Funeral Message for Trisomy 18 Baby

As any of my regular handful of readers know this blog is primarily used simply to share things that others have written which are interesting to me and which I believe are worth sharing and saving.  This is different.  This is a message I shared at the graveside service of a Trisomy 18 baby who was stillborn after 7 months of pregnancy.  Much of the message was taken from the wonderful blog of the baby’s mother, Alyssa.  The blog is: Not So Well Said – A Family’s Journey With Trisomy 18.  Alyssa wrote the blog  because, as she said: “I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings for not only myself, but so others have an idea of what we’re going through.”  I believe this message is worth sharing.  Certainly not because I wrote it — but because of the message of faith and trust that it contains.  RMF

Image

Micah’s Journey & Legacy

Micah John Krupinski

Garden of Angels – Fairfax Memorial Park

May 12, 2014

On behalf of Matthew, Alyssa, and Justin Krupinski and their family I thank you for being here today as we celebrate Micah John Krupinski. Of course at funerals you typically speak of celebrating the life of the deceased. But in this case, there was no life, in the normally understood sense, to be celebrated. Micah was stillborn. In the same moment that Micah emerged from Alyssa’s womb, he was greeted and then the goodbye’s started.  But, while Micah did not live, as we think of it in the earthly, physical sense, he did live, and he lives large yet, in the spiritual sense with us here, and with his Heavenly Father in his eternal home.  Let us consider for a moment Micah’s journey and his legacy: 

Micah’s Journey 

The most critical part of Micah’s journey began with a phone call. Following Alyssa’s pregnancy with Micah there had been a series of alarming diagnostic test results and doctor visits. Finally, there had been a fateful phone call from Matt. Matt had just spoken with the doctor’s office and was calling with the results of the most recent and conclusive tests. Alyssa wrote in her blog: 

“Seeing Matt’s name come across the caller ID returned the same anxiety I had been fighting all week. I could tell in his voice immediately. Any doubt was gone- our beautiful baby has Trisomy 18…. We shared tears. Tears of grieving the life we initially envisioned for this baby, tears of relief that the waiting is over and we know exactly what we’re looking at, tears of fear of things out of our control, tears for not knowing what to expect.” 

(For those who don’t know,Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome, results from a horrible chromosomal defect which results in severe life-threatening medical complications. 50% of babies who are carried to term are stillborn. The medical community does not consider Trisomy 18 compatible with life.)  

So, as you can well imagine from this diagnosis, Micah’s journey began at a fork in a road. What do you do with a diagnosis like this? Yoga Berra, famous for his malapropos, famously said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Well, as a metaphor for a choice, or a decision, it is pretty good. But as far as offering helpful instruction – not so much. Matt and Alyssa obviously had to make a decision. 

In his famous poem, The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost wrote:  

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” 

And so it was in Micah’s situation. His life, early on, was marked by a choice – a choice made by Alyssa and Matt.  

Here is the way Alyssa expressed it:

“My personal belief was always that it was never my decision to make. It was God’s. Life begins at conception.”

So, the choice made by Matt and Alyssa was to choose to trust God with the pregnancy and let Him be in control. Essentially they were trusting the Biblical mandate which says:

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Their choice then – Micah’s journey, was, like Robert Frost’s, a path less taken.

  • It was not the path that would have been recommended by much of the medical community.
  • It was not the path dictated by popular opinion.
  • It certainly was not the easy path but rather one that was filled with doubt and uncertainty. 
  • It was a path that promised daunting difficulties and obstacles.
  • It was a path with an uncertain destination.

No, instead of the easier most traveled path, they chose a path to honor and glorify God with their decision.  Their path, their decision, was to be faithful to their understanding of God’s will for them and for Micah and to rely upon Him for the results.

They believed what Jeremiah the prophet wrote. He said:

“…I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil,to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

A fellow pastor said it like this:

 “In the midst of all your craziness and all your chaos, God has a plan and he knows what he’s doing.” (Kevin DeYoung)

Well, where has this path taken them. Has Alyssa and Matt’s trust in God to care for Micah been justified? I’m confident that you will agree with me that on all accounts the answer is “Yes.”

First, how has their decision affected Matt and Alyssa?

