A few years ago, our daughter and son-in-law lost their first baby early in pregnancy.  To work through our loss as grandparents, I wrote this letter to the grandchild we would never know.  Perhaps it will help others too. 

Dear Grandchild,

What a joy it was to hear that you would be joining our family!  Your Mom and Dad, your Grandmother and I, the rest of the family, and many friends celebrated the news as we eagerly anticipated your birth.  Joy, joy, joy!  I can’t explain to you how happy we were. 

Our joy was turned to great sadness when we heard that you were no longer with your mother, growing and becoming.  We already loved you for who you are as God had created you.  We took comfort in knowing that Jesus promised that you are with him in safety, comfort, and love. 

Knowing that, though, doesn’t relieve our sense of loss for not getting to know you.  You were developing already at a rapid rate and we wonder what your fingers and toes looked like.

God had already given you all your potential and we couldn’t wait to watch you discover it.  There were many questions that we pondered.  What or who would you look like? Were you a boy or girl?  Would you like sticks and puddles and toads, or frills and dolls and tea parties?

Would you run with power and grace, or would you have problems and need assistance?  Would you excel in curiosity about all the wonders of God’s creation, or would you be comfortable taking life as it came to you? 

Would you light up when a fluttering butterfly passed by, or would you try to whistle with the birds as they perched?  Would you be an insatiable reader or struggle to stay interested in a book?  We hope you would have understood the importance of learning and becoming all that God meant for you to be. 

There are many unpleasantries in the world you would have entered and there is a need for someone like you to make it better.  We would have prayed for you as you grew and became a young man or woman.  We would have asked God to help you through the pitfalls of life to become strong, and caring, and loving, and kind.  We would have also prayed for you to know the truth and to be an ambassador of it. 

So much potential and so much to do.  Would you have been a doctor or nurse, a barber or beautician?  Would you have a love for justice and become a lawyer or judge?  Would you have loved to fly and become a pilot or astronaut?  Would you have loved children and become a teacher or counselor?  Would you have been an athlete or fireman or policeman? 

Please understand, we wouldn’t have cared a lot about what choice you made, but we would have been proud of what God helped you become. 

Our greatest joys would surely have been seeing you grow up loving God and Jesus, your friends.  Watching you live like he wants you to live would have made our lives worthwhile.  You see, we are connected by blood and by all that family means.  When you would have done well, we would have understood that we had something to do with it and that is a great thing to know. 

The greatest joy would have been the day you understood that you needed Jesus to save you.  We would have wept with love and joy to see your life so filled as you were baptized into him.  That very reason is why we had your mother and her brothers.  To glorify God and love and serve Christ are the absolute best reasons to live!

You won’t have the chance to do any of those things, except love Jesus, but it is okay.  Instead of living many years to learn to love Jesus, you are with him now!  It is The Grand Shortcut to heaven.  The beauty of your life now is something we can only get a glimpse of in the Bible, our life guide here.  Your joy must be complete as you romp and play and fall into Jesus’ arms. 

I wonder sometimes if you play on a sunny day in lush green grass and play with God himself.  How could it get any better than that? 

We want you to know that we are happy for you.  It is not easy to tell you that because I would have given my life for you to live and grow here. 

We will never know what you would have done with all that God-given potential, but we sometimes wonder where it would have taken you.  A cure for cancer?  Or maybe for diabetes so your grandfather wouldn’t have to endure it?  Your father is working on it. I can imagine that you could have followed in his footsteps. 

I would have loved to visit you on a foreign mission field where you serve, or listen to you preach or teach about the truth of life.  I would have been ecstatic to listen in when you helped someone understand about Jesus. 

And if God would have allowed, my tears would have flowed when I watched you baptize your own children into Christ.  Knowing that was done, I could leave here and be where you are now with great satisfaction that it matters that this family lives.

We rejoice for your shortcut!  See you later.