There is a community you never want to be a part of, no one wants membership. But you can't give it back and you're a lifer once you're in. That is the community of parents who have buried a child.
We are simultaneously glad that others have walked this path before (it gives us hope that we can go on) but our hearts are broken even more at the understanding that anyone else should have to experience this kind of pain. We wish no one would.
At the cemetery ours is currently the newest grave in the infant/child area. With the snow and ice there can be no gardening done to hide that fact, and it looks much as it did 10 weeks ago when we laid Jairus' body to rest there. It is difficult to see, though I go back as often as I can. Its still fresh in our minds and hearts, so in that way it makes sense to me that the burial plot still seems out of place in the wintry landscape. Because it is obvious that there is a new little grave there, we have experienced this community of grieving parents from a new and more intimate level. A little over a week ago I was able to go to the cemetery while the kids were at a friends house. One of the graves was covered with fresh rose petals. On the new fallen snow, the brilliant red petals were lovely. And sad. I think someone had a birthday, or anniversary of going to heaven. And to my great surprise, in the snow, from that grave to my son's, footprints, and flower petals. They had also covered Jairus' grave.
That seemingly simple act of kindness touched me so deeply. They came to mourn their own loss and celebrate the life that had touched their own, and additionally reached out to us in our fresh sorrow, knowing as only other parents can, how deep the wound we bear. For that, I am forever grateful.
I think there is a new sting to death when it happens again. When we were the last (that we knew of personally), there was almost a glimmer of hope in our minds that maybe we were the last ones to have to go through this. That no more babies would die. But we were wrong. And now we will "mourn with those who mourn". Another family in our church is grieving for their child, another baby gone to heaven. And while we grieve for little Kaylee Hope, we know that she is now in her Father's arms, where there is only joy and where all hope is realized. But it is still hard. It still hurts.
I have often thought, 'how does God bear all this pain and heart break?!' He chooses to love us not only in our joys but in our sorrows. It is stunning really, because it is His choice to do so. He loves us so infinitely that He allows our pain to be His pain, He weeps with us, aches for us. For He is the "man of sorrows, acquainted with grief." What kind of love is this? Only from God the Father could it be so. The one who knows what it is to see the lifeless body of His Son. He is also a member of this grieving community, but more so, He is the Hope for all the parents who have entered it. That one day even death shall die and we shall declare "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" What a glorious day that will be.