Joy embraced the night as Emery Elizabeth was born by C-section last Thursday night. Kathy and I were now Great Aunt and Uncle to a beautiful little girl named Emery Elizabeth Greiser! Kathy’s sister Sanna and brother-in-law Ron were now grandparents for the first time! Pictures and words of congratulations and joy clogged the comments on Facebook. It was a day that was the happiest day in the life of Emery's parents, Patricia and Trey. Anticipating for nine months, and now, a baby daughter, looking healthy and even a head full of hair.
In the twenty-first hour of Emery’s life, Emery died. The doctors and nurses worked frantically to revive her, but nothing brought her back. A day of joy and the hope of a lifetime, turned now into a day of unbelief, tragedy, devastation, and heartbreak. How could this happen? She was a healthy little girl, ready for a life full of love, challenges, and growth. Oh God, how can this be? Innocent, very much loved, and the apple of a family’s eye! How can this be?
What words are there to soothe the pain? What words are there for Emery’s parents and grandparents to bring into focus the love of God in this experience. I personally have come up with nothing. All I can do is weep with them, feel the power of joy fall in agony in the matter of a second. What can one say when there are no answers? I have nothing for them.
The reality is this:
The tragedy, unfairness, and injustice that a baby has died.
Tears that seem endless;
Pain that feels unbearable;
Questions that have no answers;
Anger at what is and what will not be;
A feeling of powerlessness;
Letting go when what we really want is to hold on;
Having been robbed a life, time, and the hopes and dreams of all that might have been;
And of course, physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion.
These are the circumstances that this family knows now, all too well. These are the circumstances in which Trish and Trey and their parents will have to deal with. But these are also the circumstances from which new life for Emery and the family will arise. These are also the places of their lives that God is present and working to make all things new. While the things listed above are very real now, they are not the final or ultimate reality. Life will be returned and the family and Emery will live again. This is the promise of Christ.
The picture I get and you might remember is Jesus’ mother Mary standing near the cross as Jesus was crucified. She felt powerless, full of endless tears, and feeling her heartbreak. Within the tragedy, Mary had to let go of Jesus, so that he might live. That is what Patricia and Trey had to do a few days ago in the hospital by entrusting Emery to a new life. To let her go. I have no words.
Mary’s compassion and love for her son Jesus, Trisha and Trey’s compassion and love for their daughter – those are not simply choices, but are divine qualities. They reveal the ongoing and very presence of God with us and in us. None of us stand alone in these circumstances. God was never more present than at Emery’s death. God neither causes or intends death. For God is the God of life, love, and compassion. When the first tears fell, so did God’s. When their hearts broke, so did God’s.
Compassion and love are what brought Emery into this world and they are what has allowed them to let her go. This is the miracle in the midst of the circumstances. For Emery’s parents and grandparents, that is the miracle that has and will continue to let them entrust Emery to God. And, it is the same miracle by which they will forever be her mom and dad, grandmas and grandpas.
God’s compassion and love for us are why death never has the final word. It is why God is making all things new. Life is changed, not ended. As real as the circumstances are, the greater reality is the love of God, the power of Christ’s resurrection, and the healing of our lives. That is the greater reality into which we entrust Emery and ourselves.
When tears fall, we entrust. When questions and doubts arise, we entrust. When circumstances overwhelm, we entrust. Over and over, we entrust ourselves and those we love to God and the new life God is creating. We do not do this alone. We do it together with and supported by family, friends, the angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven, of whom Emery is now one.
Every time we entrust ourselves to this new life, this greater reality, we celebrate Easter resurrection. Though we may not feel like it right now, that is why, in the midst of these circumstances, we can sing to Jesus, “Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!”
Emery Elizabeth Greiser
July 15, 2021 – July 16, 2021
Let us pray:
“O God, whose beloved Son took children into his arms and blessed them: Give us grace to entrust Emery Elizabeth. to your never- failing care and love, and bring us all to your heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”
Please keep the Greiser family in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve the loss of their daughter Emery Elizabeth. May God’s grace fill you with peace. Fr. Bill+