The Empty Spot Left by Susannah, We Care

Today would be Susannah’s 12th birthday. She was Nathan and Melanie’s firstborn daughter who only lived three days. Yet during her life of growing inside her mommy, we all came to love her so much. Little Thumper. The first child, the first grandchild, the first niece, and the first one to leave this earth. Saying good-bye was heart-breaking. Oh how the sobs came, as we let go. Yet, she’s in the most beautiful place ever. Heaven.

Still, there’s an empty spot. One that we will always remember. A daughter/niece/granddaughter who is missing from our physical presence. A gravestone that marks her little life. Pictures and memories. With that loss comes an empathy we’d never had before. One that comes through experiencing that heartache—that deep loss.

So today, while we remember Susannah, we want to tell those of you who are struggling with loss concerning children—we care. Whether it’s infertility, miscarriage, SIDS, or anything else—it hurts—a deep-down, raw hurt.

For those longing for a child, it may seem like everyone else can get pregnant but you. Consider Elisabeth and Zecharias. They were righteous before God. Yet, Elizabeth was barren (Luke 1:7). God used her mightly through the miracle of giving her John.

The “whys” want to spill over, but we can rest in God’s promises. They are sure and true. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).

We care about the loss you’re experiencing. Happy birthday, Susannah. It must be a beautiful day in Heaven! “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb … And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:1 and 5).

If you want to see a slideshow of Susannah’s short life, you can find it below (music was written by Joseph, along with the other siblings accompanying).

Love,
Sarah

46 thoughts on “The Empty Spot Left by Susannah, We Care”

  1. I know what it is like…having lost a stillborn son myself (will be 17 years ago this coming September). He was our 3rd child, but our first son. That verse you quoted about God knowing the plans He has for us, was the very same verse that came as comfort while I lay in the hospital after having delivered our precious son, Reuben. Yes, years help “heal”, but that pain, that empty spot is FOREVER felt. And yes, going thru losses and trials as such definitely gives you empathy for others experiencing the same. Thinking of you all on this day!

    1. Thanks, Laura, for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for your loss. I love the name you chose for him. That ache would have been so great, laying there in the hospital, in the maternity ward, when others have their babies. Bless you, sister!

  2. Sarah, this is such a beautiful post. Susannah’s short life and Nathan and Melanie’s surrender to the Lord has truly impacted me. We can choose to become bitter because of our trials or we can surrender to His plan and know He will give the grace needed for each step. What a testimony that is when people actually walk that out. So grateful for their example and for the Lord’s grace.

    1. The Lord gave me the words last night, and I’m grateful. Nathan and Melanie’s testimony is beautiful despite the heartache of losing Susannah! Praying for you, as you know well the path.

  3. Sarah, your post brought tears to my eyes! It radiates with love for Susannah, with compassion for others who suffered a loss as well. You have a beautiful soul. Thank you for writing this!

    Love from Canada,
    Sally (with 3 kids on earth and 4 with Jesus)

  4. There are so many grieving hurting people and you are so faithful to remind us of God’s precious promises. He is faithful and true;He cannot lie. When the Lord takes away, He also gives. He gives comfort, peace, forgiveness, healing and as you said empathy born out of pain. It is God, “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
    2 Corinthians 1:4 KJV
    God Bless you all as you remember Susannah in a special way today.

  5. I remember so well. Oh, how my heart broke for Nathan and Melanie; for all of you. Such an incredibly difficult providence to have to walk. Prayers for all of you as you remember her special day. Such a well-written post.

  6. Such a heart-touching post, Sarah! It’s been a blessing to watch your family celebrate her little life and choose to move forward with hope and trust in The Lord!! Praising the Lord for Susannah!!

  7. Praying for you all today. I know it must be hard,but praise the Lord, she is whole and waiting for you in Heaven. God bless.

  8. Thoughts are with you and your family at this time. This is a beautiful post and a good reminder. Last weekend we probably felt similar to,you as we reflected on what would have been our firstborn’s 15th birthday.

  9. What a hard thing to go through! I cried through the whole video. What sorrow that must have brought but what peace to know she is with Jesus!

  10. Beautifully written. Touching my heart.. Today is my 64th birthday. I will never forget my son. Brian, who lived 2 weeks. He would have been 29 this year. We felt that raw grief when he left and your description of your families experience is so eloquent.

    1. Happy Birthday, Ginny! You and Susannah share a birthday. I’m so very sorry for your loss of your newborn son. Two weeks with you–oh, what a heartbreak! You still love him so much and remember him. Sending you a hug.

  11. My first child, my daughter Sarah only lived 20 hours. Someone sent me this poem and it hit home with me.

    “A Pair of Shoes”
    Author Unknown

    I am wearing a pair of shoes.
    They are ugly shoes.
    Uncomfortable shoes.
    I hate my shoes.
    Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
    Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
    Yet, I continue to wear them.
    I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
    They are looks of sympathy.
    I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
    They never talk about my shoes.
    To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
    To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
    But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
    I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
    There are many pairs in this world.
    Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
    Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
    Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.
    No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
    Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
    These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
    They have made me who I am.
    I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

    1. Deb,

      Thank you so much for sharing. What an incredible poem. Very sweet. I’m very sorry for your loss of your daughter. That pain will always be there. Sending a hug from Kansas!

