Especially in a time like ours, in the midst of a culture of death, it is all the more tragic when an expecting mother, an expecting family really, joyfully awaits the life of their child that does not make it to term. When so many lives are “unwanted,” why would God take away one that is passionately desired?

It’s a question that has been on my mind, this year in particular, as I have several close friends who have experienced miscarriages later on in their pregnancies, and one which  Kyle Cupp , who lost his daughter three years ago today, grapples with daily.

While I cannot empathize with those whose “broken heart breaks open the meaning of every expression, every ‘How are you?’ and every ‘Hello,’ filling it with opaque sadness,” I do know that the very fact that each of these lives is wanted and grieved is itself a testament to a culture of life and a sign of hope.

One friend of mine, the father of one of these children who died before birth, told me that as they were planning the funeral, he had wondered whether or not to bring his (still young) kids with him. Some of his co-workers, he feared, would be outraged, considering it a strange form of child abuse or indoctrination to bring his young kids to the funeral of an unborn fetus. In the end, however, he decided that no matter what he could ever tell his children about the value and dignity of human life, nothing would teach them so directly as being present at the funeral of their unborn sibling.

Of course, all parents in such a situation must live daily with this loss, and we will never understand why these lives were taken. Nonetheless each and every one of these parents who mourns the loss of his or her child is a light of hope in a time of cultural darkness.

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