Anyone who speaks with them will quickly realize that Matt and Alyssa have no regrets regarding their decision to trust God with Micah. Sure there is sorrow and godly grief that Micah is not here with them bodily.  But, they do not grieve as those who have no hope. (1 Thes. 4:13) In fact they have a great hope based on the many promises of Scripture. For example, God, speaking through the Prophet Isaiah, wrote:

 “He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces. (Is. 25:8)

So, because of their hope, here is how, following seven months of Alyssa’s pregnancy, they were able to say their goodbyes to Micah in the hospital. Alyssa wrote:

“When the time came, Matt and I removed some of the blankets we had Micah wrapped in, including his hat, so that we could keep them forever. Saying goodbye to our baby, now wrapped in only one hospital blanket, was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. We prayed over Micah, talked to him, held each other, hysterically cried.… I know it was just his body- but we were still saying goodbye to his future with us. (You’re saying goodbye to) All the ideas that you have of who your child will be when you find out you are pregnant. We will never know how he would have been. As they carried him away, he was forever gone until we meet again in Heaven.“

In their response to Micah being stillborn, Matt and Alyssa mirrored the response of King David of Israel when King David’s infant son died. We can all learn from King David and from Matt and Alyssa’s example. The Scripture tells us:

“…the child (King David’s son) died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him…. But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.”  Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate.  Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.”  He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’  But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”  2 Samuel 12:18-31 (ESV)

From this we learn two things:

  1. There is a time for fasting and weeping and mourning. And there is also a time to do as David did: clean yourself up, worship the LORD, get something to eat, take care of yourself and get on with life.
  2. We also learn that the child will not return to us but we, who are yet alive, shall go to the child.

This is great advice for all of us. Yes, experience grief and then go on living with hope and the expectation of rejoining our departed loved ones, our Micahs, in the future.

So, how are Matt and Alyssa doing following their decision for Micah’s journey? Their thoughts and praise to God might be similar to those expressed by David when, after a difficult time in his life, he wrote:

Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.

A Legacy for Little Micah:

Next, out of their decision, God has given Micah a legacy. Early in their journey with Micah, Matt and Alyssa determined that they wanted Micah to leave a legacy to those he left behind — something greater than simply the memory of his having been stillborn.

In her blog Alyssa wrote:

“I started this blog for so many reasons, but being public in our journey gave Micah the life he never ended up being able to have. I’ve received dozens of messages from people who have been in similar situations thanking me for my honesty and not holding back as it has helped them tremendously with their own feelings. If we are able to help even one person as they go through their own journey, our openness will not be in vain.”

The Bible teaches us that our God is the God of All Comfort:

“…the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, …comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2Cor. 1:3-4 (ESV)

God does not let his children suffer without giving that suffering a good and noble purpose.

 A friend of our church, says:

“If our temporary trials have some kind of eternal meaning it changes everything.” (Ed Stetzer)

We can be confident that in this case the “temporary trial” has already resulted in much good.

  1. It has inspired those who have followed Micah’s journey through the lives of Matt and Alyssa.
  2. It has given wisdom and a godly example. Many have learned the benefits of taking the “road less traveled” and trusting in God for their babies.
  3. It has provided courage and comfort to those going through similar afflictions.
  4. It reminds us that we who believe do not grieve as others do, those who have no hope.
  5. It also reminds us of God’s goodness and mercy – the fact that He does not abandon us but sees us through what many would view as only a tragedy.

The Name and the Legacy:

Names are very important and meaningful in a person’s life. Because names are so important, Matt and Alyssa gave great attention to selecting Micah’s name. They realized that their baby would likely be mostly defined by his name. They hoped that in the event that their baby did not live on, at least his name would. They knew that it was very possible that the only legal document that would ever bear their baby’s name would be his death certificate. So, as you can see, the name was important.

Matt and Alyssa knew well the kind of a person they wanted their children to grow into – how they wanted them to act, love, and walk. And it happened that those characteristics were embodied in a Scripture verse. That verse is Micah 6:8. In the verse the Prophet Micah told the people of Israel what God expected of them. Here is what it says:

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to act justly, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

How perfect. Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Acting justly and loving mercy are ways of walking humbly with God. And humbling themselves before God and letting Him take control of the pregnancy and their baby boy was what Matt and Alyssa had done. So, Micah was the perfect name. And that name and what it represents will live on. And, as it worked out Micah shares the same middle name and initials with Matt.   What a perfect legacy. And, incidentally, the name Micah means: “Who is like the Lord.”

