Perfectly Formed


Happy birthday to Brenda Jane.

August 28, 1959

August 28, 1959


August 28th, fifty-seven years ago:

I am 11 years old. A baby is coming, but the Doctor has been saying there is probably something wrong with the baby, and if Mother “miscarries” it will be “God’s way of taking care of it.”

Four years and two brothers after praying for a baby brother, I am hoping for a baby sister.

Sadly my little sister is born too soon, the entire span of her life – seven hours between her first and last breath. The birth is difficult and my mother almost dies. Looking through the nursery window, Daddy says the baby is so small he could have held her in his hand.

“She was “perfectly formed.”


August 28, 2016

We didn’t talk much about how we all felt in those days. That’s just how it was.  Grief seemed to be a private thing. After the initial disappointment, I put my feelings into a box, shut the lid, and placed it on a shelf. I told my best end, who already knew because her mother had told her. I told no one else.

Later, in conversation with my parents, I learned more about the burden of deep pain they carried quietly in their hearts.

And we know “perfectly formed” babies still die.

Now I am the only one left after my brother Gordon died at age 49 in 2005. (My second brother Ronnie died nine months after Brenda Jane.) My little sister’s short life isn’t just a fact anymore. I miss her. I miss Ronnie. I miss Gordon. If even one of them were here, I wouldn’t be “the only one left.”

“Singing their song,” is now important to me.

“If their song is to continue, then we must do the singing. We have to find that special way that will allow us to sing our loved one’s song loud and clear . . .” Elizabeth Stillwell Grief Digest, Volume 2, Issue #4

This little poem came to me on Aug. 28th as I once again sat in the quietness of remembering my little sister, Brenda Jane Longenecker.

Posting here gives me a way to sing her song.  I also sang it HERE in 2011.

to Brenda Jane

How could I sing
your song, when you
came and left so soon?

How could I sing
your song, when I
did not know the tune?

Because the song
you would have sung
barely got its start,

the song I sing
for you is
ated in my heart

Years I did not
sing your song,
I did not know I could.

Wee One, I’ll sing
your song. It is
very, very good.

You were perfectly formed,” Daddy said.

Psalm 139:13  –   a big sister’s paraphrase:
For you created Brenda Jane’s inmost being;
You knit her together in our mother’s womb.
I praise you because she is fearfully and wonderfully made.
I know that full well.


17 Replies to “Perfectly Formed”

    1. thanks Jody, for stopping by this place. I am glad I wrote it too…and it’s always harder than I think it will be before all is written.

  1. You and your family have been through so many losses. No wonder you understand how Dave & I feel with our losses as well. Hugs, dear friend!

  2. My stillborn Son would have been 21 this year. I don’t celebrate his birthday anymore, but we do have pictures of him, and I think of him sometimes. 21 years later your blog has brought me to tears. Psalm 139 is what is engraved on “Little Eric Jr.’s” headstone.

    Love ya!

    Pam Redmond

    1. Oh Pam, others have pain we know nothing about. Stillborn…oh my heart. These little people are so important. I am glad to know about little Eric Jr. You just sang his song here today.

    1. How nice to see you here, Marcy.I remember my grandmother being the only one out of 9 siblings left. She was in her 80’s. I never expected it to happen to me at age 57. Thank you for stopping by.

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