When my husband came home from his meeting only 30 minutes after he had left home for the meeting to "plan our transition out of this city," my heart raced. When the quiet, desperate, pained words "He fired me" came out of his mouth, I felt my eyes widen and my jaw drop.
When we poured the broken parts of ourselves into the computer, piecing together a letter of hope and love and memories for our youth group, a goodbye that came much too soon and pain-filled...I was stunned in sadness that this had become our story.
When we read the vague and awkward goodbye letter to the community that we had built our life around, I wanted to escape the skin that held me in.
When the birth experience I had been dreaming about for over 4 years turned into one of the loneliest experiences of my life, I felt guilty.
When deep sorrow was met with immense gratitude, I felt shame that sorrow existed when I had the privilege of not just one, but two babies to raise as mine.
When depression swallowed parts of my joy, I felt I was a disgrace to the infertility and pregnancy-after-loss community.
How could I feel so much sorrow surrounding an experience that was also the source of one of my greatest blessings? Why was my birth stolen from me? Someone who loves birth and looked forward to experiencing it with every part of her?
When we were forced to say goodbye to our first baby too soon, when his tiny body left mine to reside forever below the earth and among filth, a part of me went with him.
A part of my heart went straight into the sewer but also to heaven; though I look forward to being introduced to Jesus by that little baby, I miss him. The tunnel of grief that gripped us felt dark and lonely and long-lasting.
I found myself on the floor, face down, time and time again.
Crying into the carpet, asking Him for comfort, asking Him "Why? Why after so long did you allow me to conceive only to miscarry? Why is my body broken? Why am I plagued by disease and chronic pain? Do you hear me?"
I knew they would divorce eventually. Part of my adolescent self always wondered when it would happen; would life be easier if they just divorced? I always wondered. I always sort of wished; maybe the yelling and things would end. Maybe life would be a bit more peaceful.
The answer is no. No it isn't easier. We are met with separated family events, ill-feelings towards the other, brokenness and dysfunction.
When both of my parents decided to remarry within months of one another, I was forced to my knees once again. Crying out to Him, asking Him to teach me how to love bigger than I had. Help me to accept these additional people into my family as family. Help me to love them.
When both of my parents decided to remarry, it took time to process. The layers of hurt resurface when holidays and birthday parties bounce into the calendar. But the layers of hurt are not impossible to wade through.
I love the people my parents married; I love their kids. Love makes a family and sometimes love takes time and love takes choosing. But ultimately, love knows no bounds; not even in sheer brokenness.
THIS LIFE IS LITTERED WITH LOSS.
For so long, I have experienced loss [on a spectrum of sorts] and failed to recognize it. Loss runs rampant in our lives.
I battle fear: if I validate the loss, am I admittedly unthankful? If I give loss space in my life, am I not being thankful for the privileged life I live, for the goodness and the grace?
Sometimes it seems easier to ignore our loss, pretend it didn’t happen or doesn’t exist. Sometimes it feels like the expectation is to disregard the pain, to harbor emotions, to wear a facade of okay-ness. To accept it and move on.
Maybe we feel silly for being sad about things.
We judge ourselves, comparing our loss to someone else’s, shaming ourselves for thinking we have anything to grieve. eir loss is much more tragic, we tell ourselves. could be worse, suck it up.
Or worse yet, we tell ourselves acknowledging loss is weak. Only the weak grieve.
I WOULD BARGAIN ONLY THE STRONG GRIEVE.
It takes strength, courage, bravery to grieve.
It takes strength to enter your own pain. Courage to sit in it, to give your loss and sorrow space, and bravery to allow it to consume you, even if only briefly.
It takes strength to acknowledge and validate loss.
I created this little, simple ebook for all of us. It is the overflow from the depths of my grief, where deep pain meets hope. Give your loss space, give your pain a voice. In doing so, you may just find yourself breathing a little easier, your heart a little freer.
Download this ebook for free, my gift to you.
"With her unique voice, Natalie shares her personal journey through grief and loss while inspiring readers to explore their own pain and find hope and healing along the way. Natalie’s self-paced workbook walks readers through their individual grief journeys with biblical references and prompts to reflect, learn and grow from their past pain. It offers meaningful insight for anyone who has felt broken, confused or hurt by their past or present life experiences."
Award-winning journalist, infertility survivor, freelance writer at ShelleySkuster.com