Never Did I Think
My name is Johanna Diaz, I am married to a wonderful husband and father and we have a sweet 5 year old daughter, Jailanie Isabella. She’s my joy, my motivation and the apple of my eye.
Life was going great for my family and I, we had plans of purchasing our first home and loved our two girls, Gyzelle, my stepdaughter and Jailanie very much. We decided we were ready to continue to grow our family and had been trying to conceive for about a year. Everything was going as planned until July 31st 2015. Gyzelle was involved in a tragic car accident and passed away at the young age of 14.
We felt like our lives were falling apart. I was confused and didn’t understand. I was completely devastated and my heart ached so much. How could I be there for my husband if I didn’t know how to cope with this myself? From that day on our lives changed forever…
God was giving us this indescribable peace and healing to our hearts as we continued to walk forward.
On November 2015, we found out I was expecting. This brought so much joy to our hearts, knowing we were just given the most precious gift and we knew God was in all of this. He answered a prayer and a desire of mine for the past couple of years when we found out that we we’re having a GIRL, the excitement and joy I felt was amplified by a million. That day I started the most amazing yet heart wrenching experience of my life. At my 20 week appointment I found out I had an incompetent (short) cervix. And my pregnancy, thereon after was at high risk and extremely difficult as I was put on complete bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy. I reached 27 weeks when my water broke. The doctor explained I caught an infection, the baby’s heart rate began rising and this could be a sign that she caught the infection as well. They immediately prepared me for an emergency C-Section. As I laid on the hospital bed, I cried. I yelled at God because I was so scared –it was just way too early for her to come. I started praying and begging God to save her and for her to be born healthy, to intervene and protect her. On Monday April 25th, 2016 our beautiful baby girl Melannie was born. I only took a glimpse at her when the doctors were taking her to the NICU, they seemed very positive. The doctor said she was a strong baby and weighed 2.5 pounds.
On the early morning of April 26th the head nurse called my husband frantically and told us to rush to NICU as Melannie was not doing well. They wheeled me down to NICU, where the room was full of nurses and doctors –yet all I heard was silence that came from my daughter. I was still very weak and numb and could barely open my eyes. I suddenly heard the nurses walking out of the room saying “I’m so sorry”. Still with my eyes closed, I said “NO! This is not happening, not again God, please, don’t let us go through this excruciating pain again”. The pediatrician came to inform us that her heart had unexpectedly failed and they did all they could to keep her alive until I arrived. And there we were, in this lonely and quiet room, I opened my eyes because I wanted to finally meet her for the first and last time. I saw her lying in her incubator, so beautiful and so perfectly peaceful with her darling outfit on. My husband held her and brought her close to me and we wept and moaned in agony as she entered the gates of heaven.
Our lives broke horribly twice within a matter of months. We lost not one child, but two! When I found out I was pregnant, never did I think that I would leave the hospital without her. I was looking forward to that day, I was ecstatic out of my mind. Never did I think that we would end up being parents that lost two children. Never did I think that this would become our life. Losing a child is not a normal thing, let alone losing two, and the anxiety that comes along with it is fierce: Fear of losing everyone you love, fear of the ones you love getting hurt, fear of ever getting pregnant again, fear that your body will fail you and your family and so much more...
I remember walking away from the funeral home wondering how could I possibly explain to my daughter what just happened to us once again. How could I encounter her with a straight face and tell her, without breaking her heart into a million pieces, that her baby sister who she was so anxiously waiting to meet will not be coming home with us. How could I continue to live life as normal when all I could possibly think about was how our sweet baby Melannie was gone?
I found myself sinking and drowning, ready to call it quits. I wanted to be alone, I didn’t want sympathy, I wanted my baby. I wanted to sleep all day so I didn’t think or feel pain. All I did was sob. I cried myself to sleep every night. I felt like my world was going to stay in those few weeks of complete pain. I was lost, confused and distraught. I could write for 24 hours, 7 days a week and use every word in the dictionary and it still would not express how excruciating that pain felt. I began to question my faith, yet I held onto it for dear life because it was all I had (even though I was holding on by a string, ready to let go). I didn’t see light and I was very close to the end of this dark tunnel. I immediately cried out to God asking Him, “Where are you?” Do you see me struggling here? Can you hear me? I felt this feeling of absence.
The good news is this feeling of absence is all over the bible. David, Job, and even Jesus asked the same question. One of the most common questions in the bible is “God where are you?” (Psalms 22). God’s response, "I am with you". I am present in the absence. The most common command in the bible is “Do not fear, I am with you.” (Psalms 23)
God was faithful and I didn’t stay there forever. My contentment was found in something secure and contact –God. I felt the Holy Spirit working in my heart and bringing things to light that I didn’t realize. He quietly nudged me of how I needed to be focused on Jesus’ love for me. The journey isn’t always what you think it will be but God is presently walking with you in the pain and sufferings of this world. God met me in the darkest places in my life. He didn’t leave me to walk it alone. He didn’t leave me at the entrance of that dark tunnel of chaos and pain. He didn’t say, don’t worry Johanna, this one is going to be easy and IF you make it through, I’ll be waiting on the other side. NO! He walked THROUGH it with me, holding my hand and often carrying me through when I didn’t have the strength to keep walking. This touched the depths of my soul, it was beautiful and all I needed. He has not left my side. He has given me a living hope, a hope beyond this world.
In almost 11 months of losing my sweet Melannie, what have I learned? I have learned that Jesus has an unrelenting, undying love for us and a purpose for each one of His children. We may not always understand why He calls us to do certain things, or to be a certain way, or to go through certain life events. We may not get the answers to our many “whys” on this earth and we may disagree at times but even through that; His love is relentless. I've learned that I want my relationship with God to be so consuming that it’s not even a concern for me. No fear, all faith. I've learned to have hope, to hold on to it. To let it be the anchor of my soul. We are promised the joy of heaven –We have HOPE, hope that we are going to be in an eternity with no pain.
I am humbled and grateful to have this opportunity as a platform to share part of my story so that you know you are not alone. I too can relate. I went through it. But I’m here to tell you that it does not matter what awful scenario you are going through, no matter how difficult it may be, even when you feel like the pain is unbearable, when you feel like you're suffocating, even when facing death, know that you are not held to walking this road perfectly. You are invited to be accompanied by the Lord who understands your deepest pain, holds no judgment to all of your questions and still loves you in your weakness. It’s okay to mourn and grief, but we should do it in a holy and healthy way. Take your pain to God and lament before him.
Choose hope and joy for your future and you will experience that at the end, your pain will not last forever because He heals the broken hearted. Through it all, I can truly say that when we surrender and trust Him to orchestrate our life events as He chooses; the good, the bad, and the ugly, He uses it. Our God doesn’t waste a thing; He turns every trial, season, loss, weakness and disappointment into beauty that boasts of His sovereignty. He is a good, good God. He is faithful.
Be blessed. Pursue HOPE.
If you or someone you know has been blessed and encouraged by today's blog, please feel free to comment below. We would love to hear how this story has impacted your life or the lives of others. To stay connected with Johanna, follow her on Instagram: www.instagram.com/JohannaDiaz