Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

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

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Giving in

Our sermon this week was about dying and giving in to death. Our preacher discussed how for those of us who are control freaks, asking for help is giving in and giving up. We give in to help the way we give in to our mortality, and only in doing those things can we truly live.

In the months since Sanna’s birth, I’ve reached a place of true comfort. My life is the way I want it, and for the first time in my entire life, it feels safe and settled. From here on out, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted it to be. At the same time, I live knowing that my mother’s early death just might predict my own. I live like my life might already be half over. It might.

Between the appointment with the surgeon and the biopsy, in that long period of more than two weeks, I had a sense of peace. I knew (and know) that it would probably be breast cancer that kills me, but that this wasn’t it. The biopsy needed to be done, because while I can afford to be wrong about the former, I could not afford to be wrong about the latter. My anxiety about the biopsy surrounded the drugs, my milk, and our travel plans, not the pathology report.

Motherhood has been easy for me. Getting there was hard, but life with our daughter has been blissful for me. I think daily about my mother, and I wonder if and hope that she was as satisfied as I am. As a child, I wanted to be a mother, and as a teenager, in the throes of early high school angst, I was convinced that as soon as I had a baby, everything would be perfect. If I had known then how truly happy I would be when I finally was a mother, I fear what I might have done differently during high school. Doing anything differently then would mean a life without Brooke and Sanna.

Thinking back on all those failed and missed cycles, I wish we had known not to try until the cycle that gave us Sanna. I feel physically ill when I remember one in particular, but I wouldn’t wish Sanna away for anything in the world. I do wonder if I would be anywhere near this happy with any other baby. I wonder if I just needed the time to heal or if I just needed Sanna.

Now that we have our child, I can give in to death. Sanna fills in the gaps, and my heart lacks nothing. Raising her is my vocation and my calling. She is our gift from God.


At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Liz said...

I once read something that I have found very comforting. A woman who had had a number of miscarriages before finally giving birth to her daughter said that she felt it had always been the same soul, who kept coming back in different physical form until finally one body "held" and was able to be born. She felt that the miscarriages weren't separate children who were lost to her. The spirit that was meant to be born to her was, finally. The rest were just rough drafts.

Maybe Sanna's spirit has been hanging around for a decade or so, waiting for when the time was right.


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