Recently my daughter became pregnant for the third time – and for the third time, the pregnancy stopped developing. Since it did not spontaneously abort, Abby had to go in for a D&C, her second.
When people have asked how I’m doing, I’ve replied with everything but the truth.
The truth is that I’m angry.
Angry that this happened again. Angry that she’s had more than her share of tough times. Angry because her life was supposed to have been easier than mine. (Hint: It hasn’t.)
Once I listened to a sermon on the subject of hard knocks. The minister concluded that he cannot dwell on grief and loss. Instead he focuses on a simple truth: “I am the beloved child of the Creator of all that is. But there are some things in this life that I will never know – and that has to be enough.”
Some days it is enough. Not lately, though. While I’m not losing my religion, I’m certainly interrogating the heck out of it. Why are things so hard for Abby? What if the grief destroys her? Are we supposed to learn something from this and if so, at what point will that become clear?
Each time I come back to the same immutable, immeasurably painful fact: that there is nothing to be done about this loss except to bear it.
There’s nothing I can do or say to erase the sadness for Abby and Tim. It’s not that I want to pretend that none of this happened – it’s that I want to blunt the sorrow. In the age-old way of mothers, I want to make things all right again.
During my daughter’s hospitalization for the disease that nearly killed her, I prayed silently – not for a miracle, but for an exchange. In my mind it was a friendly, conversational tone. You know, God, it really isn’t fair that she have to interrupt her studies to be on life support. How about you put me in that bed, and let her go back to school? Really. Please?
Similarly: I could get through three miscarriages because the grief and loss would be mine and I could handle it. Seeing Abby go through this is far more wrenching.
Sorrows and blessings
For days I resisted writing because I didn’t want to make this about me. Yet I also felt I had no choice, that the most effective way for me to work through my grief would be to write it down.
I did have the choice to hit “publish.” Ultimately I decided to do so because other couples have suffered in this way, too — and as inadequate as words feel right now, perhaps some will resonate.
Precious daughter, I am so sorry for your loss. Only time will ease the pain you and Tim feel. I say “ease” rather than “take away,” because to some extent the sadness will always be with you. This will be a mournful chapter of your lives, but it need not be the whole book.
How easy it would be to shut down emotionally, in order to protect yourselves against the possibility of future loss. Don’t. Please don’t. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about life, it’s that sorrows are just as likely as blessings – and that sometimes the two are intertwined.
The pain you feel might seem unbearable. Recognize, though, how the tenderness you felt for the baby-to-be increased your capacity for love.
Life is so damned tenuous. But don’t let the fragility of your dreams cause you to give up on dreaming them.
P.S. to the Creator of all that is: When it’s time, please send that child along. We’re so ready to cherish it.