A Sure Mercy
There are defining moments in life. Times when the world pauses or progresses, and one is no longer the same. Two weeks ago I awoke with a question, almost certain of its answer, and was proven right. For seven days I held that answer close to my heart, reveling in a miracle we had prayed, hoped, and worked toward. A week ago I awoke ready to share that moment with my husband, so I bought a six-pack of his favorite beer. In a cheesy blank card, I wrote to him that since he is so fond of six packs we ought to make it a permanent feature in our home — which would be happening in his birth month this year. Hello, Torrey Baby #4! We spent the week bantering about names, arguing over how to tell the world, and basking in the glow of new life.
The midwives at our birthing center welcomed us back (all three of our previous babies have been birthed there), and scheduled our first prenatal appointment for the week of Easter. It was decided that we would share the good news at Easter, probably with another cheesy Easter egg/basket surprise for both sets of grandparents. A ten-year anniversary trip to Italy was canceled — that vacation time and money would be needed for other things. Potty training for Judah was ramped up — avoiding three in diapers seemed a worthy goal. Extra freezer meals were made — in case slight nausea turned into a more debilitating morning sickness. Our everyday life continued as before, yet each moment vibrated with excitement and anticipation.
Today those two weeks seem a lifetime ago. On Saturday, I woke to a light bleeding and by Sunday morning, our baby was lost.
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.” C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
It was a sure mercy that our day of loss was followed by a Sunday, a mercy that I could wipe my tears, rejoice with the saints, and proclaim God’s goodness in the assembly. But Sunday is over, and still I am bereft. My desire remains to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, but a deafening ache of loss overshadows nearly all that I do. There are flashes of anger, but the energy anger requires is sapped by sorrow. My husband and children are more than consolations; they are, along with my blood family and church family, the very real presence of God with me. This journey through the valley of the shadow of death is comforted by His presence, and He has provided such wonderful earthly arms to hold me. I find myself memorizing the laughing face of our delightful Olivia, squeezing far too tightly the restlessly energetic Judah, and comparing, enthusiastically, color choices for a joint page with my artistic Kenzie. In each of them, I am reminded of God’s goodness and grace, and that in Jesus Christ’s humanity he knew grief and sorrow for he knew — knows — love. And what a blessing to have a Godly, wise-beyond-years man beside me, holding me up when I falter and walking before me when the way is unclear. Yes, even in this darkness and pain there is mercy.
To the darling one that I will love for the rest of my days: I never heard your heart beat, but I cherish you with all of my beating heart. My eyes will never see your form, but I know it was fearfully and wonderfully made. I will not cuddle you through the cold winter months, a newborn babe in my arms, as I had been awaiting. You will not add your cries for comfort, shrieks of joy, or squeals of laughter to the pandemonium that is our household, and your absence will resonate in that quiet. I will miss you. I do miss you.
Goodbye, my beloved little one.
Editor's Note: Joshua's thoughts have been published here