“The pain never completely goes away.”
I look at my precious friend as tears slip out of her green eyes and down her face and wish I could take her pain into myself. I know where she is right now, somewhere between what is and what could have been, that land of make believe dreams that won’t be coming true. And every contraction reminds her that her body is doing the one thing it isn’t supposed to be doing, letting go of her child.
I hug her narrow shoulders and remember through her what twelve years of walking through the living while mourning the dead have taught me.
You never get over losing your baby. Your child. Your dream.
But you can learn to breathe again. You can learn to push the pain down because honestly you have little other choice. This life slows down for no one, especially the grieving. People pat you on the arm and say impotent things like, “It’s for the best” and “There will always be other children.” And because your momma raised you right you will not throat punch them into next week.
You will not do that, but you will think about it often.
Instead you will stare at them blankly and nod. Eventually you may be able to manage a small smile but inside they will forever be on your “avoid at all costs” lists of people because there is only so much pity you can take from the well-meaning crowd before you lose your sanity. You will return to work or school or life because you must but you will be day walking through entire weeks. You will mime your way through the day answering questions, completing tasks, and otherwise mostly appearing normal to normal people because that is what women do when the world crashes down around their ears. They tuck that crap in and keep going.
God has given us spines of invisible steel; you finally understand that but wish you did not.
You will eat food because it is in front of you and people who love you will pester you purple until you do. It will taste like sawdust in your mouth. You will take smaller bites trying to avoid this problem but it will not go away until it’s ready to and all the water in the world will not help. You will push food around and pretend to be interested in eating it; you will not be interested.
You think maybe ever.
You will cry at random times that make no sense to folks sometimes not even to yourself. You will think you have no more tears left and then right there in the middle of Wal-Mart some idiot has placed a new display of baby wipes and you lose all your well tended composure between cashier number 3 and the magazines. You will not be able to explain to other people why this is happening, why it’s still happening twelve years later. And God help you when those stupid adorable Carter onesies with the matching leggings pop up on the end caps at Target. They are from the devil himself.
You will forever be looking for the other head of hair at the table.
There’s no avoiding it. Easter, Christmas, and especially birthdays just won’t be like before because at some point you will be wondering about the little person that never showed up. Sometimes it’s a longing like a slow pulling deep within your chest, as if the air is being slowly stolen from your body one breath at a time. Other times it’s a sharp jolt like lightening striking you, quick and hard, so fast you can’t prepare for the pain. There is no way to know which way it will appear.
If you are blessed enough with other pregnancies the ignorant joy of it will be gone. Oh you’ll be happy, thrilled even, but always along the margins, along the edges of the everyday, is the thought, “Is she okay in there? " That thought can keep you from fully embracing the happiness that comes with little ones. Try not to hold onto that thought so tightly. It will do you no good and will rob you of the glorious moments you are living in the now.
You will long to see your child in a way regular people cannot truly know, and you can’t talk about at parties. You just can’t. You will see sunrises and sunsets knowing that your little one is in Heaven and at times want to shake your fist at that beautiful pink and orange streaked sky but hold fast friend. You are not forgotten by the maker. He is not blind to you and your pain is his pain.
I wish I could tell you a formula to get you through your grieving and somehow emerge on the other side with no scars to bear witness to your story, but that is as impossible as reaching up to the sky expecting to touch Heaven itself.
There is no easy way through sorrow it is borne of death and lives as long as the momma’s heart that beats within your chest.
Over the years I have come to deeply believe that when we hit the streets of home our children will be the ones holding the gate open for us, joyfully ushering us inside their stomping grounds. And I believe God will give us an answer to our “why's?” Others have often told me that in God’s presence we won’t care what happened to us on earth, that we will be totally focused on worshiping Him, and perhaps that is true, but what a Father we have to show us the reasons anyway, to forever dry the tears and cure the ache that we have carried defines the mercy that is Him.