Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

More on loss

I've been flooded with life changing news lately. It seems like everyone has something serious going on, some of it good and some bad. The most immediately relevant to my life, of course, is Brock's arrival a couple of weeks ago. He's healthy, strong, and a fantastic snuggler. He sleeps soundest when curled into someone. His big sister adores him and likes to snuggle him, too. There's nothing sweeter than to watch my sister-in-law curl up on the couch, one child in each arm. All three of them are so supremely happy, and nothing can come between them.

Another new friend was born recently, the daughter of an old intern pastor. Mother and father are starting their last year at seminary, and this child is a blessing of their first year of marriage. Charissa was born on Friday, October 1, 2004. That same morning, as one couple prepared for their daughter's arrival, another couple discovered that their child had died. Almost at the end of the first trimester, almost to that point of universally accepted safety, they were no longer able to hear the heartbeat.

Their loss is palpable. She expects to have the necessary D&C on Monday or Tuesday, but she has already started spotting. This is a loss I cannot comprehend. To be the person in silent suffering. To hold the body of your dead child inside you. To walk and live as though your pregnancy never existed, as though there were no dreams wrapped up inside your womb.

And yet to know that no matter how far along in that first trimester, that line in the sand exists for a reason. To know that for hundreds of thousands of years, women did not consider themselves pregnant until quickening, until the baby moved on its own. To know now that you can be confident of your ability to conceive and gestate a child. To know that there is meaning in the things we go through, no matter how grim things seem.

Maybe I've been swamped with too much loss in the recent months, but every time I think of miscarriage, of any miscarriage, my body breaks into a cold sweat and stifles my breathing. Could I handle such a thing? Is there any value in trying to have a child? Children die all the time. Should I do that to myself?

It's getting colder, and it seems like snow is coming fast. Brooke scraped frost off the car this morning, and I curled deeper into my cocoon under the covers. Thanksgiving and Christmas are on my timeline at work. They're on my mental preparedness timeline, too. I'm getting through my first year of [Fill-In-The-Blank]__________ Without Mom. It's too close for this year to be winding down, and I can't deal with her being gone for such a long time.


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