Personal to me

In closing let me just say that the Krupinski’s journey with Micah became very personal with me. Though I never saw Micah in person I came to love him dearly. I also came to have a great admiration and respect for Matt and Alyssa. I joined Micah’s journey when Matt and Alyssa along with Alyssa’s father, Neal, step mother, Kim, and Alyssa’s sister, Natalie, came to meet with our church’s Prayer Team. They explained their situation to us and that they were seeking God’s comfort and consolation in their distress and guidance and clarity about God’s will for them as they faced the future.

I had never personally known a couple faced with the situation they were facing and confronting the choices that they had to make. All of a sudden I was in a flesh and blood, real-life, real-time situation – not some hypothetical intellectual musing. Matt and Alyssa were real, tremendously likeable people facing what they described as “a scary future.”

As time went on and as I continued to follow their journey I came to experience God’s sovereignty and mercy in a new way. I learned much about faith in action – which is an effectual faith, a faith that works in the challenges of life. I gained a new appreciation of the fragility of life – how simply a slight abnormality in cellular structure, something invisible to the unaided human eye, can spell the difference between what we see as a normal healthy life, and a life which will be cut short.

Your presence here today is testimony to your participation in Micah’s journey.  And, we are all benefiting, even now, from Micah’s rich legacy.

One final thought about a legacy. What is the difference between an inheritance and a legacy? To me it is this: an inheritance is something that you leave to someone; a legacy is what you leave in someone. Micah’s legacy lives in us.

ImageImage

 

Bed of Flowers Mitzvah

Matt and Alyssa have decided to make a bed of flowers for Micah to rest on. This is in keeping with a Jewish tradition, a form of “mitzvah,” symbolizing the burying of your own. Matt and Alyssa will go first. Then, anyone else who would like to participate by adding to the bed of flowers may do so.

Following completion of the bed of flowers the casket will be lowered onto the bed. Prayer and dismissal of those in attendance will then conclude the service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Micah’s Journey & LegacyMicah John KrupinskiGarden of Angels – Fairfax Memorial ParkMay 12, 2014 On behalf of Matthew, Alyssa, and Justin Krupinski and their family I thank you for being here today as we celebrate Micah John Krupinski. Of course at funerals you typically speak of celebrating the life of the deceased. But in this case, there was no life, in the normally understood sense, to be celebrated. Micah was stillborn. In the same moment that Micah emerged from Alyssa’s womb, he was greeted and then the goodbye’s started.  But, while Micah did not live, as we think of it in the earthly, physical sense, he did live, and he lives large yet, in the spiritual sense with us here, and with his Heavenly Father in his eternal home.  Let us consider for a moment Micah’s journey and his legacy: Micah’s Journey The most critical part of Micah’s journey began with a phone call. Following Alyssa’s pregnancy with Micah there had been a series of alarming diagnostic test results and doctor visits. Finally, there had been a fateful phone call from Matt. Matt had just spoken with the doctor’s office and was calling with the results of the most recent and conclusive tests. Alyssa wrote in her blog: “Seeing Matt’s name come across the caller ID returned the same anxiety I had been fighting all week. I could tell in his voice immediately. Any doubt was gone- our beautiful baby has Trisomy 18…. We shared tears. Tears of grieving the life we initially envisioned for this baby, tears of relief that the waiting is over and we know exactly what we’re looking at, tears of fear of things out of our control, tears for not knowing what to expect.”  (For those who don’t know,Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome, results from a horrible chromosomal defect which results in severe life-threatening medical complications. 50% of babies who are carried to term are stillborn. The medical community does not consider Trisomy 18 compatible with life.)  So, as you can well imagine from this diagnosis, Micah’s journey began at a fork in a road. What do you do with a diagnosis like this? Yoga Berra, famous for his malapropos, famously said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Well, as a metaphor for a choice, or a decision, it is pretty good. But as far as offering helpful instruction – not so much. Matt and Alyssa obviously had to make a decision. In his famous poem, The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost wrote:  Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” And so it was in Micah’s situation. His life, early on, was marked by a choice – a choice made by Alyssa and Matt.  

