Today is Christmas day. It’s a day typically filled with excitement, family time, often eating too much, and making memories. While all of that has been true today, I also find myself drowning at times in the memories of this year. I’m engulfed in thoughts of what it “should have been” today with another baby in the Christmas mix. In the midst of these thoughts, I look at our 3 living children, and the joy and excitement they have of today! Am I blessed?? Of course I am. I can’t help but see that as I look around me. Am I bereaved?? Without a doubt. I do not know how you cannot be after losing 2 babies within a few months of each other.
I am a mother to 5 children, but you only see 3 here. I know that my 2 other babies are having the most wonderful time in Heaven. I know that. Does that take my grief away? Some moments, that thought eases things for a bit. But, truth be told, much of the time, I still groan in pain, wishing that things were somehow different. I am sad. I miss my babies that are not with us. I wonder. I question. I cry. I feel alone. I get angry. I get impatient. I get jealous. I see the announcements. I hear the complaints. I pull back inside, screaming. It feels so unfair.
I’m mad at God. Yes, I said it. So many theories out there. Does God cause the good and the bad? Is He sovereign or isn’t He? He numbers our days, yes? We say, “It was in God’s sovereignty that xyz happened” in the good times, right? But, then in the bad times, is He not still sovereign? I still don’t know the answers to these questions. Some say that Satan causes the bad to happen and God has no control over that. Well, that certainly doesn’t sit well with me, thinking my God doesn’t have any control over satan. We live in a fallen world, and that’s why bad things happen. So, why pray to God if He has no control over it anyway? Everything is already set in motion and God just has to sit back and watch until the end of times. Really? I don’t get that either. None of this sits well with me. These are the thoughts I wrestle with.
This year is not my first dance with loss. In some ways, I think this year has just broken me in the things that have been building for years. Losing my father at age 2. loss of great grandparents, grandparents, medical challenges, loss of identity as a midwife, loss of in-laws, loss of a gallbladder and a horrible recovery, loss of feeling in my face from wisdom tooth extraction (yes, still), loss of baby, loss of another baby, loss of a lot of blood nearly leading to the loss of my life if I’m truly honest. Then, loss of another grandparent. Loss of friendships. Lots of loss.
Am I just wallowing in my grief? Maybe, but I don’t think so. A quote from a book I’m reading says, “There is no way around grief; there is no shortcut. The only way is through with no expectation of finding the other side being anything like before.” The author continues, “I am not sure whether there is another side of parental bereavement where you crawl out of the dark tunnel of grief, back into the daylight and say: ‘Well, I am glad that is done and over with!'”
I struggle to even be around extended family at times. Not one mention of our babies. Not one, “How are you feeling?” I mean, were these babies really so unimportant to them, even though they are related to them? Maybe they are thinking about them and wondering, “Should I say anything or not?” Maybe they are thinking that they will bring up things that I’m already over and done with. Not.a.chance. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my babies in heaven. I try to give grace. I don’t have much of a lot of things to give these days though. I need grace handed off my way.
It’s challenging. I feel so much older now. Aged many years in just a few short months. Life feels heavy. Intimacy is hard.
So, yes, it’s a wonderful time to think about Jesus coming to earth …so that one day I can be reunited with my entire family. Yet, it’s a time that memories and what-ifs can be heavy. I am thankful for my living family. I am missing the rest. I am happy. I am sad. I am blessed. I am bereaved. I feel peace. I feel conflict and noise.
This is where I am.