Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Empty Arms

My heart has been really tender lately. A sweet friend of mine recently lost both her twin boys when there were pregnancy complications, and when I went to church Sunday I learned one of the ladies who was pregnant lost her baby, too. Of course it's all reminded me of Lily. My heart breaks for these mamas because I remember still how horrible that initial loss is. I cried all of Sunday, just couldn't help it.

What I've been dwelling on lately is the aftermath. Coming home from the hospital after being "cleaned out" and just feeling so empty. Regretting that my child's body was to become medical waste and I couldn't bury her. That was so hard, but at the time I just didn't know what I could do--what questions to ask, what was within my rights to request. All I felt was agonizing heartache. And then to have to celebrate two birthdays--my oldest turned 5 two days after the procedure and then my youngest turned 1 four days after that. I remember her birthday party so distinctly. Sitting there opening presents with her and trying not to let my misery show. Just wishing everyone would go home. I don't remember my son's 5th birthday at all.

There's no good way to lose a child. Some will tell you "well at least you didn't get to know them" or "At least you got to see and hold them" and they mean well, but seriously their well-intentioned words can be so inappropriate.

I withdrew after my miscarriage. We were in a weird place in our lives, and I remember Bryan being around and I remember not having to deal much with the children, but I have no idea how that was. I know he had to go to work. I just don't know when. The days just went by in a blur.

Why am I talking about this here? Because I turned to my writing. I wrote all about my feelings when I learned I was pregnant, and when I felt something was wrong, and when I had to say goodbye. Facing all of that helped me cope, helped me deal with everything. Eventually I returned to myself.

In the years that followed I began to have doubts. Despite what I knew about life and death and God's plan, I wondered if I really had a baby waiting in heaven for me. Maybe I just didn't understand as much as I thought I did.

And then, God gave me an incredible gift. Ten years after losing Lily, I got to meet her. Sure it was in a dream, but I held her, sang to her, talked to her. It felt so real, more like a vision than a dream. And it was wonderful and heartwrenching at the same time. But I know. I know that my baby is waiting for me. There is certainty where there used to just be questions.

And with that knowledge comes comfort. You never forget losing a child. Ever. The hole created by their absence never really goes away. But eventually peace comes. Understanding that there is a larger purpose than this life helps bring that peace to your heart. And while I shed tears for the heartache my friends are going through, I still know they will eventually find peace. And I'm so grateful for that.


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