Here is the way Alyssa expressed it: “My personal belief was always that it was never my decision to make. It was God’s. Life begins at conception.”

 

So, the choice made by Matt and Alyssa was to choose to trust God with the pregnancy and let Him be in control. Essentially they were trusting the Biblical mandate which says:

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

 

Their choice then – Micah’s journey:

 ·      Was, like Robert Frost’s, a path less taken. ·      It was not the path that would have been recommended by much of the medical community. ·      It was not the path dictated by popular opinion. ·      It certainly was not the easy path but rather one that was filled with doubt and uncertainty. ·      It was a path that promised daunting difficulties and obstacles.·      It was a path with an uncertain destination. ·      No, instead of the easier most traveled path, they chose a path to honor and glorify God with their decision.·      Their path, their decision, was to be faithful to their understanding of God’s will for them and for Micah and to rely upon Him for the results.

 

They believed what Jeremiah the prophet wrote. He said:

 

“…I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11

 

A fellow pastor said it like this:

 

“In the midst of all your craziness and all your chaos, God has a plan and he knows what he’s doing.” (Kevin DeYoung)

 

Well, where has this path taken us. Has Alyssa and Matt’s trust in God to care for Micah been justified? I’m confident that you will agree with me that on all accounts the answer is “Yes.”

 

First, how has their decision affected Matt and Alyssa?

Anyone who speaks with them will quickly realize that Matt and Alyssa have no regrets regarding their decision to trust God with Micah. Sure there is sorrow and godly grief that Micah is not here with them bodily. But, they do not grieve as those who have no hope. (1 Thes. 4:13) In fact they have a great hope based on the many promises of Scripture. For example, God, speaking through the Prophet Isaiah, wrote:

 

“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces. (Is. 25:8)

So, because of their hope, here is how, following seven months of Alyssa’s pregnancy, they were able to say their goodbyes to Micah in the hospital. Alyssa wrote:

 

“When the time came, Matt and I removed some of the blankets we had Micah wrapped in, including his hat, so that we could keep them forever. Saying goodbye to our baby, now wrapped in only one hospital blanket, was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. We prayed over Micah, talked to him, held each other, hysterically cried.… I know it was just his body- but we were still saying goodbye to his future with us. (You’re saying goodbye to) All the ideas that you have of who your child will be when you find out you are pregnant. We will never know how he would have been. As they carried him away, he was forever gone until we meet again in Heaven. “ (Blog entry)

 

In their response to Micah being stillborn, Matt and Alyssa mirrored the response of King David of Israel when King David’s infant son died. We can all learn from King David and from Matt and Alyssa’s example. The Scripture tells us:

“…the child (King David’s son) died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him…. But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.”  Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate.  Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.”  He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’  But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”  2 Samuel 12:18-31 (ESV)

From this we learn two things:

  1. There is a time for fasting and weeping and mourning. And there is also a time to do as David did: clean yourself up, worship the LORD, get something to eat, take care of yourself and get on with life.
  2. We also learn that the child will not return to us but we, who are yet alive, shall go to the child.

This is great advice for us. Yes, experience grief and then go on living with hope and the expectation of rejoining our departed loved ones, our Micahs, in the future.

So, how are Matt and Alyssa doing following their decision for Micah’s journey? Their thoughts and praise to God might be similar to those expressed by David when, after a difficult time in his life, he wrote:

Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.

 

A Legacy for Little Micah:

Next, out of their decision, God has given Micah a legacy. Early in their journey with Micah, Matt and Alyssa determined that they wanted Micah to leave a legacy to those he left behind — something greater than simply the memory of his having been stillborn.

 

In her blog Alyssa wrote:

 

“I started this blog for so many reasons, but being public in our journey gave Micah the life he never ended up being able to have. I’ve received dozens of messages from people who have been in similar situations thanking me for my honesty and not holding back as it has helped them tremendously with their own feelings. If we are able to help even one person as they go through their own journey, our openness will not be in vain.”

