It's been 58 days since my daughter Eloise went to be with Jesus. Eloise (pictured above) was born a micropreemie at 25 weeks due to my sudden, severe onset of preeclampsia. She was born weighing only 1 lb, 1oz. and measuring just 11 inches long. Though she was so small that we could hold her in the palms of our hands, she was perfect. She had the tiniest toes that she wiggled constantly, fingers that grabbed anything in reach (including her breathing tube!), round eyes that would look in our direction when we’d speak to her, and even some blonde hair! My husband and I praised God for the opportunity to meet our baby girl, and we marveled at his beautiful creation.
Her month long stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital was filled with many ups and downs, though we always expected she would someday go home with us. However, God's plan is not the plan we envisioned, and Eloise passed away suddenly at four weeks old due to a severe infection. Though we are devastated by this enormous loss, we’ve also found the strength to praise God for her month of life. We had the incredible opportunity to get to know our daughter and love her more each day. We'll always have beautiful memories of our time spent with her, as well as the knowledge that we'll get to spend eternity with her. She brought so much joy to our lives, and we can say, without a doubt, that her month of life was the happiest of our lives. She touched our lives permanently and profoundly, and she touched the lives of hundreds of others as well.
Our prayer is for Eloise’s life to inspire others and serve as an important reminder about the value and beauty of every life created in God’s image, no matter how fragile or small. This is why we are sharing her story on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, January 15. I encourage you and other leaders in your congregation to commemorate the day.
The CRC Office of Social Justice has developed materials to help your church honor the day in a way that affirms the value of every human life at any stage of development, including worship resources, free bulletin inserts featuring Eloise’s story, a prayer, and a responsive reading.
I encourage you to visit crcna.org/life to view these resources and read more about Eloise’s story.