A Sister’s Hero

One of the pages I set up on my website was to be dedicated solely to the heroes in our lives who have helped us through difficult times, who have been strong supporters, who have given their love and time and cared enough about us to make a difference in our lives. I have had several people look at the page, but no one has ever responded with a “hero” story.

I’ve decided to tell a story that very few people have ever heard. This is the story that was on my mind when the page was created, so perhaps it was meant for me to tell my hero story first.

Almost half my life ago, I found out I was pregnant. I was 17 years old and two days away from high school graduation. I was terrified. My boyfriend and I told our friends and family, and shortly after we both turned 18, we were married. I was five months pregnant on the day of our wedding. Exactly one week after the wedding, I was over at my parents’ house doing laundry and I went into premature labor. My parents took me to the hospital. It’s the only time I remember feeling him move inside me, and it’s the only time I remember hearing his heartbeat. He did not survive after the delivery. It was September 13, 1992 at 3:30pm. There was a nurse named Lily who stayed with me through it all. She gave my mom an envelope. Inside was a birth certificate imprinted with two perfect footprints. I still keep it in my bible.

I have a brother who is younger than me by almost four years. I seem to remember that we always got along pretty well – although he may tell you otherwise (don’t listen to him). But from the day that he found out his big sis was pregnant, he somehow transformed into my “big” brother. He watched out for me, he took up for me, he was my best friend and constant support in the house and it continued even after I moved out – to this day, in fact. Once I accidentally washed my contact down the drain in the bathroom sink. He walked in on me freaking about it just after it happened. I didn’t want to have to tell my parents – I’d obviously been pretty off the mark in the responsibility category and was just trying not to disappoint them anymore. This kid snuck tools in from the garage, dismantled the bathroom plumbing and found my contact!

But that’s not what this story is about either.

A few days after I lost the baby, my family and some church members held a small funeral up in the hills in a tiny cemetery next to a pretty little mountain country church. It is truly a very beautiful and peaceful place. I didn’t go to the funeral, but I do still visit there sometimes. My brother though was among those in attendance that day. Mom said he stayed pretty quiet the whole time. I really can’t imagine what it would be like to watch all of this through the eyes of a ninth grade boy. After the funeral, as they were walking to the car, Mom said my brother kept stopping and looking back. He told them to hang on, he’d be right back. He walked back up the hill to the little grave. Mom watched him pull something over his head then kneel down. When he got back, she asked him if he was okay. He said yes, but that it bothered him there wasn’t a cross anywhere on the grave. There was a green marker with our last name handwritten in and the words, “Lived in love on this earth for 5 months.” When my brother had turned around and walked back up there, he had taken off the silver cross he was wearing around his neck, kneeled down and placed it under a rock on top of the packed dirt.

I don’t know if I’ve ever told my brother what a profound impact that simple act has made in my life – but I have always, always cherished him more than he could ever know – for loving me and my child so much, and for having such a pure and undoubting faith in God. It was his way of lending comfort and security and protection to the tiniest, most helpless and vulnerable little human being he ever knew. It was his way of proclaiming that this child was protected by the power of God.

For women dealing with the pain and void of infertility, it is so hard to live through the ups and downs and not be able to point a finger at someone and say, “This is your fault.” We all too often spend way too much time blaming ourselves and our bodies for betraying us, that in desperation we MUST look elsewhere for blame. So many times, that blame so easily falls on God. I myself went through a time when I looked to God for blame. When you are hurting and angry and broken, and you have people telling you things like, “It was God’s will that you lost your baby,” or “God just isn’t ready to give you a child yet,” how else are you supposed to respond?

When I start feeling the blame monster creeping up on me again, I don’t turn to God for blame, I turn to God for comfort, for security and for protection. I remember my brother’s faith and his actions that day and I turn to God with an open and vulnerable heart, seeking healing and strength to stand up, turn around and face the world knowing that I am a child protected by the power of God.

Today, my brother is a firefighter paramedic. A real life hero to many people. He saves lives, he protects families, and he’s still a firm believer in God – strong as ever I’d say. My brother is a daddy now too. I am so proud of him, of his wife and of his two beautiful boys.

As much as I’ve cried writing this post today, I probably will not be able to talk to him about it without breaking down, but my little brother I want you to know that I love you, that I am so proud of you, and that you will always be one of the heroes in my life.

Thank you so much for being exactly who you are. I am so blessed and so thankful that you are my brother.

He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him. ~1 John 2:10

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26 Responses to “A Sister’s Hero”

  1. strugglingwithbipolar April 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I am going through the infertility struggle now. I enjoyed reading about your brother as a hero. We all need to hear stories like this though it definitely brought tears to my eyes.

  2. Such a beautiful post. The story of your hero brother just brought tears to my eyes. I can see why you are so proud of him. 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for reading my blog post. It was an emotional one for me to write today. I will be praying for you!

