Sad goodbyes and anxious hellos

Marcus & Sarah Napping
Photo by Scott Frank

That is how much of 2011 went. Started the past year off by saying goodbye to a much loved job and wonderful co-workers after a round of layoffs, which allowed me to dive into the nerve-wracking adventure of running my own craft business. I sat for months anxiously awaiting the birth of my friend’s babies, two special ones in particular, while mourning our own loss when my first pregnancy came to a sad and quick end (I don’t think I ever really said much about that here on the blog… a very private loss that has become a bit easier to share now that we have a healthy, full-term baby on the way). All the while, my mother’s diagnosis was going from pretty good to not-so-good when it was discovered that her cancer was already stage 3.

Hubby and I made the decision somewhere along the way to be baptized, together. It started out as a way to confirm the faith and reliance in God that has grown stronger and stronger in our lives. To say goodbye to old thoughts and habits, to be forgiven and to forgive. Who knew one of my greatest challenges would come the very night before our baptism? A horrible phone call to confirm fears that I’ve carried with me for too long. My oldest brother had died. At first we wondered how we could possibly go through with our baptism the next day… but that quickly changed to “how could we not?!” A clear sign from above that life is precious and often shorter than we expect. So instead of pulling away from our faith, we leaned into it even more.

Saying goodbye to my brother has had to be the hardest thing to do this year. In a way it has become more difficult for me as my due date draws near, knowing that he will miss holding his first niece or nephew. We will make sure our little one knows who he was and the amazing things he did to change the lives of others.

And so we sit and wait for the greatest of “hellos” we will ever have. A hello to the small life that has been growing inside me, to the person who has and will continue to forever change our lives. If we thought 2011 was a full and life changing year, just wait till this small babe arrives in only eleven more sleeps. Here we come 2012…

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8 thoughts on “Sad goodbyes and anxious hellos

  1. Sarah…I’m crying at the moment. You had such a difficult year. And yet your faith has been inspirational. The loss of a loved one, at any age, under any circumstance is a tragedy and heartbreaking. I know that Simon’s birth brought about a new sense of mourning my dad’s death (17 years ago!). But I love your intention to tell your child all about Blake.

    The Frank family is also anxiously waiting to say “hello” to your new little person! You will continue to be in our prayers.

    Happy new year.

    love, shauna

    1. It was a difficult year, but some really beautiful things came from all of it. And there were so many answered prayers! Glad we were able to share those experiences with you and Scott and also witness your own answered prayers. Can’t wait for Simon to meet his new little friend!

  2. Sarah,

    There are no words… My heart goes out to you for all of the loss you have walked through this past year. As autumn’s final leaves fall and are blanketed by snow, I pray God gives you a deep winters rest to heal. I pray also that spring comes early for you, and that God will bless you and give back with one hand what He has taken away with the other.

    <3 Stacey

    1. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers, Stacey. My family is healing in a number of ways these days and have been blessed with lots of answered prayers, so not everything has been sad & difficult. Truly, God does give and take away and I’m trying to no longer feel the need to understand the reasons for any of it. Just trust in Him. I hope you and your little family have an amazing year and know that I think of you often!

  3. Sarah,

    Your words beautifully capture a year that was filled with more trials than most people face in several. You and Marcus have made it though! And you have done it with grace and confidence which, like Shauna said, has been inspiring.

    A new year has begun! Praise the Lord! One day you will tell baby Riedner all about the year before he or she was born and I know that your child will be proud to have parents that grew so much from their experiences and offered themselves so completely to their families.

    It is going to be a great year filled with so many firsts :).

    “May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”. Numbers 6: 24-26


    1. Thanks, Lisa. It IS quite something to be able to sit back and see the kind of year we made it through. I will definitely draw strength from that in the coming weeks and months as we continue to face the amazing challenge of parenthood. So glad that we get to share all of this with you guys and the Franks! Only nine more sleeps now…

  4. Hey Sarah!

    You have had such a tough year, but I’m so happy I got to get to know you better this past year and have some laughs and crafty fun together. You are officially the strongest person I know! I’m so excited for Marcus and you! When things finally calm down and you’re all settled in with the little one we should grab a coffee so I can give you your mobile 🙂

    Sending good thoughts your way!


    1. I love that we found each other, Kalen! We’ve had some good times together this year and I appreciate having another crafty support buddy! Will definitely be in touch after a few weeks with baby, so you can come over and meet him/her! Hope you and Tim have an awesome year!

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