  12. Beautifully written post Sarah. A loss of a child is devastating, even when that child has lived on earth 39 years. They are still our babies, no matter the age.

  13. Thank you for writing this post. I’ve watched this video every year for the past 6 years as you have posted it. Today I was blinded by tears as I watched. I couldn’t help the flood of memories, 7 years ago on the 18th, my oldest sister went to be with Jesus (at age 17 1/2). I know what you feel. I’m so sorry. I cling to the truth with you, that God’s ways aren’t our ways, what a blessing and comfort Jer 29:11 is. He is even now working in our lives through the loss of our sister/daughter. What a beautiful picture of Nathen and Melanie’s trust and faith in God. I am thinking of you all and praying for you. May God richly bless you. Romans 8:28

    1. Laurel,
      Thank you for sharing. That pain goes very deep–I can’t imagine losing one of my sisters. May the Lord continue to give you grace as you journey through this time of remembrance. I’m very sorry for your loss and wish I could give you a hug in person.

  14. Very comforting, Sarah. I agree with LisaG. Before I lost my second child, I could never really relate to Hannah in the Bible, and how she could get herself to give up Samuel for Eli to raise in the Temple. But now I, too, have a child I cannot raise. Two, actually. I am thankful for my two children in Heaven, and thankful for the one I get to raise here.

    It is helpful to remember that because God knows the number of our days before there is even one of them (Ps 139:16) these children who have died have indeed lived full, completed lives. They have accomplished the purposes for which they were created. May we finish as strong in our submission and obedience to God’s will, as strong in our glorifying of Him, as they.

    In their short lives, as in our (slightly) longer ones, God is purposeful. As Paul said, we need to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Cor 15:58). Your “labor.” Even the labor of a miscarriage, or a stillbirth, a life that lingers for three days or 90-some years. God’s purposes stand, and His timing is impeccable.

    Thank you for this reminder of celebrating Susannah’s life and the others it brings to mind, and for the comfort you have extended as well. May it return to you and your family. May God be greatly glorified through these memories and through this post.

    1. Rebecca,

      What a great comment! Thank you for sharing! I’ve sometimes wondered what it would be like if everyone wore around a sign (that they couldn’t see) with how many years + days + months they have left. Our days are truly numbered, and may we live each day to the fullest.

  15. The Lord loves the ones He takes early, so much so that He chose to have them with Him now. They are safe. It truly is better to be There then here! They will never have to see the things soon to come in this world that would have hurt them – that is how I comfort myself about my miscarriages. May the pain you feel be soothed by His own Fatherly comfort, each day. “And so we shall ever be with the Lord.”

    Heartfelt love to Nathan and beautiful Melanie, and all the Maxwells.

  16. What a lovely remembrance of your beautiful niece Susannah. Thank you for sharing this with us, Sarah. Our two sons are also in Heaven…Matthew Shamgar would have been 16 this coming May 18th and Seth Noah would have been 13 this coming November 23rd. We still miss them very much, but are truly thankful to know that they are with our dear Lord and Saviour and one day, we will all be together with Him forever. What a joy it will be when we all get to Heaven – what a day of rejoicing that will be! Home, at last. 🙂 God always keeps His promises; He is faithful and so loving and kind. Like Nathan and Melanie, we have been blessed with other children. Our daughters are Bronwyn Jayde(soon to be 15) and Aliyah Faythe, who is 10. We want to thank you for being such an encouragement to our girls; well, our whole family, really! May the Lord continue to bless and encourage your servant’s heart. We are praying for you and your family. Love in Christ, Pam H.

    1. I’m very sorry about your losses, Pam. I didn’t realize you’d lost two sons! Parents do not forget either. Thank you for sharing. We are grateful for your prayers for our family and ministry. God is faithful!

      Love,
      Sarah

  17. Beautiful post. I’ve seen this video for years now (first time commenting) and I love the way you honor her life, alongside your brother and sister. I have two children here, and two in heaven. I think about them often, but don’t often speak about them, nor do other family members ask (I understand it something sensitive and other people don’t grieve like a Mom/Dad grieves). So, this is so good to see!

    1. Thank you. I’m very sorry for your loss. I do think some people don’t know how to approach the subject because it may feel uncomfortable to bring up. Nonetheless, parents do not forget their loss. Very sorry for you!

  18. Thank you for addressing infertility in this post. I have one daughter, born three years ago (also on March 21, actually, and we considered naming her Susannah–this was before I knew of your blog), and I may not be able to have any more. Still, my pain is nothing compared to someone who has lost a child. Nathan and Melanie are amazing in their strength and faith.

  19. I’m so sorry for your loss. The video is beautiful – brings tears to my eyes. I can only imagine how hard it was to lose her. My mom has had a few miscarriages, and that was really hard. Praying for you all.

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