  4. I’m sorry to hear about your loss, but thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

    You’ve got a sweet little (probably not so little anymore, actually) brother.

    It’s amazing how much even our small actions can touch other people’s lives.

  5. Thank you Anna. Yeah, he’s a bit bigger than me now, but will always be my little bro. What would we do without them? 🙂 Hope you know I’m praying for you sweetie!

  6. What an amazing story!!! I want to live by this – “I don’t turn to God for blame, I turn to God for comfort, for security and for protection.” It reminds me of Jer. 29:11 ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘ plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’

    I imagine it would be hard for you to tell your brother in person how you feel. Perhaps you should give him this story in a letter. That might be easier.

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Carmela that is one of my favorite verses and I always seem to come across it at just the right time (like now!). Thank you so much for sharing it and thank you for your beautiful comment.

  8. What a beautiful post! I have tears in my eyes. That’s like something out of a movie, so lovely.
    Thanks for visiting me at Lighten Up! So glad I stopped by here.

  9. I’m glad you stopped by too! Thanks so much for your comment. I’m so glad I came across the Lady Bloggers Society, it’s such a wonderful opportunity to catch glimpses of other women’s lives that I never would have known about.

  10. That’s a beautiful post! Reminds me of my younger brother & when im not well, him taking over! We’re so lucky to have people like this in our lives x

  11. Very lucky indeed – just something special about little brothers. 🙂 Thanks so much.

  12. I am totally in tears! What a touching story…My little brother (now 28) was always trying to protect me, but I never let him. I feel so guilty about it (lol). Thanks for this! I am sorry for your loss…

  13. Thanks so much. I love comments from other big sisters about their little brothers. Such a blessing!

  14. Tears are flowing…he is the best hero anyone could ever have…Your blogs are so inspirational and truly a ministry. We love you Carrie Anne…please, please, please bind all of your blog up into a book!

  15. I love you guys too!! Big big hugs!! 🙂

  16. Okay, so I was literally sobbing reading this post. I have so many hero stories to add, that I’ll have to pray about which one to write. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story.

  17. Thanks so much for reading my post. I would love to read and share one of your hero stories! I look forward to getting to know you! 🙂

  18. Thank you so much for sharing a very difficult personal story. YOU are a true hero as well as your brother in my opinion. Your courage and vulnerability are exemplary. Thanks for joining She Writes also, we need more people like you! Blessings.

  19. Thanks so very much for your words of encouragement! I’m looking forward to getting to know you ladies through She Writes. What a blessing! 🙂

  20. Beautiful and excruciating all at once. I am crying with you. I was five months pregnant when I lost twin girls. It was a terrible heartbreaker for me and my husband…and really everyone who was so excited about our babies. I remember one comment, “Well at least you know you can get pregnant…” Really??? I also remember more acts of kindness and love than I could’ve ever imagined. So many heroes, who bravely “went there” with me in my deep sorrow and grief. I went to stay with my father and stepmother, Jane, for a few days. One of the most powerful things I heard during that time was, “It’s okay. God can take your anger. He can deal with it.” I had buried anger all my life. Now the lid was off and I could no longer push it down. I had always tried to be such a good girl. How could I be angry at God? But I was…and Jane was right. And God offered me love, mercy, kindness, His very presence in exchange for my anger. It was a real turning point in my life. In fact, it would eventually lead me to making a recommitment to my faith and my relationship with God. So thanks, Jane, for this reason and so many more, you are my hero.

  21. so beautiful. “I turn to God for comfort, for security and for protection.” me too.

    it is a deep blessing not only to have siblings, but to recognize just how supportive and loving they truly are. I have 3, plus their spouses (who I also consider sibs) and feel their kindness all the time.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  22. Loved this post. Your heart shines through just as your brothers does. God bless you all.

  23. I happened across your blog and this post as part of the Lady Bloggers Tea Party today. Your posts have touched my heart. I also struggled with infertility all my life. I’m now almost 55, but sometimes those old feelings of being infertile come raging back so fiercely that it makes me stop and have to remember that I have been so blessed in so many ways. My husband and I were fortunate enough to adopt 3 beautiful children who have given us so much joy in our lives. I know, I should be so thankful, and I am, so very thankful. But those old feelings. . .well, they just recur at times — without much warning. My prayers are with you and your struggles. I’m so glad that you aren’t letting infertility define you. God has much you can do — and in fact, I believe that He is using you even now to bless others who are struggling with infertility. God Bless you.

  24. Thank you so much for your beautiful comment and your words of hope. Every day I pray that I can reach out to give some encouragement to women suffering from infertility, and in the process, I’ve been able to find healing for myself as well. God bless you as well. Thank you and I’ll be praying for you and for your family as well.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. It’s Prayer Vigil Friday! 08/26/11 | twoweekworship - August 25, 2011

    […] with what you are feeling, so that at some point, you won’t turn to God for blame, but will turn to God for comfort, for security and for protection. Do it every single day. Never give up. Never ever give […]

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