I was going about a normal Monday. You sprung from my inbox and landed on me.
My heart felt accosted. Such an internal battle about unsubscribing from the weekly Baby Center updates. I can’t bring myself to do it. (Some weeks you don’t pounce from that update. Some weeks, like this one, you do. Seemingly no rhyme or reason to how you work.)
Keeping things, like these emails, is what my heart pulls me to do, even when I feel the American/Western culture pull to toss and move on. But it’s not like I can toss you and move on. You’d still show up.
My beloved boy-blue Ergo lays dusty on a closet shelf. And my pregnancy journal hides in a side table drawer where I’m fully aware that it’s there.
Seeing these things is hard but there’s something about them that’s powerful proof that Gabriel was real.
I was going about a normal Sunday. As the breeze blew warmly outside of church, a friend shared the brittle news that he’d become a grandfather. That news took long moments to translate. His grandson had been born early. Two pounds. Alive and fighting well. He is a gestational-twin of sorts to our little Gabriel, due the same week.
Unexpectedly, you blew in as a cold front. Freshly aware that life is beautiful and so thankful for baby J, and–at the same time–choked with my own desire to continue to hold life in my body.
I was going about a normal Monday night. Scott and I winding down for the evening, talking about our upcoming 10-year anniversary of meeting, this April, and all life has encompassed in that time.
“Two continents…” one of us said, then words stopped like the air in a hose suddenly stepped on. Not sure who said it but it sent us into silence.
You made entrance into our room like a tiny, deflated balloon, pushed under the door. With each moment—minutes?—that we sat in silence you grew larger and larger and you filled the space, pushing against my heart.
“Where are you?” Scott gently asked.
You popped into a million pieces and tears free-fell.
“4 babies,” I responded.
I was going about a normal Wednesday. Bedtime routine with the kids. A bit of light was still visible through the blinds. Joshua’s face turned sad. I pulled his big preschooler/little man frame onto my lap.
“What’s wrong, buddy?”
“I thought we had a baby.”
“Oh, buddy. I know. I know.” He buried his face in my shoulder.
You show up, dark and heavy. Uninvited.
It’d still be too much and too mean and too unfair if you just showed up to stalk me. And fling yourself on me at expected times.
Landmark days I brace myself, sure that’s when you will attack.
But most of the time, those aren’t the times.
Instead, you come so unexpectedly.
And the worst? You attack Scott and the kids, too. I hate watching you attack them.
You’re like a wild creature, indeed.
“If I have learned anything about grief in the past two years, it is that grief is a wild creature. Grief will resist every attempt to tame it, to control it, or to keep it tidy and well-behaved. Rather than managing it, grief asks instead that we tend it, listen to it, question it. One of the surest ways to calm it is to give it some space in which to speak—or to holler, or weep.” –Jan Richardson (Thank you, Judy, for sending this.)
And so I give you space, Grief. Fearfully, apprehensively I give you space today.
Everything in me wants to run from you. You are wild.
But you, Grief, are leashed and held by the hand of the One in whom I trust.