The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord! --Job 1:21
Two weeks ago, we were delighted to share with you the news that we were expecting our second child--a baby who we have wanted and have prayed for for two years. Today, I am saddened to share with you the news that our beloved child--whom we have given the name Gianna Maria Karlen--has passed into eternal life as the result of a miscarriage.
On Monday, May 3 at 6:00 p.m., we will bury this child at St. Mary's Church in Pine Bluff. We invite you to join us for a short graveside service. You can gather in the church shortly before 6:00, and we will proceed to the cemetery. After the burial, we will say the Rosary. While we don't have money to feed you all, we do invite you to join us for an informal meal at the Middleton Culvers. You can find directions below.
Friends, we know that many couples wait to announce they are pregnant until the first trimester passes so they can get through the months that are most dangerous for the baby. We understand and respect this decision. But even though we knew we faced an increased risk of miscarriage, we know life begins at conception and decided to share the news of our pregnancy with you right away.
Many of you reading this email have suffered miscarriages. And because our society dehumanizes life in the womb, it can be difficult to celebrate the life and mourn the death of a pre-born child. In very publicly grieving the loss of our child, we want to witness to the fact that even though our child passed away very early in her development, she was indeed a unique and individual human being created by the Hand of God in the image and likeness of God. If you have lost a child to either miscarriage or abortion, we hope that perhaps this letter might do just a little bit to help you feel able to fully mourn your son or daughter.
There were sixteen days from the time we learned that of Gianna's existence to yesterday when we learned of her passing, and each was a blessing that brought us great joy we will never forget. A great portion of that great joy came from the kindness of many of you. We offer our deep thanksgiving to all of you who sent us kind words--so many of you did that we did not have enough time to thank you all. Know that it was not for lack of appreciation, and please keep us in prayer going forward.
Many friends have generously offered to help us in any way they can. And if you'd like to make that same offer, here is the one thing you can do that would bring us the greatest comfort: Find a friend and take an hour to go pray at Planned Parenthood--particularly during business hours if you can. Every day, babies just like ours die, but without anyone to love and mourn them. Your prayer and witness at an abortion facility may very well be the only act of love these children receive in their short lives. And if you'd like to send us an email to let us know you have dedicated time in prayer in honor of our child, it would bring us great consolation to know that perhaps her short life served to save the life of another pre-born baby.
PS: Remember that tomorrow (Saturday) morning, David Stiennon will be providing the First Saturday presentation at Holy Redeemer at 9 a.m. (following the 8 a.m. Mass).