This week started out horribly.

Everything I touched seemed to fall apart, and I was racked with doubt and fear about the cause of Michael’s death. I worried that I had done something to kill him during my labor. I agonized over the choices I could have made: a cesarean instead of a vaginal birth, pain management instead of none, staying at home to birth him into my husband’s arms rather than into the arms of the on-call O.B. I fussed and stewed and made myself miserable over it. My sense of self-worth hit rock bottom and getting through the day felt like a monumental task. Dear Husband and I fretted over our church’s discussion of what is a Trial, and certain people’s insistence that Trials are either a punishment for wrongs or visited upon us by God to “make us better people” — which we need to be “happy” about if we’re “good Christians.” J and I stressed over what we may have done to anger our God and cause the death of our baby boy at birth.

In short, I was a wreck and J wasn’t whole lot better.

Then yesterday morning, my adopted sister called to tell me she was going into labor with her little girl.

I was emotional all day, worried for their safety. When I finally could get on the road, I had to fight the urge to drive like a bat out of hell to the hospital so stressed I was. I cried, multiple times. I trembled with anxiety. The prayer to spare my childhood friend and her family from what I now knew never left my lips. “Please, God, let them both be okay. Let me not be driving over there to be a shoulder for tears and loss. Let them never know this pain.” I was beside myself, and I felt sick as I entered the maternity ward.

As I entered the room I nearly cried with relief to see her cradling her newest daughter. Everything was fine, just fine, and the little gal had vigorous Things To Say about the world. She was beautiful. My sister let me hold her for the better part of an hour after feeding time, and the little darling fell asleep in my arms with the most delicate yawn. It was amazing, and my heart ached over it. I cried a little, but they were good tears. And it felt so good to hold a living child.

My drive home last night let me contemplate much. As I drove, I found myself thanking God for the evening: my sister’s good health and that of her new daughter, my ability and emotional strength to hold the baby, and the comfort I found in it even though the experience was tainted by my sorrow. I paused, and then found myself once again voicing confusion over my son’s passing. “I’ll never understand,” I said to the dark.

In that moment, I heard God. And I get it now. It doesn’t make dealing with the fallout easy, it doesn’t tie it up neatly with a bow, because I will grieve Michael for as long as I walk this earth. I was — am — his mother, and as Angie Smith said in her book “I Will Carry You,” the mother’s heart doesn’t know how to stop loving, even in the wake of death. But I get it, now. Michael’s death was out of everyone’s hands, and while I suspected as much all along, hearing His words brought it into much sharper focus. There was not anything I or anyone in that delivery room could have done differently. Michael was mine, Michael was my husband’s — but he also belonged to God, and you know what?

I can’t think of anyone else I’d like to have in charge of my son.

Today, the turmoil is gone, and the hole left by Michael is quite a bit more closed than it has been.

Today, I have peace.

Today, I understand.


14 thoughts on “Revelations

  1. I have tears as read this. You are on the right track, Heather. Keep going – though it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Living with loss is something that we never get used to but we do learn how – somehow, some way.

  2. I hope you will remember what I told you because this is it. When you are ready (and only you can decide) The time will come and move on. The pain doesn’t leave but instead of it being a thing that constantly makes you fall apart. It helps you fight harder and be stronger then you can imagine and God gives you the strength and hope to try again.

    1. I think you are RIGHT, Alisha. πŸ™‚ Today I just feel like I’m a whole new leaf. When people ask me how I’m doing, I don’t have to stick with “I’m okay.” I can say “I’m good,” or “I’m great,” and I MEAN IT. πŸ™‚ The entire experience was so amazing… HE told me everything I needed to hear.

  3. that also brought tears as we have read your posts and hurt with you. I have also heard the voice of God and someone asked me if it was female or male. After thinking, I said neither. It is good to hear that the healing has begun. You are an incredible gifted writer and musician.

  4. That was deep and fantastic, the whole kit and kaboodle all within a few days.
    The trials thing is so hard. My favorite application is the “have something to learn” phrase people throw around so easily when it’s someone else. That one used to bring a nice uncomfortable smile while I pretended that I didn’t want to punch them in the face (which has its own heart problems, of course).

    I’m so excited that you got to be there! That’s just awesome! The prayers sound painfully familiar, but that’s how it works.

    I love peace. Really happy for you on this! Really, really, happy. Peace is good.

    And you said “am”! πŸ™‚

    1. I am grinning from ear to ear as I read your comment, Erik. πŸ˜€ Yes!

      Oh, how I know that feeling of wanting to slap the next person who says “just be HAPPY that God exercised His will in your family.” Grr. lol.

      I am so, so grateful I got to see my new adopted neice. She is so beautiful, and holding her brought me much healing. God brought me much healing last night. πŸ™‚ I feel so fantastic today it is amazing to me. I look in the mirror and I giggle at myself because it seems so long since I’ve felt even remotely whole. Just, amazing.

      And yes, I did say “am.” πŸ™‚ I honestly didn’t feel it until now. I couldn’t LET myself feel it — I had no idea until this last, horrible few days how much baggage I was carrying around inside about the could-a, should-a, and would-a’s. I think it was holding me back, that nagging little voice in the dark of night that says “you know, you COULD have done ___ and you wouldn’t be here…” or “you’re such a failure, you COULD have changed this outcome and you DIDN’T…” I was so terribly, terribly weighed down. And then to ask again “why?” and have God answer, loud and clear… “Because I needed him, Heather.” WOW. No more arguments, no more gnashing of teeth, pulling of hair, or agonizing. I said, “I hear you God. I hear you,” and it was like all those doubts just melted away. I actually SLEPT last night! Like, good, wholesome sleep! I feel like an entirely new woman. It’s fantastic. πŸ™‚

      1. That’s just wild!!

        Oh, that day when you start breathing again is so sweet! Congrats just doesn’t say enough!!

        I’m so glad most people don’t know how many questions this stuff brings up. I honestly think most can’t handle it.

        Way to go, Heather! I just can’t say how exciting this really is!!!

      2. Thank you! It is GREAT! πŸ˜€

        I think you are very right. That thought occurred to me as J and I were leaving the hospital. There had been two other babies born that same night, and I remember thinking, “if it HAD to happen, maybe He chose us because he knew our marriage was strong enough to take it.” But after such a loss, it is so hard to trust yourself when you think those positive things. And reality can be so harsh. It can be pretty staggering.

        But YEAH. πŸ™‚ Very wild indeed, eh? At first I thought “I just made that up, didn’t I?” lol. I didn’t believe it! And then I heard it again, only it was louder and clearer and DIFFERENT from my own internal voice. “I needed him.” Like He had some special task saved up, just for our son. I can’t even hardly describe it adequately, just that it made it all Okay. Because I understood, finally, with no room left for any of those nagging doubts.

        It feels SO good to put down those heavy bags of remorse and guilt!

  5. I am so happy and blessed to have had you there Heather. Princess D is a lucky little girl to have you as her aunt, and I am lucky to have you as a sister, to help me show my girls what a truly strong talented woman is and can do. I couldn’t think of a better person.

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