Saturday, April 13, 2013

Joy and Grief

It's amazing how emotions work.  The dichotomy of those feelings has always been a mystery to me.  Why is it that when you are feeling the highest of highs that something can drag you down to the lowest low?  How is it that a simple thought can bring you back from the depths to the clouds?  Of course, I am specifically talking about grief and joy.  Unfortunately, these two have been my companions for some time now.

I have kept the intense pain and sadness that I have felt for the past few years hidden in my heart.  I realize that it was an inefficient coping mechanism, but it was the best I had.  For some reason, I haven't felt "allowed" to grieve publicly for my many losses.  Perhaps it is that I am very sensitive to what others say, or maybe I haven't been ready to deal with those losses head on.  Somehow, keeping them under my pillow makes me feel safe.  But it's that same pillow I hug at night and cry into.

Today, I would like to bring some of my losses to light.  I have found it therapeutic to name each of my children, even though I didn't get to hold them.  I have kept a list of those names in my journal.  My husband and I (and a few close family members) are the only ones to know of them.  But I think it's worth it to share them now:

Elizabeth Rose - Jan 2010
Noah Benjamin - Jan 2010
Emma Christine - Feb 2010
Joseph Bradley - May 2010
Elysia Amber - May 2010
Emily Ruth - May 2010
Elijah Jacob - July 2010
Isabella Rose - July 2010
Evalyn Anna - Aug 2010
Seth Alexander - May 2011
Kate Marie - May 2011
Spencer Morgan - Apr 2012
Eden Grace - Apr 2012
Alayna Faith - July 2012

A hole was torn in my heart with each loss.  This is a hole that will only be filled on the glorious day of the Resurrection, when all of our losses will be made up.  I know that each of these precious children is mine, and that I will have them again.  It doesn't make the waiting any easier.

Many will not understand how I can feel such loss for so many babies that were only within my body for a very short time.  It is not something easily understood with the mind.  It is something felt in the heart.

This great shadow that has been over me has had a beautiful ray of sunshine break through.  I am pregnant again.  This news fills me with joy, but also with terror.  At 20 weeks, most risk of loss is diminished.  I should be jumping for joy that I have made it this far - and I do.  But deep in the recesses of my mind, I still hold some fear that there will be a grand "just kidding" from the Lord, and I will lose yet another piece of my heart.  It is difficult to explain, but I still remain cautiously optimistic about this child making it to my arms safely.

It is this child that I am carrying now that brings tears of joy and wonder, but also tears of grief and pain.  How is it that both can coexist so acutely?  I realize that this is my own struggle, and perhaps no earthly answer will ever satisfy.  And so, I try to focus on the joy.

I think that Psalm 30 helps to express my feelings... "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." and "...thou hath turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness".

I know that all pain is temporary.  I know that all challenges can be overcome.  It is the enduring part that will always be difficult for us mere mortals to deal with.  But I do have hope and faith in a glorious and joyful reunion with those loved ones I have lost.  That is what keeps me going.  What will tomorrow bring?  I don't know.  But I will face each day with the hope of brighter tomorrow.