Monday, January 23, 2017

Darkness

After Miriam died the world went dark for me. Dark and still and motionless. Everyone else's lives kept moving and mine completely stayed still. The day we came home from the hospital I was in physical pain, but I didn't care. My heart had been shattered. I had the recovery of giving birth but without the baby. I had never felt more empty in my whole life. 

For 4 months I carried her inside of me. She was my constant companion. Practically everything I did was for her and all of a sudden she was gone. I had so many hopes and dreams for this baby girl. She was going to be so mighty and fierce. She was going to be loved and kissed and hugged tightly and often by us and her two older siblings. But, when we came home she wasn't there. Her body was at the funeral home and her soul was in heaven. None of her was with me.

I wondered how I would get out of bed the next morning. Or any morning. Ever. I didn't understand how that could happen, but I did it. I got out of bed but it was a struggle. I wondered how I was supposed to care for the two kids that needed me. It seemed like far too overwhelming a task when my heart, body, and mind were broken and not functioning.

I shuffled through my days in a fog, unsure of how to function. Friends and church members volunteered to bring us meals and I don't know what I would have done without them. But I couldn't open the door to see the people who brought them. The anxiety of seeing or talking to anyone was overwhelming. People sent emails and texts and I knew it would be impolite to not respond but I just couldn't. Every single task in front of me felt like slogging through an enormous pool of mud. Even my body didn't make sense to me. God didn't make sense to me. All I could tell myself was, "I should have known this would happen. I never should have believed that we would actually bring home a baby. I should have known better."

I cried a lot. But, probably not as much as I should have. When I think to that period just a few months ago I see it through the lens of a very dense fog. I couldn't see anything around me and I couldn't do anything productive. Everything was dark. So dark.

When you are in the literal darkness it can be scary. You can't see what's around you or how to get your bearings. The figurative darkness is the same. Everything you thought that was true about life, faith, God and love seemed so clear before the darkness settled in and clouded your entire view. 

I will never understand how a woman can hold her dead child in her arms and not be an entirely different person afterward. I view my life now in two parts. Before Miriam died and life made sense, and after she died and life made no sense. I always knew that children died and that God made the rain fall on both the just and unjust, but now life just seemed especially cruel since it happened to me. To us. And to be sure, it's not like life was perfect or easy for us before this either. Infertility was dark and hard and confusing and faith shifting. But, the death of a child? It's a darkness, confusion and faith shifting that I didn't know existed. I knew it would feel tragic, but I didn't know it could feel this dark.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Sharing

I haven't written in a few months. To be honest I haven't felt like I had a lot to say. I have no special wisdom about grief or moving forward with your life. And it's hard for me to even know how I'm feeling or how to deal with what I'm feeling when my days are consumed with taking care of two small children. And that's ok, because I have no idea how I would be surviving without these kids. They are the life and breath of my days and true gifts.

And of course, November and December are months of insanity in our home. Mostly because Dave and I both work for the church, he as the Music Director. And as you can imagine his job responsibilities become constant going into Advent and Christmas-tide. So, that leaves even less time for thinking and feeling. Which again, was ok, because I had the gift of preparing for and celebrating Christmas with the kids, and with the buddy being 4.5 years old now, he is starting to really understand the excitement and build-up of Christmas unlike he has before. It was a joy to participate in.

But, Miriam's due date has loomed over my head for as long as I can remember. Of course it was seen as an exciting date while I was pregnant and imagined bringing home a baby. But, after losing her, it was a date of so much sadness. So, Dave and I planned a trip to the beach for January 5th just the two of us. We needed something positive to look forward to in the New Year. So, we planned a trip (that almost didn't happen due to horrible holiday germs, but that's a story for another post) while two sets of grandparents watched the kids. And we actually got to go. And it was filling.

That probably sounds like a stupid adjective. But, it did fill us. To be honest a lot of the "filling" was of food and drink (all-inclusive resorts are glorious), but it was filled with rest. And quiet. And gentleness. It was confirmed that both of us were emptied out introverts by the fact that other than meals we spent every daylight hour lying on the beach reading our respective books. Listening to the sound of the waves. And the quiet. And also some pretty obnoxious vacationers. But, we did our best to ignore them. :)

I'm usually a "beach novel" kind of gal, and I did read two of those while we were there. But, I also finished 5 non-fiction books (there is a lot of daylight and time to read while on vacation in Mexico). Books about faith, and quiet, and God, and life. Books that reminded me that I'm not alone and that my story is important. And that God calls us to speak and live in truth. The truth of our stories. Our family's stories. My story.

So, despite my fears about sharing what I'm really thinking and feeling and the questions I have about faith, and quiet, and God, and life, I'm going to start sharing them. Here. As much as I wish I could find the words when I'm talking with people in person I just can't and don't. My words out loud are messy and foolish and confusing. And I use "like" and "ummm" way too much even when I try not to. But when I write the words they tend to sound nicer and make more sense and seem worth sharing. So, I'm going to try.

This seems like enough words for today, so I'll stop here. I have so many thoughts all jumbled in my mind and heart, but I'm hoping as I write they become (at least slightly) more clear and concise.

And of course, please share your thoughts as well. My hope is that as I write and you read it will lead you to want to share your story too. Or it will remind you of the questions and hurts in your own heart and life. And I hope you will share them with me. I'm kind of obsessed with people's stories (umm... 7 books on a 6 day trip? I would say so!), so please considering telling me yours. Share your blog link or your own personal thoughts as the posts come. All of our lives and stories matter so let's not keep them to ourselves.