Peter and I were having a conversation about blogging recently. We were talking about different ideas and I mentioned that I’d found it difficult to think about writing on our blog this past year. For some reason, I’ve felt some kind of emotional block. He suggested that maybe this was due to the difficult year we have had and perhaps writing a “one year later” post might be a helpful thing for me and for others who might have experienced something similar. So I’ve taken his suggestion and here are some thoughts from my heart.
One year ago, I thought my heart was going to break in two. I thought I would never be able to go out in public again without weeping. We’d lost a baby through miscarriage. Our family cried and cried and then cried some more. The tears kept coming, even when I thought there surely could be no more.
Over the next few months, I healed physically and the tears slowed down although they still came often and easily. With God’s help I faced the hurdles of going back to church, talking about pregnancies and new babies with friends and family and the monthly reminders that the life was gone from my womb.
My heart continued to count how many weeks pregnant I would have been as fewer and fewer people asked me how I was coping. I didn’t blame them . . . it was just that the heavy weight of grief had settled around my heart like a blanket – hidden and silent. It was often hard to watch the lives of others continuing normally around me when there was so much pain inside me . . . so much pain that felt like it would never go away. It often felt like my feelings were trapped . . . bubbling away in a deep, under-ground spring in my heart with very few outlets.
As the months passed, there were ever-widening gaps of time where I didn’t cry or feel very sad. Sometimes I felt guilty for these and sometimes just grateful for a break from the pain. The weeks leading up to our baby’s due date were very difficult and as a family we shed many tears on the day we expected our sixth child to be born. What should have been a day of joy, was a day of profound sorrow. However, the memorial we had for our baby was one of the most special times we have shared as a family and I believe God used it to comfort us in a deep way.
Now, one year from when I thought I would never function normally again, I can say with confidence that our God is a mender of broken hearts. In His own quiet and beautiful way, God has been gradually healing mine. Just like it is with a physical wound, the healing started from a deep hidden place, without me even realizing it was happening. There will always be a tender place inside, but I am grateful for the healing work He has done. I don’t cry often anymore, although I think there will always be moments where the grief washes over me and the tears come. But the intensity of the sting is gone for now . . . or perhaps I am in one of the increasingly longer gaps between the tearful moments. I believe God has used every one of those tearful times. The tears have cleansed the pain away . . . slowly but definitely.
God has taught me so much. I have learned that grief and tears are a part of life on this broken earth. And a loss will forever become part of who you are as a person. God has helped me move toward being more open with my feelings. I have come to know that He is always with me, even if I can’t feel Him in the darkness of sorrow. I will always treasure the Bible I was reading this past year and the many verses, especially in Psalms that I underlined through tears.
I have also learned that sorrow can lead to some tender moments between a husband and wife. I have come to realize that grief is a very individual thing and each person will handle different types of pain in different ways. A loss calls for much grace to be extended to others and yourself. I have learned that there is no timescale for grief and usually your own reactions are not what you expect.
I have come to deeply appreciate friends who have asked me how I was, have not been afraid of my tears and have been willing to let me be real with them. No one has rushed me to “get over” our loss and that has been a real gift. I hope I have gained a new empathy for people who are grieving. And perhaps I have learned a new humility – to let people love me and care for me when I felt like the pain would never let up and to be content not to have the answers. And lastly, I have a new longing for eternity when all the tears will be wiped away.
One year on . . . I can say with certainty, when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for He is with me. I will continue to follow my Good Shepherd through the green pastures and let him carry me through the dark valleys. I know that He will never let me go.