Zachary: 2016 started out as one of the most exciting years for me and my wife, Amanda. We were living in Calcutta, India; working at Calcutta School of Music and starting our own company to support local artists and musicians in the city. Amanda was expecting our first baby, Chloe West Ray, and she was due to arrive at the beginning of December. Amanda was in her third trimester when she became very sick one night. We admitted her into the hospital in Calcutta, India on a Monday night. Tuesday morning Amanda was feeling better and Chloe seemed to be doing ok too. Wednesday morning, before we were about to leave the hospital, we went in for one more ultra sound. I can still hear the doctor say, “We can’t find a heart beat” as if it was today. We found ourselves sitting in that hospital room broken and confused, with no idea of what the next steps would be.
There were very few words of comfort that helped. Although people were praying and offering their words of comfort, it felt like a season of being abandoned by God. The dreams of holding our little girl were stolen and shattered. Grief is a funny thing. The initial sting and pain becomes dull over time, but the memories and dull ache continues. I don’t think our hearts are created for this world to overcome “grief” from tragedies or loss of loved ones; it becomes a part of our story, our life. We become a different person. The beautiful thing is that God stays the same and meets us where we are. I can honestly say God tangibly became my refuge in one of the darkest times in my life. He brought a healing into my soul like no earthly person could. We may never be the way we were before, but He shapes us into a new and often stronger person. I don’t think we get over grief until we leave this world.
We found out the following year that we were expecting another baby. Due to the loss of Chloe, it was difficult to not allow our fear and worry to overwhelm our joy. We simultaneously jumped for joy, and breathed a sigh of relief when our son was born.