Capture Your Grief, Day 6

We must understand then, that even though God doesn't always give us what we want, He always gives us what we need for our salvation.”  -St. Augustine


This is the last picture I have of you living inside of me. I took it three days before you were delivered from my broken body. Three days.  The irony of that. The irony of my waiting for the unknown.

I was 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant when I took this picture. It was a Friday night, and I was alone with your four older siblings since the night prior. Your Daddy was away on his first silent retreat and would be returning on Monday—the same morning we would end up finding out your heart had stopped beating at some point between the hours of 9 PM and 3 AM.

We called you our “healing baby.”  My past is damaged, my little love. My childhood...stained.  And it saddens me that you have full knowledge of what that looked like for me.  But you are part of that story.  You are the next chapter.

The summer before your conception, while I was away on my silent retreat (at the same place your Daddy was the weekend before we lost you), God repaired much of my broken heart.  The walls I had been building my entire life for self preservation began to crumble.  I allowed my Heavenly Father to move in close and to overcome the trust issues I had because of my earthly father.  I found freedom, transparency, and an intimacy that transcended into your father and I’s marriage.  I found healing.  

Finally, no longer was I, “Jaurius’s daughter” (Mt. 9:18-26).  Finally, no longer was I, the “hemorrhaging woman” (Mt 9:20-22).  I was on a journey to wholeness. I was on a journey of healing. I was on my journey to you. 

I remember so clearly the night of your conception. The vulnerability. The tears of healing in a moment of pure intimacy and freedom.

Then, a positive pregnancy test.

Your little life was proof of my renewal. You were my healing made tangible.  You were my  healing baby.

The gift of your life within me showed me that God holds true to his promises. That he is faithful. That he can be trusted. That there is redemption in the broken places.  That there is hope, and that the shattered little girl of myself I called my own, might actually become someone new. Someone recreated. Someone who is not defined by what they were subjected to, but by who they become and choose to be.  No longer a victim, but a victory.  A victory over death, through the gift of a new little life. Your life.   

I couldn’t wait to hold this evidence within my hands.  Cradle you in my arms.  Embrace my healing made manifest.  

But then, tragedy struck once more. 

And your little life slipped right through my fingers. Your soul left my body and broke me in two.  The wounds of my childhood, which had been healing ever so gently over the past ten months, were wrenched back open. My heart, my hope, our future—lacerated.   

Trust?  Gone. Freedom?  Shackled. Fear?  Profound. The longing?  Unbearable. Reparation?  Damaged. Healing?  Dissipated. 

And that leaves me in the now. Awaiting healing once more that pervades because of your absence.  Because of losing you.  Because of the brokenness from delivering you without a heartbeat.  Because of losing a child.  Because I buried my healing baby.

I can’t even begin to attempt an understanding of what it all means.  It will always be a complete mystery to me.  

The gift of your little brother has helped. His life has softened the edges, a bit.

There are moments when I get a glimpse of joy.  When I feel hopeful again. When I think I might actually be able to let the Father draw in close once more and heal my broken spaces.  When I will allow him to heal me.

But healing has been a process of surrendering, remembering, and waiting. It has been allowing the emotions and the memories to surface.  It has been going through the pain and not stuffing it away. It has been allowing the gaping wounds to be exposed to the light.

It has been counseling, and writing, and graveside visits. It has been nights of endless tears and crying to the point of vomiting and being unable to breathe.

It has been going through your memory box and looking at your pictures.  Meeting others in their suffering and talking about real and hard things.  

It has been allowing others to love me and admitting that I can’t do it all.  It has been an attempt to trust, and getting let down—but trying again anyway.

It has been acknowledging my pain, giving it a name, and being okay with who I am now.

It has been accepting what life after loss looks like, moving one step forward, one day at a time.  And it has also been taking steps backward.  

It has been losing relationships, losing friends, and letting go of the expectations I place on myself and others. 

Healing has been allowing the old wound to touch this new wound.  It has been waiting in joyful hope.

And healing will come because you existed.

Healing will come, because of you.

My healing baby.