Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sebastian Luke

" Our little baby, Sebastian Luke, went home to heaven today at 17 weeks gestational age." {from an e-mail my mom sent out to family and friends Sunday night}.

Sunday started out as a normal day. I woke up, got ready and headed out with my Dad at 9:15am for an all day retreat that he {my dad} was running and I was helping with.

The retreat was going great {it was our annual 7th and 8th grade end of year retreat} and everyone was having a grand time.

However around 3:00ish in the afternoon, as I was walking back through the woods up to the building we were using, I noticed my dad on his phone beckoning to me. Thoughts shot across my mind of what was wrong, I knew it had to do something with our family or close friends.

I reached my dad and then he whispered "Your mom had a miscarriage".

Five words that completely changed that day. April 29, 2012. Five words that changed this whole week.

My mom has had two miscarriages in the past, but for both of those she had only found out she was pregnant a few days before the miscarriage happened. But this time? This time my mom was already 17 weeks pregnant. Almost half-way done.

I know I didn't announce her pregnancy on my blog, I was waiting until summer started, but we've all known she's pregnant since the beginning of February.

Dad told me to get my stuff as we would be leaving in a few minutes. Two of my best friends were waiting for me at the building, concerned, and as I told them what I had just found out, they were right there to hug me and stay with me while my dad prepared for us to leave.

We were an hour north of our house and as we had been in a bus on the way up, one of the other adult chaperones, who had driven in his car, was able to give us a ride to our church where our car was.

For the hour long drive home I was unable to get more details, as my dad was talking on youth ministry matters with the other chaperone. So I had awhile to think. My first thought was when and how did this happen? Then it crossed my mind that since my mom was already 17 weeks there was going to be a body, wasn't there? So was my mom at home or the hospital? Where were my other six siblings? Did they know what had happened?

I prayed too, but mostly for my mom, and I had told my best friends to pray especially for my mom too. I knew how excited she was for this baby. Me? I was surprised, but I wasn't that sad, not at first.

Once my dad and I were alone, my dad called our pastor, Fr. Louis and I heard way more details as my dad answered questions and explained the situation.

As my mom wrote in an e-mail she sent to our family and friends:

"I then told the four youngest who were home.  Joey {age 2} was obviously oblivious, Rose {age 6} and Max {age 9} were very sad, and have spent a lot of time crying on and off throughout the afternoon. Benny {age 4} was the funniest.  He could see Max and Rose crying, and my comforting them, and he decided that he should be shedding some tears, so he tried his hardest, but his crying sounded so fake that it made Max, Rose and I laugh.  Then Benny laughed and ran off and played with Joey.

After that John Paul {age 11}came home from soccer, and a little while later Mary Kate  and Scott arrived home.  Last was Cecilia {age 14}, coming from a performance in her play.  Peggy {my grandmother} drove her home and came in.  For a while we all sat in the living room and talked and cried.  By this point I had had a chance to show Scott the baby, and he had discovered Sebastian's obvious male parts - which, for all of you who know, utterly shocked me. I have been calling little Sebastian, "Lucy", from day one, so sure was I that this baby was a girl - so much for my instincts! :)"

My mom asked me if I wanted to see Sebastian, but I decided to wait until after my parents washed him. Both of my grandmothers, however saw his body and my dad's mother wrote on facebook that night:
"I was able to gaze on his perfect little body and weep knowing that I would never be able to hold him in my arms...but knowing that he was now being held in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. His little eyes would not see the dawn of a new day, but he was now gazing into the face of God..beholding the Beatific Vision!..His tiny little feet would not walk in the grass of this world, but now he is dancing with all the saints around the throne of our God Most High. His little ears would not hear the songs of the birds in the trees,but he is now listening to the songs of angels. Jesus said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life and whoever believes in Me will have eternal Life " and so my little baby , I can find comfort and hope in the truth of those words. This very day you are enjoying the treasures of heaven that await all of us who believe."
My parents then washed his body and gently held him and cried together in the bathroom. They laid him in a little box which we had lined with satin and then brought him down to show the five oldest kids. Being the oldest of 7 children, and having a numerous amount of younger cousins on both sides of the family, I have been around many of newborns,  with the smallest (Benny) only weighing 4 lbs when he was born. But this? This was completely different. Barely five inches long, but unmistakably a human life. I completely agree with my mom when she said that his fingers and toes were the most amazing part, each one was so perfect, so complete and soooo tiny. 

Before my parents took his body to the funeral home we wanted a picture - not of his actual body, but of the outside of his box. The bracelet my dad is wearing is one he has worn everyday for months, it says "Life is Precious". 

Today (Tuesday) at 10:00am we had a short service at the cemetery and buried Sebastian Luke. It was just our family and some of my dad's family. 

Afterwards my dad wrote on facebook: 
"Thank you to everyone for all of your love, sympathy and prayers. Today we laid Sebastian Luke to rest. I was privileged to carrying the coffin and to help shovel the dirt onto his grave. It was a simple, yet beautiful graveside service with Fr. Louis and immediate family."
Sebastian is in the gold box in the front of the picture above.

The most touching part for me, was when I saw my dad and Uncle with tears on their cheeks. I am very glad that my Uncle Brian, Aunt Jackie and their kids were able to come because Aunt Jackie found out that she was pregnant the same day my mom did, and she is due with her baby just a week and half before Sebastian was due (Oct. 10th). We were all so excited to have two cousins coming just days apart - for the second time - {Rose was born just eight days after their daughter Emily}.

As my mom wrote on Sunday:
"It has been a day filled with many tears and much sadness, but also a day where the reality of heaven, the sheer awesomeness of eternity, the overwhelming reality that we have a new Saint in heaven, our dear son and brother, who is in the fullness of his personhood, who is in the fullness of the presence of God, and who will spend the rest of our earthly lives praying for us, encouraging us, and cheering us on to be a holier and more perfectly loving family, is such an awesome reality, that the blessings of that reality flowed over and under and through all the sadness and grief for every one of us."

Dearest Little Sebastian, 
I love you so much. We ALL love you so much. While we don't understand why we will never get to know you on this earth, God does, and I know that you have already touched so many lives. I'm so happy that you will never be tainted by sin, you will never experience any pain or any suffering and you are at this moment sitting with God, His angels,His saints and our two other siblings. Your perfect, tiny, fingers will never grasp mine, we won't hear you say your first word, or take your first step. I will never hold you as a little baby in my arms, or sing you songs or read you our favorite books. But I have hope, hope that I will see you someday in Heaven, and I will know you. You may not experience any of the earthly things that make up this journey we call life, but you have already attained the greatest prize that any human being can. You've already crossed the finish line that all of us are aiming for. And while you will miss out on the joys of this world, you get to skip all of the pain, ugliness, sin, and darkness of this world and go straight to Heaven which is so much greater than all of the greatest things in this world. And that is incredible. I love you Sebastian Luke, I love you so much.  Love, Your Big Sister, Mary Kate


  1. Love, hugs, kisses and prayers for you all.

    Sebastian Luke, pray for us!

  2. Oh, that is so sad. :( Praying for you and your family.

  3. I'm so sorry I will be praying for you.

    <3 Laura

  4. Praying for you lots. :)


  5. I'm so sorry, Mary Kate - my prayers go out to you and your family.

  6. Oh, I am so sorry! I will be praying for you and your family. ♥

  7. I'm so sorry- my mom went through this when I was young. Prayers for you!!!!