even more sensitive to this issue right now because I am expecting.

    I have always been one of those people who didn't know what to say to others who were suffering through a loss, so I have not said anything. In fact, I have not posted anything on here for the same reason. I wanted to thank you for this particular post because I never realized that my silence could be adding to the pain. I will be much more aware of the needs of others in the future. I can relate to the speech therapist. I probably would have handled the situation about the same way, though I hope I would have at least said I was sorry for your loss. Anyway, thank you for helping me to understand, and to know that I should go ahead and say something, even though it will still hurt. Thank you for allowing us a glimpse inside your pain. I pray for you daily ~ Judi

  5. I have been praying for you. I am a friend of Heidi Schatz and Kelsey Lott. My heart hurts for your pain. Thank you for sharing this post - perhaps those who don't know how to say something, or just can't bring themselves to say something, will understand a little better now.

  6. You do not know me and we may never meet this side of eternity but I pray for you so often. My friends, Faith Pinkerton and Tristen Cornwell went to school with you and linked your blog to their facebook page.

    I have cried, reading your posts. I have been convicted, challenged, encouraged and today, rebuked. I have committed to pray for you and your sweet family. Your beautiful Maddie will never know pain, sin or sorrow. She is HEAVEN!! It's where we all cannot wait to be and look forward to spending eternity. Your heart knows such a deep sadness but you have the blessed hope of KNOWING that you will see her again!!! May God continue to carry and sustain you and yours. Much Christian love to you. Rachel Feehan

  7. Natalie, you don't know me either, I am so glad you wrote this blog. Your Maddie was a beautiful, darling little baby. Speak her name often show her pictures continue to let others know what they can do for you and your family. Please know I have been praying for all of you since I first saw the post on FB.I am so happy you know the Lord. Yes in the darkness He is the only one that truly knows our pain and is all ways there to listen to our cries of sorrow. Maddie is with him now safe and sound in His loving arms and you will see her again on day! keep the faith Natalie
    In His Love, Debbie

  8. Natalie,

    You are so right that silence only adds to the pain.

    I remember so many times being so bewildered when people who KNEW my son (we'd had him much longer than two days) said nothing. I was always crushed, but as time went on, I was disconcerted and nervous, wondering if maybe they DIDN'T know, and then I worried for their embarrassment and anguish over the discovery because of an experience at our local small town grocery store; the grandfatherly guy that always carried my groceries out said "Hey, where's the little guy?" and I cringed and (sigh) pretended I didn't hear him. I started shaking. He asked again, "Don't you have another?"

    He was so kind- I ached and didn't want to shock him- but I turned with tears spilling down my face and whispered. . ."he died. . .SIDS. . ."

    The absolute horror and disbelief on his face made me realize that having strangers talk about your loss in "unsafe" places like the public grocery store is scary too.

    You are right that acknowledment of pain is always well received.

    To people who don't know what to say to someone who has experienced the tragic death of a child. . .

    You can't imagine the pain? Then say that. That phrase admits that losing a child is a staggering loss.

    You are so sorry? Say that. It's small, you may think. It's actually huge. Make eye contact. Say "I'm so sorry." Stop. That's enough.

    Your heart aches for your friends? Say that.

    You don't want to make them cry? They're crying. If they don't feel safe enough to cry in front of you, they will just bottle it in and let loose as soon as they reach their church bathroom / vehicle / front door. Not being afraid of your friends grief is one of the biggest gifts you can give them.

    Love them. . . show your love. . . don't ignore. . . just love them.

    Even if it's sitting there and handing out endless Kleenex.

  9. On this day I have no words. But want you to know that I would have a lot of questions for you if I were near you. I have 3 very good friends who have walked this road...and still do. And all of them have taught me to open my mouth, to ask for memories to be shared, to ask to see love their children with them.

    I love your Maddie with you.

  10. I wrote this for a friend who lost a son hours after her was born..

    I cannot understand your pain, or even go there briefly.
    I have never lost a child or even felt your grief.

    My life has been a series of blessings, not deserving more than you.
    I am realizing things may change and there is nothing for me to do.

    The roads of our life were carved in Grace, before the world was made.
    And the life we have, though sometimes hard, none of us would trade.

    The portion that was given to me, is vapor in my hand.
    Quickly life is falling through, now more than ever, I understand.

    Often I have sat with others and could do no more than weep.
    Hoping we could wrap our minds around a pain much too great to keep.

    I know you do not know me, but we have been one place together.
    The Throne of God is our common ground, and will be now and forever.

    We could have easily met at the Cross, you would have seemed familiar.
    For it’s at that spot we are the same and our burdens are much lighter.

    I see my daughter in the face of your precious little baby.
    Knowing all well I will get to see her grow into a sweet young lady.

    So I do not presume to feel the full grasp of the pain that you will suffer.
    But I do have your heart, for I am too a mother.

