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,” he says


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 had only told one friend, who already knew because her mother had told her. I told no one else.

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

And we know “perfectly formed” babies still die.

And 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 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 cre-
ated in my heart

Years I did not
sing your song,
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.