We handle grief in a variety of different ways, don’t we? Sometimes grief falls upon us suddenly, threatening to drown us. Sometimes we see it coming a long way off and begin the process slowly. Other times, we go through seasons of denial, trying to fight off grief as long as possible, in an attempt to protect ourselves from being overwhelmed.
I’ve probably grappled with that last category more often then the rest. I usually don’t like talking about personal tragedy on this blog; honestly, it kind of feels like I’ve written about my miscarriages a little too often here.
However there can be so much help in hearing “You’re not alone; I’ve been there, and I understand a little of your pain”. Last summer I was surprised by what a comforting thing it was to read other women’s stories of grief and the hope they had in the midst of the “why”s. Hopefully, in talking about grief in my little experience, you will hear me saying just that.
The first and last miscarriages I went through were fairly early. Both times I wanted so badly to act as though they were just late periods. If I didn’t actually lose a baby, it wasn’t as painful. I just wanted to get on with life. No doubt you know what I mean.
Besides, I never actually saw anything that looked like a baby-it really looked just like tissue. A blighted ovum, perhaps? Surely that doesn’t count as a living little person?
The thing is, I had assumed that God needs to create a body in order for there to be a soul. Nothing is perfect in this life. But often today we assume that people have to be fully visible and perfectly or fully formed in order to be recognized as human, as valuable. Not so. To grieve means to acknowledge that we loved and lost. Not just the chance of a baby, but a baby. Tiny someones who have value because, for reasons beyond me, their Heavenly Father fashioned them himself and then brought them swiftly home.
I would have so much rather ignored all this at first, those two times of loss. Sometimes this process of living and losing breaks the heart. I’ve cried and screamed and cursed as I pounded the steering wheel on the way home from the doctor’s office. I’ve yelled “why?” at God and I’ve tried to ignore him.
But he hasn’t promised all the answers I want, or that life would be easy; after all, he’s my hope now and for the future when he restores all things. He has promised to never leave me. After all, He’s the Author of my life, and he’s working in ways I can’t see.
Grief is never easy. But the joy of walking more closely with my Father through the valley of the shadow of death further confirms his goodness, his vast love, and his power to carry out his promises-in his timing, not mine.