I’m so thankful for dear family and friends who drew near to us during the first horrible days of our miscarriage and these four weeks since then. We are the recipients of so many kind words and thoughtful gestures that my words of thanks seem inadequate, but my gratitude for people’s kindness, gentleness and compassion goes even deeper now.
One friend sent the book I’ll Hold You In Heaven which is written to parents of children who have been aborted, miscarried, stillborn, or died in early infancy. This book was a quick and reassuring read exploring through scripture the idea of the unborn having souls from conception. It helped me realize that I have a child waiting in Heaven. What a humbling thought.
Other friends sent prayers which made me cry as I read them. I’m overwhelmed at how many people have suffered the loss of an unborn or stillborn child. I never knew the depths of grief so many friends have struggled with, but as a friend who struggles with infertility recently shared with me, “loss is loss.” You don’t have to have experienced the heartbreak of a miscarriage to understand the heart ache of unfulfilled dreams and longings.
Several people told stories of friends who held memorial services for their lost little ones. I thought I was “beyond” that, for I’d already poured out my heart in an authentic, vulnerable, soul-bearing way just days after I lost my heartbeat-less baby. In other words, I’d checked “grieving” off of my list and I wanted to move on without experiencing any more grief.
Mike, though, thought it was a good idea, and I wanted to be supportive (but not too emotive), so I begrudgingly agreed. I didn’t want to open that wound again for it felt like the healing had started — was well in motion — and I wanted to simply move forward into the future with vague reflections on that sad time in our lives.
Two weeks after our loss Mike and I took the Hampton Jitney (bus) out to Montauk, NY, where my family has been going for over 50 years. My Gramps and my Dad are both buried in that small, unassuming, unpretentious beach town, so Mike thought it would be an important place for us to memorialize our long-prayed for baby.
The weather was perfect: a sunny October day with clear skies. There was even a festival in the middle of town. Mike looked for a baby blanket or some kind of object we could use to represent our little one, but none of the boutiques he walked into carried the kind of items he wanted. I didn’t think I could handle shopping for baby items without crying so I sat on a park bench near the town square and watched happy families buy large jars of pickles.
As a last resort we stopped into White’s Drug Store deciding on baby socks. Because the florist shops were closed, Mike gathered wild flowers from along the winding road as we walked up to Fort Hill Cemetery.
Fort Hill is one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited. From that quiet, grassy place you can see Montauk Pond, the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a meandering trail with scenic vistas and teak benches which are perfect for long, thoughtful rests as the sun sets. There’s usually a soft sea breeze blowing across the top of the hill, too, taking the edge off the heat and humidity on hot summer days.
Sitting beside my Dad’s grave, Mike and I spent an hour praying to God and talking to each other about the baby we never held. It was a surprisingly, unexpectedly healing time for us. I didn’t know what to say at first but sometimes silence suffices.
Here we are one month later. Physically I’m healed. Emotionally, I’m tender. Spiritually, I have questions. See, I had hoped that after my previous foray into writing about our miscarriage I’d be able to dam up my emotions and move forward with veiled references to loss and heartache. But I’m learning that God has more for us than that: He is calling us to live authentically with loss. We will have many opportunities in the years to come to celebrate with others while taking our broken hearts to Jesus. We will live with the reality of lost dreams in a way I never imagined, marking milestones by someone else’s precious baby.