Lisa and Makani Marquis with two of their children look at an ultrasound image. The mother of two children in heaven, Lisa writes, “I would never have asked God to send me the sufferings we have gone through, but now I would never ask Him to take them away.” (Photos submitted)

“I’m sorry, the pregnancy is not viable.”

It’s something no parent wants to hear when they are at an ultrasound. We were with our nine-month-old daughter Rachel trying to digest what we just heard. We had no reason to believe this pregnancy would be any different, but it was.

When we had a moment alone we wept, then sat and prayed: “Lord, Your will be done, we accept.” It was a very hard to pray this, but it is the foundation of who we are – people who seek to live abandoned to His Providence.

My husband had been a hermit for eight years and I had lived in the consecrated life for eight years before God brought us to each other. We connected while discussing God’s will, surrender and providence. Now we found ourselves being asked to say, through tears, “I surrender.”

On the drive home I sat looking out my window, filled with grief. I gazed at the beautiful homes passing by. I felt God ask me, “Would you want one of these houses?”

“No thank you,” I replied simply, with the ache so present in my heart.

His next question was a surprise, “Would you want your daughter back?”

Very simply my heart answered for me, “No thank you.”

I was surprised by my answer and reflected at the peace within. I knew my little one had fulfilled her mission and that we were to welcome her into our family for a very short time. She was where she was supposed to be, and even though it was still so hard, I trusted. We named her Baby Rae (our little ray of sunshine).

Finally, after months of waiting, we had good news: we were expecting again. We had even less time with this little one as he left us almost immediately. We were asked to trust again in the midst of pain.

As we prayed, we felt this little one was our Baby Jon. This is where the healing began.

A few days later we were at Mass celebrating the Feast of St. John the Baptist. In the homily the priest said, “This is the message of John: Do not fear.”

I felt a surge of love and trust. I knew that whether we would have more children or not, we are being blessed with life. I realized that for the months of waiting to get pregnant I was living in the future and missing out on all that is wonderful around me. I found purpose, meaning, and joy in my husband and daughter. I found trust and abandonment in God. Baby Jon brought me healing. I was no longer afraid.

By God’s grace we conceived shortly after and welcomed Baby Joseph during Easter of 2019; our new life baby. I know we needed Rae and Jon so that I would be able to know Joseph.

I’m a mother of four amazing children and I love that my two here with me know about heaven, where they will meet their brother and sister. Those two have days we celebrate for them, just like we do our children’s birthdays. During Advent there are two small stockings with Rae and Jon’s initials which, come Christmas morning, are filled with a family gift for us all to enjoy.

I would never have asked God to send me the sufferings we have gone through, but now I would never ask Him to take them away. Heaven is closer than ever. One day I will see the colour of their eyes, feel the warmth of their hugs, and hear the joy of their laughter.

Lisa Marquis is a mom and the assistant to the Archbishop’s Delegate for Operations in the Archdiocese of Vancouver.