    Wishing I could take it away, will not move this mountain.
    But taking you to the throne, I leave you at a fountain.

    That precious fountain filled with blood, spills not just for sins forgiven
    But gives the grace that you will need, until you meet him in Heaven.

    I also leave you with a Father, who truly knows your pain.
    Though willingly he gave His Son, His hurt is just the same.

    This mother prays for you today, tomorrow and years to come.
    Until you get to worship the Father,
    Who is taking care of your son.

    In Christ,
    Tammy Pulsifer

  11. Natalie,
    You have been such an encouragement to me. I've read every post. I check everyday to see if you have written more. Your story is so captivating to me. It's amazing to see how God works and what He can get us through by His strength.

    I'm only 19. I have a really close friend who has 2 boys and a girl, whose name is Grace. The similarities of the ages of her kids and yours really helped the story to hit home with me. I couldn't imagine anything happening to my sweet "nephews and neice". I love them so much. Because of your example, I can see that God can get me through anything He tries me with.

    I have an older sister who was born with 2 holes in her heart. I am 3 years younger than she is, so I was not aware of most of what went on during the scariest of times. She had open heart surgery when she was 4. My mom is a beautiful singer, and because of what my parents went through with Cyndi, they always would sing "O Rejoice in the Lord". It's been our "family lullaby" since I can remember. We would sing it often in church together as a family. Here are the lyrics:

    Rejoice in the Lord by Ron Hamilton

    God never moves without purpose or plan.
    When trying His servant and molding a man.
    Give thanks to the LORD, though your testing seems long.
    In darkness, He giveth a song.

    He makes no mistake.
    He knoweth the end of each path that I take!
    For when I am tried and purified,
    I shall come forth as gold.

    I could not see through the shadows ahead,
    So I looked at the cross of my Saviour instead.
    I bowed to the will of the Master that day,
    Then peace came, and tears fled away!

    Now I can see testing comes from above,
    God strengthens His children, and purges in love.
    My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
    Through purging, more fruit I will bear.

    Maddie Grace is a beautiful baby girl. I just love her hair and her cheeks! I have told many people about your amazing story and what God has done in your life. My friend once told me when I was struggling with something, "God uses people" I want you to know that God has used YOU in my life. I've prayed for you often.

  12. Natalie, I'm so sorry that she didn't say anything. That must have been so aweful. I am sad to say that I would have probably been that person. I don't know her, but I can imagine she just didn't know... she didn't know if you would want to talk, or even what to say. I'm sure it was uncomfortable and that's why she didn't say much to you and you felt that she was short. Of course I am just speaking from what I would think I would have done. Thank you for sharing this. If I know someone that has been through something like this I will push myself to say something. I would hate to think that I would make someone feel like you felt. I'm sure there were questions in her mind about your beautiful baby girl. I'm sure if she knew what pain she had caused you that she would have said something. My prayers are with you. I read your posts daily and I pray.

  13. Thank you so much for continueing on this blog. It has encouraged me many times to keep on fighting the good fight, that Heaven is just ahead. I just wanted to say that I'm praying for y'all. *hugs* Keep on going sister, you will see Maddie Grace again one day in Heaven. Matthew 18:10b says, "That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." And one day we too will behold His face for we shall see Him as He is and we will see the precious little ones again.

  14. You don't know me, but I first saw you on some pictures posted from our "mutual" pohotographer and knew of the excitement of your sweet baby girls arrival. I just want to thank you for writing this blog. Today's entry just really got to my heart. I have heard so many people say they just don't want their loved one to be forgotten.
    I just want you to know,I feel like I know your sweet Madeline personally and because of your story and the things you have written, she has touched my life and I know so many others. I know that does not help your pain, but may you know that Madeline's life and your words that you have written have already been a tremendous encouragement to me in my walk with the Lord. I have actually told several people that I really think you could write a book, in honor of Madeline so even more lives could be touched and encouraged. You write so well. Thank you for your testimony and faithfulness to the Lord. You will NEVER know how much it has touched my life in the last month. And by the way your Madeline = BEAUTIFUL!!! I can see her daddy in her! Thank you for sharing pictures also. I have been praying for you on a daily basis.

  15. I often think this goes for women who have miscarried. They too would like to talk of the baby that they will never get to meet, till they go to heaven. Was it a boy, was it a girl, who would they have looked like? My prayers for family and all families that suffer the loss of a child.

  16. Natalie,

    My husband and Rick were dorm-mates and so were we. I am so sorry to hear that you can no longer hold Baby Maddie in your arms. After our miscarriage, Derek has always been conscious to remind me that we did not "lose" a baby...we know right where our baby is. Sitting in Jesus lap, rocking in His precious rocking chair. I just found your blog today and have been shedding tears for you and with you. We will keep you in our prayers!!