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Friday, April 22, 2016

Thoughts on Grief

My thoughts swirl today in my seventh week of pregnancy with our third child. Our second baby girl sleeps peacefully in her crib, and our first I still mourn every time my thoughts turn there. Each and every time I think of a child being harmed, or hear a story like the beautiful movie 'Miracles from Heaven' my thoughts turn to my Elisha gone so far from us before we could meet, hold, and love our precious child. Today I toured a Ronald McDonald House and volunteered a bit there. While I was happy to hear the help they provide to families, just the mention of children needing hospital care almost made me begin weeping. It's been two and a half years since I learned what it really means to grieve, and I thought by now I would have a sad memory to look back on, but surely I wouldn't still feel so torn, right? Then I read other stories online, and saw that people still have this fresh grief even after thirty or more years. It has dulled, I have many happy days between the sad.

I realize that emotions run higher with pregnancy, but that doesn't stop the emotions from coming. People ask me how my morning sickness is, they want to be friendly and sympathetic. When I tell them I have none, they tell me how lucky I am. They're right, I'm blessed, yet I only feel the same anxiety I felt with our daughter's pregnancy. I didn't feel pregnant with her either, yet here she is healthy and growing fast. So my grief is mixed with my anxiety, and my anxiety with my grief. I offer my anxiety to God, tell Him I trust Him. Yet I'm stuck with my strong selfish will, the will that wants to hold all my babies and never let them go. I've already had to let Elisha go, though I want my precious baby back with all my heart. One day I'll have to let my baby girl go as she grows up and begins her own life away from home. I'm so anxious for this baby, who could go away before I can meet it just as Elisha did.
I know that I should be glad of the happier place where Elisha is. I don't need to worry about the evils of the world and the suffering that comes in life ever reaching our first baby, and still I wish that God's plan had been different. Who am I to wish such a thing? Who am I to wish for my will over God's plan?

Grief is such a tricky thing. Do any two people in the world ever grieve in the same way? Can anyone understand another's grief, or are we all alone in this? The grief of a mother who has lost her child has a sound to me now. It's the sound I made when I learned of Elisha's leaving, the sound I still make now, though more often in my heart. I wonder if Mary made that sound, when they crucified her son. Did she when they gave her His body? How can we help each other, we who have lost our children? What can we do so we know we are not alone? If we share our stories we know that there isn't a time limit on healing. It's not a year, two years, or thirty. If we let people know, then our babies become known. There are so many lost children that have no one to celebrate their brief lives, because their stories were not shared. Why do mothers wait to tell of their pregnancies until the second trimester? Why do they wait to share their joy? Why is there such fear of people knowing of that tiny life they hold? It's time to talk about our babies who never got to breath the air. It's time to share the sad stories of those we never held. We need each other in this grief, and our silence keeps us apart.

I've learned the practical reality of living my life with this grief. I now cary pocket handkerchiefs, just like the sweet old ladies do. Because I never know which day the grief will poor out into the outside world, and it helps to be prepared. I've learned too that this grief makes me feel vulnerable, and forces me to rely on my Father's plan. I'm an independent person, always ready to run off like my little girl, headed right for the street and planning to take care of myself. But I know in my grief that I need my Father's comfort, His guidance, and I need to trust in His love for me and my children. I need to be a child like them, and for children it's ok to cry.

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