A Time to Grieve

I have been lost at sea in a storm of grief for many weeks. My words will fail as I attempt to give these feelings a voice.

I have lost 6 children in pregnancy, given them life in heaven, or miscarried them, which is not my favorite way to describe it. I lost them. They were here and now they are there. They were with me and now they are with Him. The most recent this past spring.

For reasons I will never understand, the grief I experience in this loss is not understood by others. The ridiculous, insensitive and ignorant things people say in a failed attempt to relate after you lose a child in pregnancy, boggles the mind. The bizarre words, which I grant you, are probably offered in an effort to say something even if it's wrong to show compassion, are more often salt in a gaping open wound.

If you are attempting to comfort someone who has lost a child in pregnancy I recommend this litmus test. Would you say this to a woman who had lost a 2 yr old child? Probably not? Then don't say it. Relate to them in the same way you would relate to any woman who has lost a child. Don't say, "you can have another one" or "better now than later, when you were attached". Yeah, people say that and so much worse.

This is the month, according to social media for infant loss awareness.  It's a nice sentiment I suppose, I am aware of my loss everyday.

Most recently my life turned a page and I began a new chapter. My oldest son married in July to my everlasting joy. We celebrated and rejoiced at the celebration of this Sacrament. 2 months later my daughter received a proposal and was engaged. My youngest is 14 and so far as I know not getting married any time soon but these changes began to settle into my soul a couple months ago and the reality hit me very hard.

My nest is hardly empty, my daughter and youngest still live at home. My son and his wife are here every week and my childrens' friends are treasures, like children to me and here all the time. But there is so much missing still.

So much missing that I never ever talk about. So much grief and I cannot contain it another moment. I think, all the time, about how old my lost children would be. What they'd be doing, how they would look. Clare would have been a flower girl, John Paul a ring bearer, the older ones in the wedding. I always imagined I would be the mother planning a child's wedding and nursing a baby. That was the life I was prepared to live. I didn't come to that openness to life easily. It was very hard, then to have that not be the reality was like an unexpected ice bucket challenge, a challenge I'm afraid I am failing in.

I think of how blue their eyes would be, and how busy my home and life would be. I long for it sometimes. I shouldn't be at the end of this journey of parenting, I should be smack dab in the middle. That's where I want to be at least.

I love my life. I truly do. I'm plenty active, running a business, volunteering, my life is full of love and laughter. My marriage is strong and I am more deeply in love with my beloved than I could have dreamed. Yet, none of these truths diminish the love and loss of my other children.

As my attempts to grieve privately have been failing recently I've had to explain to my husband and children why I am melancholy, or why I am crying over my morning coffee. They have such compassion for me, and love. Their comfort is like cool water on a sunburn. And yet, they do not understand. They can't completely. Perhaps my daughter understands more than others as she prepares and contemplates marriage this reality of mine, tinges the corners of her mind and she can imagine my pain.

In my prayers this morning I played this song which equally breaks me and comforts me. It is called Little Light by Audrey Assaad. I imagine it is sang over many sleeping, precious babies in nurseries often. But I sing to my children in heaven, who are being entertained my angels and bringing light and joy to Christ every day.

I imagine what they look like and I long to be with them again.

For my children and my husband who will read this... I know how sad my grief makes you. I know how you are tortured to see me cry. I am so sorry. I promise I am okay. I am not depressed, and I will be fine. You know how much I love you. I have devoted every day of my life to your care, your upbringing, your happiness and your education. You, my family are my whole world. Nothing can separate this family as we are united in Christ for all time. I just miss your brothers and sisters. Imagine if I lost you? I would go on, I would have to, but the grief would never leave me, because it is rooted in the depths of my soul in the love we share. I grew you within me. You were mine before you were the worlds, you were God's before you were mine and so we are intimately, intricately connected, you, me and God. What I feel is great love and great loss. I wouldn't give up either of them.

Someday you will have your own children, and I pray you are the kind of parent that loves so deeply, so unconditionally, so powerfully and unabashedly that it changes your life. I hope it grows your heart a thousand times, and stretches you and fills you up the way it has me. There is no joy that will ever compare if you allow God to grow this heart of love for your children. The catch is, with that kind of love, loss is felt in an equal proportion. Such is life little ones, but it is good.

Mom is okay. I'm going to wash my face, start supper, finish the painting project in the garage, listen to music, curl my hair and watch a movie with you later. Life goes on. Love goes on. My heart goes on but I will always grieve in a place in my heart until we are all together again. And that is ok.

Thanks be to God, my husband and my children for making me a mother, it is the only thing in my life that endures, the only work that matters. It is the source of all my happiness and joy.


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