The Bible teaches us that our God is the God of All Comfort:

“…the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, …comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2Cor. 1:3-4 (ESV)

God does not let his children suffer without giving that suffering a good and noble purpose.

 

A friend of our church, says:

“If our temporary trials have some kind of eternal meaning it changes everything.” (Ed Stetzer)

We can be confident that in this case the “temporary trial” has already resulted in much good.

 

  1. It has inspired those who have followed Micah’s journey through the lives of Matt and Alyssa.
  2. It has given wisdom and a godly example to those who have followed Micah’s journey. Many have learned the benefits of taking the “road less traveled” and trusting in God for their babies.
  3. It has provided courage and comfort to those going through similar afflictions.
  4. It reminds us that we who believe do not grieve as others do, those who have no hope.
  5. It also reminds us of God’s goodness and mercy – the fact that He does not abandon us but sees us through what many would view as only a tragedy.

 

The Name and the Legacy:

Names are very important and meaningful in a person’s life. Because names are so important, Matt and Alyssa gave great attention to selecting Micah’s name. They realized that their baby would likely be mostly defined by his name. They hoped that in the event that their baby did not live on, at least his name would. They knew that it was very possible that the only legal document that would ever bear their baby’s name would be his death certificate. So, as you can see, the name was important.

 

Matt and Alyssa knew well the kind of a person they wanted their children to grow into – how they wanted them to act, love, and walk. And it happened that those characteristics were embodied in a Scripture verse. That verse is Micah 6:8. In the verse the Prophet Micah told the people of Israel what God expected of them. Here is what it says:

 

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to act justly, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

 

How perfect. Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Acting justly and loving mercy are ways of walking humbly with God. And humbling themselves before God and letting Him take control of the pregnancy and their baby boy was what Matt and Alyssa had done. So, Micah was the perfect name. And that name and what it represents will live on. And, as it worked out Micah shares the same middle name and initials with Matt.   What a perfect legacy. And, incidentally, the name Micah means: “Who is like the Lord.”

 

Personal to me

In closing let me just say that the Krupinski’s journey with Micah became very personal with me. Though I never saw Micah in person I came to love him dearly. I also came to have a great admiration and respect for Matt and Alyssa. I joined Micah’s journey when Matt and Alyssa along with Alyssa’s father, Neal, step mother, Kim, and Alyssa’s sister, Natalie, came to meet with our church’s Prayer Team. They explained their situation to us and that they were seeking God’s comfort and consolation in their distress and guidance and clarity about God’s will for them as they faced the future.

 

I had never personally known a couple faced with the situation they were facing and confronting the choices that they had to make. All of a sudden I was in a flesh and blood, real-life, real-time situation – not some hypothetical intellectual musing. Matt and Alyssa were real, tremendously likeable people facing what they described as “a scary future.”

 

As time went on and as I continued to follow their journey I came to experience God’s sovereignty and mercy in a new way. I learned much about faith in action – which is an effectual faith, a faith that works in the challenges of life. I gained a new appreciation of the fragility of life – how simply a slight abnormality in cellular structure, something invisible to the unaided human eye, can spell the difference between what we see as a normal healthy life, and a life which will be cut short.

 

Your presence here today is testimony to your participation in Micah’s journey. And, we are all benefiting, even now, from Micah’s rich legacy.

 

One final thought about a legacy. What is the difference between an inheritance and a legacy? To me it is this: an inheritance is something that you leave to someone; a legacy is what you leave in someone. Micah’s legacy lives in us.

 

Bed of Flowers Mitzvah

Matt and Alyssa have decided to make a bed of flowers for Micah to rest on. This is in keeping with a Jewish tradition, a “mitzvah,” symbolizing the burying of your own. Matt and Alyssa will go first. Then, anyone else who would like to participate by adding to the bed of flowers may do so.

 

Following completion of the bed of flowers the casket will be lowered onto the bed. Prayer and dismissal of those in attendance will then conclude the service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About ronfurg

Former naval officer, federal investigator, forensic scientist, senior executive service member and pastor. In retirement serves as volunteer and life group leader at New Life Christian Church (www.newlife4me.com). Devoted to beautiful wife, kids and grandkids. Looking forward to the time when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all and that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
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