I asked her if she needed bottles. As soon as the words hit the air, I knew it had been a mistake. I wasn’t ready for this. I wasnt ready for the answer. A few days before I had to work mtself up for a half hour or more to just call her on the phone to see if she needed a stroller… And here I was, unprepared, on a ‘whim’, deciding to ask if she needed bottles. “Stupid, stupid me.” Those were the words that swarmed my mind about the time the words came out of my mouth and into the great unknown. And then came the silent screams, ” NO!!! WAIT!!! I don’t want to know, I can not do this right now! It was stupid of me to ask. Please, God, maybe she didn’t hear the question, perhaps she will ignore it. Noooooo!!”. But I stood there, feeling the shakes start from deep within. Feeling my “OK for the day” heart crash and burn black with sorrow. I didn’t mean to walk into that one. I just did. It caught me by surprise. She saw it as an open door to freely talk about her baby, birth plan ideas, etc. She was polite about it. Never arrogant about her baby alive and mine gone… But it still hurt. I stood there watching the smile on her face, the way she softly and lovingly circled her hands around that beautiful bump on her midsection as she talked. I watched her eyes sparkle with excitement and love.
It wasn’t her fault.
It was mine.
I opened a door that I wasn’t anywhere ready for. And she walked in.
This sorrow, I brought on myself. All from a quick to speak, slow to think moment. I ‘should’ have thought this through. I ‘should’ have prepared myself before asking this. I should have…
But I don’t always think.
I just ‘do’. I wanted out of love, buried deep in the depths of my heart, to ask her this. To challenge myself to be kind and loving to this person that I have outwardly seemed so silent and bitter to for months. I wanted it to go well. My heart was in a good place of helpfulness and love for this dear woman.
But I wasn’t ready. Despite wanting to be, desiring to help, having all the right “reasons” for trying to do this… I just wasn’t ready. I learned that a little too late as the elevator of dread and fear and “oops this was a mistake” crashed on to me.
Within 10 minutes of that conversation, I snapped, yelled at the kids to get their shoes and we all scrambled out the door. As if That wasn’t awkward…
I got to a point of desperation. That simple conversation for 10-15 minutes had left me drained, grasping, drowning, in such swelling pain that the depths could not catch it.
I just had to leave. Not the room. Not for a moment. I had to get out of there. I needed to go home.
So we left. Suddenly, awkwardly, painfully.
It wasn’t her fault. It was mine. It wasn’t her intent to cause pain. Quite possibly she had no clue of the dragon let loose within my soul, searing fire-driven pain through my heart, as the conversation went on. My face held a smile. My voice was smooth and calm. She didn’t see my heart cracking open and the pain oozing out of the depths of my soul and through my body. She didn’t see the sad eyes that his behind my face, the inward tears that flooded me. She didn’t see how hard it was to hold that smile outwardly. It wasn’t her intention to cause pain. Honestly, it wasn’t mine either. My intentions were good. Helpful. Selfless.sacrificial. To grow.
I can say I grew… I grew to know that I am not “there” yet. I am not in a place where I can ask her if she needs bottles. I am not ready. I want to be, sometimes. But I am not.
I ‘should have known’… Maybe I should have. But I didn’t . I acted on the feelings of my heart. And it got hurt.
The ride home was silent. I put the kids to bed with my last bits of energy. I sat down and sat, in silence. A little while later my husband needed help with the car so I went out to hold a flashlight (because it gets dark at 5:30pm right now…) and sat there breathing through the pain and holding back the tears that wanted to spill out. A few slipped out anyway, but he didn’t see. I was a bit glad it was pitch black at 5:30pm in those moments.
He didn’t know how badly it hurt me. How drained I felt. How much of a complete failure I felt like.
He didn’t need to know. He didn’t need to hurt with me. Not this time. He had done this so very many times before… Bringing his heart down with mine and into the messy, sticky, thick muck of sadness and loss and grief and ugliness. And he just didn’t need to this time.
