Monday, January 19, 2015

Why Our Babies Aren't Angels…And Why It Does Matter

My baby’s not an angel.  And I’m glad for it.  Almost anyone who has ever lost a child has probably heard it or said it themselves.  In the midst of condolences or their own processing of grief, they are told that their child is now an angel.  The platitudes are many:
You’re now a parent to an angel.
They just received their angel wings
I have two angel babies in heaven.
Now you have your own guardian angel.
There is talk of an “angel day”, jewelry with angel wings representing their baby or loved one, sweet poems regarding our new angels in heaven, and even Catholic companies selling items bedecked with winged babies as a memorial for miscarriage or infant loss.  “Angel baby” is a common term in the miscarriage/infant loss world for a baby that has died.
It’s a tricky topic to bring up.  Who wants to be the person to gently remind someone that that isn’t quite the case?  That their child, or any loved one that has died, does not become a different creature in heaven?  (And certainly, there are often times when it’s not appropriate, of course.)  And anyway, does it even matter?  Why not just let people believe whatever they want to in their grief, if it’s consoling to them?  But the fact remains, and thank God for it, that our babies do not become angels when they die.  Nor do any of us.  We will never ever in all eternity become an angel.
And that, dear friends, is wonderful and important.  Because we become something far more incredible
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