SHARED BY MOLLIE B.
BOARD MEMBER OF STORIES FROM THE TRENCHES
A New Friendship
We stood at the counter near each other, picking up our children after a church service. My son, Elijah, was 3½, and my baby boy, Gideon, was about seven months old. She said, "I’m here for Abby." When this sweet little girl was handed to her mother, I asked how old she was. "Two and a half," she answered.
"So she was born in 2005?" My heart beat faster, and I felt a lump in my throat, "When is her birthday?" I dared to ask.
This brought back a flood of emotions. I had a baby girl named Abbey, too. Abigaele Eden was her full name. Her birthday was August 16, 2005. So this is what my Abbey would be like. God most certainly put this woman in my life for a reason. Maybe we could become friends. Maybe my boys could still be able to get a little taste of what it meant to have a "sister" named "Abbey" who was exactly her age.
I never could have imagined what our friendship would become.
The Journey to Stories from the Trenches
I remember the phone call: "Mol, something’s wrong. We’re not sure what, but his measurements aren’t normal for this stage of the pregnancy. His head is measuring too big." The news made my heart sink. This little boy, whose family couldn’t wait to take him to baseball games and call him "son" and "brother" might be facing something more serious than any of us could have imagined. (Read more of Eli's story here.)
I didn’t actually meet Eli 'til well after his birthday, during one of his stays in the hospital when they were trying to decide the perfect protocol in order to give this sweet boy the highest quality of life possible and allow his mom to bring him home. When I met him, I instantly fell in love. I just spent some time with him and talked to him and touched his little cheek, letting him know Auntie Mollie was very happy to meet him and that I had a boy at home with the same name who couldn’t wait to meet him.
I noticed the weariness and fear in Jen’s eyes, and I knew there was nothing I could really say or do but just be there with her—even just to grab a bite to eat at a sandwich place around the corner from the hospital. I knew the road ahead would be very difficult, beyond what anyone’s heart should have to endure, and I knew that just crying with her and being there to talk (or simply listen) might have to be enough. I had no answers because my heart was breaking all over again—our conversations tearing off pieces of the scab that I thought had healed from losing my baby girl a few years before. But this wasn’t about me; it was about friendship, love, presence, trudging through the unknown darkness that lie ahead.
She commented on how sorry she was for it bringing up painful memories for me, but I quickly dismissed her comment. Without hesitation, I knew I needed to be there for her. I’d been there. I knew the type of pain that would sear her heart. That daunting familiarity allowed me to walk alongside her—reassuring her that she was not alone and the pain was real—for the both of us. Seeing her in her despair and helplessness, just wanting to love her baby boy—there was no place I would rather be.
I’ve been walking with Jen through this as she struggled to find a purpose for all the pain. I watched as she dared to go out of her comfort zone to find a way to reach those who felt they were alone in their darkness or despair. I’m honored to be part of the board that sets this dream in motion as it becomes a reality to reach those far beyond our inner circles or even our local communities—to give them the encouragement, support, and love they’ll need to make it through to the other side of that trench.