The Unrelenting Wave
Updated: Feb 28, 2021
Have you ever thought your life was hard and then something truly terrible happens and showcases that you have had it pretty easy up until that point? That is where I am at. My husband and I have been wanting children for a few years and have had three pregnancies. The first two were early miscarriages and the third one ended a month ago. Why do I say ended instead of that I miscarried? Because I don’t believe what happened to us should be classified as miscarriage. I was almost 19 weeks along with our son David and I contracted an infection and had to give birth to him. He was completely healthy, I heard his heartbeat moments before I gave birth to his tiny body. He was born without a heartbeat, and they informed me that he passed away moments before we met.
This blog isn’t about that story, which I am sure I will be telling when I am ready. This blog is about how my eyes were opened to an entire world I never knew existed. The world of all-consuming grief. I have experienced grief in various forms throughout my life. I have had friends and family members who have passed away before it seemed to be their time. I miscarried two before David, and I thought all of these losses caused me to experience deep grief. I thought that my life had had its darkest moments and that I knew pain. Nope. Not even close. For me, losing my son and holding his beautiful body in my arms is the deepest and darkest sorrow and pain I have ever experienced. I honestly don’t believe that I could handle experiencing something of this magnitude again. It is too much to bear.
I have spent my life hearing about these types of horrific events happening to other people and thought about how awful it must be to experience them. How do they get up in the morning? How do they keep going? I got these answers for myself within the last month. When you experience something that tears out a part of you, something that leaves you feeling hollow, you have two choices. The first choice is to give up. I have considered this option many a time. Giving up could mean something completely different for each person. While I have not thought about taking my own life, I have surely thought that I have wanted to die so the pain would go away. What I mean by giving up is to never get back to “normal”, to allow your bed to swallow you whole. To never shower or eat or see anyone ever again. This has been unbelievably appealing to me, but thankfully I have a husband who has never left my side and has nudged me in the right direction. The second option is to keep moving forward. Notice that I didn’t say move on. People never move on from great loss. It follows them wherever they go. Grief has a way of laying in wait for the most opportune moment to pounce and bring you back to your knees in agony from the pain of your loss. Grief is a funny thing that way, it does not ever truly disappear.
I heard an incredible metaphor on a tv show about grief this weekend. The character had lost their twin brother and was explaining how grief is like a wave. It crashes over you again and again. Once you feel like you can stand, it comes back with a vengeance. It feels as if it will drown you. This could not be more accurate. I have tried to explain my pain several times and nothing has come close to this description.
In the moments when I can think clearly and am not overcome by the loss of our son, I have started to think about the effects of grief. I mentioned earlier that when awful things happened to the people around me, I wondered how they kept going. I would take a moment to pray for them and then eventually, I would be back to my own life and ignoring the needs of those around me. This week, I realized that almost everyone I have come into contact with has experienced great loss. Once we shared about the loss of David, Thomas and I started to receive messages from several people we knew who had gone through the same thing. People I have worked with, gone to church with, been friends with for years. They were carrying this loss with them like an invisible 50-pound backpack, being weighed down and the only one who knew why.
Have you ever thought about the things people carry with them day by day? The pain, loss, hurt, abandonment? The list could go on and on. People are struggling through their lives silently all around us. And as a result of that, they lash out. Hurt people hurt people. We can’t seem to have relationships with one another because we are too busy trying to pick up the pieces from the last bomb that was dropped on us by life. We are fumbling around looking for something to fill the hole that the blast left. We feel empty. We feel lost. We feel like it will never end.
Until now, I had never really thought about why people behave the way that they do. Life has hardened all of us. Loss has seemed to have stolen our hopes and dreams from us. We thought that when God said He would work things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose that He meant the good we imagined. The good things we have longed for and hoped for since we were young children. I have found this not to be the case. I hate to say it, but God does not have the same definition of good as we do. He wants to bring people to Jesus to be saved. He wants people to know the healing power of the love of Jesus Christ in their own lives. I believe that is what He means by good in Romans 8.
I would love to tell you that I have spent the last month praising God for his faithfulness and steadfast love. That I have never once doubted His plan for my life. I wish I could say that I believe good things are coming, but that is not always the case. I currently spend my time in and out of what I have dubbed the haze. When I can process through what happened and remember the promise that God will never leave me or forsake me, I can see hope. Other times, I am stuck in this reality of uncertainty. A haze comes over my mind, I can’t see or think clearly. I start wondering if God truly is good and if He loves me at all. I have spent moments thinking that God hates me and that I don’t deserve to be a mother. I have spent even more time believing that this is all my fault and that God is punishing me. These are the moments when I am beyond grateful for a husband who loves Jesus. He reminds me of truth and helps me weed out the lies I have given myself over to. I have not done anything to warrant losing my son. God is not mad at me, nor does He hate me. God loves me so much He sent His son to die for me. I would never sacrifice my son for anyone, I can promise you. God has never left me, even when I feel hollow and alone. He is here in the midst and He is mourning with me. He knows I have been mad at Him and He can handle it. He will restore my life. God did not take my son away, my body had an infection and God saved my life.
God loves you, too. More than you can fathom or imagine. God sees the darkest parts of you and He desires to be as close to you as possible. I promise this is not just a cliche’. He loves you and He wants to grieve with you. He wants to cry with you and comfort you as you experience loss. He knows great loss and is the only one who can truly heal your broken heart. He will redeem and restore you if you give Him the chance. My prayer is that you know you are not alone. If you are in the midst of immense grief, God is there.
I hope that we realize that those around us need us. Sometimes people need space and other times they just need to know they are loved. Each person has their way of grieving. One way that Thomas and I have been blessed is through a meal train that was set up by our church. There were times we could barely get out of bed let alone make dinner. This gesture helped us to feel loved. Another way that I have been blessed is by people just being around. My friend Courtney has allowed me to cry on the phone to her and she just listens and prays for me. Countless people have shown their love in various ways. They didn’t have to say any magic words or give false hope. They were just there for us. Whatever that looked like. A phone call, message, card, or a visit. Grief closes in and makes you feel alone. Sometimes a loving gesture is the only reminder you have that you can keep going.
How has grief impacted your life? What do you wish people knew about how you feel? Let me know in the comments. I pray it will be healing for us all.