Today marks one year since we said goodbye to our firstborn, Cora. One year. I can’t believe time has moved that quickly. The months after we lost her last summer, we were frozen in sorrow. I thought the pain may never subside but we eventually moved through those first few months and into a new normal. All of your prayers and God’s grace are solely responsible. Yes, the saying is true: “time heals all wounds” but only partially. We are not healed from our pain, but we realize it’s only a temporary affliction. I still cry when I think about her, especially when I’m hold her baby sister Lydia. I could be holding Cora. Cora would be turning one year old this summer and we could be having a party to celebrate her first year of life, not remembering her death.
Life can be cruel. But, God is good. He brought us closer to each other and closer to Him throughout our experience with Cora. God blessed us just a few months later with a positive pregnancy test, a completely normal pregnancy and text book delivery. It’s crazy to think that Cora had such an extremely rare condition, with all of her organs growing on the outside of her little, fragile body and within months I can have a completely healthy baby girl. I cannot reason God’s ways and I’m not sure why He had us experience Cora, but I’m thankful He did.
Since Lydia was born two weeks ago, I’ve been overly emotional about my feelings for Cora (probably due to my hormones). Just walking into Lydia’s room (originally Cora’s) and reading her a book makes me yearn to be reading it to Cora. I also think they look alike; Lydia has her nose (the Shrader nose) and her dark hair. Last year, we were worried we didn’t bond with Cora because we knew her outcome was grim and time was so short. The feeling about calling bereavement services to come pick up her body that day and the way we still feel today lets me know our bond is strong. My heart shattered into a million different pieces after that call to take her body away. It was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done in our lives to say goodbye to her, knowing we would never see her again in this world.
Cora changed us. She was a reminder from God that this life is temporary. Our wants and needs are not important, because they can be taken from us in an instant. I hope to remind myself of this when Lydia ventures out into the world when she’s grown. We hope and pray she chooses to follow God in her life, but God gave her to us temporarily also. If He calls her home or out into the world to spread the Good News, then we must let her go.
Cora also changed the world. I still get messages from people who came across this blog to tell me how much reading it affected them. I’ve had a few people tell me a family member just got the same diagnosis for their baby and they want advice from me as to how to approach them with love and grace. Reading these messages from people who are affected by Cora helps me grieve in a healthy way. I know that through this blog and through us all telling people about her life, her legacy lives on.
We hope to help those who are experiencing grief. We want to share our lives and our hope in Christ, because only He can satisfy. We’ve been so blessed by everyone praying for us, caring for us, and demonstrating Christ so we can show the world how we are meant to love one another. So if you have questions, ask. If you find yourself seeking the Father because we lost a daughter, then it makes it worthwhile. We fix our eyes of the prize and run the race He’s set before us. We are abounding the love and peace of God, knowing that at the end of our lives, we’ll meet our ultimate Father and our first daughter. And with God’s grace, we’ll meet those people who Cora helped along their path. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you 1 Peter 5:10.
Cora Kimberly Shrader
1 lb 2 oz
Josh, Rebecca, Cora and Lydia Shrader