After helping with the car I went in and curled up in my room, silently letting tears leak out as my thoughts raced. Eventually they faded and turned to sleep. But with sleep comes nightmares these days. Horror and terror and hurt and pain and depth spinning so viciously around me that I beg to get out… And can’t. But every once in a while, God saves me from these night terrors. He allows me to wake up. Curled in my bed, with my husband breathing evenly beside me. He reminds me that there is peace in this world. In Him, there is peace. A peace that passes all understanding. I sit there awake, and the thoughts and emotions still swarm within me. The conversation repeats itself a thousand times in a thousand ways. Images of her belly and anticipation of her newborn baby swaddled in a tiny pink blanket within the next month haunt me. Hurt me. Time is running out. Time to hide behind this mask, this ‘excuse’ of grief. I dread the moment that someone offers me the baby to hold. What will I do? What will I say?
The anxiety toils deep within me. My heart feels the deep pain that only a mama whose lost a child so soon can know. The deep pain that we try to numb because it’s so incredibly intolerable. It crushes our spirit them stomps it into the ground. Days are ruined by the depth of this pain. Weeks and months are ruined because of how deep it cuts into us. Of the millions of words that exist, in hundreds of different languages, I’ve not found one to adequately describe this. It seems no other depth of pain could even come close to comparing to this.
People tell me “I’m not even you and I haven’t even gone through this, and my heart breaks”. And within me I respond with “I know. As much as you break for me, I break so much more and deeper. I hurt in places I never knew existed. I hurt so much and in ways I could never begin to describe, let alone wish for anyone. I know. I’m sorry that I make you hurt. I’m sorry that I hurt. I’m just so sorry.”
Losing your sweet child hurts not only in moments. You pain for years and moments and decades all lost in a single moment; All lost with a few simple words from a doctor looking deep into your eyes. “I’m looking right at his heart and it’s not moving”. 10 words that changed my life. 10 words that shaped me into he beginnings of who I am now and who I will be a year or ten years from now. 10 words that, much like a hurricane, uprooted our lives and flipped them upside down, and twisted and turned, And broke and shattered, and then dropped us flat on the plains, and left. Left us to survive. Left us to see the mess of what used to be our “orderly” lives. Left us in a disarray of confusion and pain and hurt and loneliness. Left us to rebuild.
A place where you are forced to start rebuilding something of a life with no tools, no guidance from previous fore-goers, and only your shattered life sitting there. You have to use the broken to rebuild new. You have to rebuild while you’re hair is still a mess and your heart remains shattered on the ground. You have to start when the only thing you feel like you can do is just lay there. You have to start when you’re the least ready to in your entire life.
But it’s necessary.
To attempt to rebuild from the broken, from the shattered brings even more pain, more frustration, more agony….
Bring me to ask silly questions like “do you need bottles” that ruin my evening and leave me with dreams I beg to escape from silly questions that leave me sitting here writing at 3 a.m. writing, and questioning whether this should even go anywhere, or if, instead it should stay recessed within the safe covers of my journal forever.
My intentions are good in this rebuilding phase. My goal is growth and blessing on others… But my heart is not there yet.
I am just. not. ready.
I wish I was.
I want to be.
But the raw fact is that
I. Am. Not.
So, dearest mama, if that is you, it is OK.
Rebuilding, from what I hear, takes quite a while.
If you shudder and turn away at the sight of excitement in someone’s eyes or a pregnancy announcement, it is OK.
This is grief.
Ugly, messy,sticky grief.
If you ask a question that you regret as soon as it hits the air outside of you… It is OK. (Clearly, I’ve been there.)
If you feel like an absolute failure at this ‘grief thing’- it’s normal. I have yet to hear of anyone that felt successful or saw their own growth in the throws of grief.
I know all too well the feelings of being completely inadequate and incapable of doing this.
So just keep trying to pick up those pieces.
Just keep trying to celebrate the little victories.
Just keep trying.
One day, I know you’ll make it. As will I
Because I know this…
You, dear mama, are BRAVER than you Believe.
You, dear mama, are STRONGER than you Seem.
You, dear mama, are SMARTER than you Think.
You, dear mama, are LOVED more than you know by the One who created you.