Tuesday, May 1, 2012
I'm not sure if it's good manners to write about such things, because I'm not seeking sympathy or even any words at all from anyone, but this person I have never met is on my mind today. October 22, 2005 was her due date. But on May 1, 2005 after an ultrasound with no heartbeat and much worrying, it was clear that I was going to miscarry.
I named her Anna. I don't even know if it was a girl. She wasn't there. She must have died at around eight weeks, and my body absorbed what little there was of her. All that was left was a 14 week placenta and a little silver dollar sized yolk sack. They called it a blighted ovum. I almost don't know if I'm allowed to mourn or be sad. But of course I am.
That's why I'm writing this, so all you other people who don't know if you should be allowed to be sad...just BE SAD. It's ok. It's odd when traumatic events happen on landmark days. This miscarriage happened on my friend's first wedding anniversary 7 years ago. I didn't tell her until later, because I didn't want to wreck her day, but anyway she she remembers me and this little baby every year. I always feel like what if the baby didn't ever actually exist, and there won't be anyone to meet in heaven one day? Am I allowed to mourn a baby that might not actually be around in any dimension? But I think she was there. I felt like she was. I'm sure her little soul is nestled in some cozy corner of heaven, living it up. And I think I will know her later.
Her loss feels just as searing as if I had held her just once, but strange and mythical, because I never did. My mind and my body were preparing. The hormones even then were bonding my life to hers. I can't deny that. So May Day is a weird day for me each year. It's the day I lost my little Anna. Her name is Hebrew and means "grace"---and grace is unmerited favor. It's more than that.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 explains it best:
"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, so that my power may be made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
I didn't "delight" in losing a baby, but I did feel a warm blanket of God's grace around me even as I did. Neither do I really think that He's so callous and pompous as to let a baby die when a mom is praying and pleading for its life, just so His power can be shown. I think it's more complicated than that. It's something I can't really ever understand, because, hey, if He's God, He should make it all good, right? But instead, He allows the brokenness of our sinful world to take its toll on us, and instead of plucking us out of it all, offers to hold us through it.
While I was going through this loss, people I knew and even ones I was really just acquainted with shared with me their very similar losses. This understanding of the depth of my pain was like a rope I could use to steady myself as I walked the tightrope of my quiet grief. Friends sat with me and were just there. More importantly, I could feel Christ's love burning in the hearts of each of these people, not only for me, but for all the loss our mutual pain represented. This is not the way He meant it to be, but even so, He is there for us in the middle of it. He is still. He is quiet, and He extends the one thing that helps us walk out of our grief: Hope.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
I know God doesn't plan for us to have bad things happen to us. He doesn't want to harm us. But these things happen anyhow in the sadness of this world, and He can always cause to grow the tiniest green seedling of redemption in the charred ashes our trials leave us with. I have the hope of meeting this tiny Anna someday. And I have the comfort of knowing that what I've gone through, I can share with others, maybe helping extend that steadying rope of Christ's love for them as they cross the blackest ravine.