Two weeks ago, my husband and I were preparing to check into the hospital to birth our dead daughter. It seems impossible that just fifteen days ago life was normal, unmarked by tragedy. That my biggest concern was whether I'd continue to fit into my maternity pants until January 20, our due date. I look back at photos from that time, that before-she-died time, and feel afraid. It seems like such an awful thing should be preceded by a feeling of dread, an ominous portent, but instead my photos are peaceful, perhaps even naive.
These past two weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions for me. I have felt so many things -- from numb shock to sorrow to fear to anger to the loneliness of grief. I've even felt almost normal at times, which seems shocking to admit. I've been trying to get out of the house regularly, to not isolate myself, but going out into the world hurts. It feels too rough and cold and cheerful all at the same time. It hurts. I hurt.
But yesterday I drew for the first time since we lost Eve. I had been afraid that any attempts to make art in the same whimsical mixed media style would be painful. Would remind me of how much had been lost. So I had been putting it off . . . but yesterday I felt ready, and gave it a try.
It felt good. Not painful, not draining. Instead, it felt healing. It felt like coming back to myself, the person that I was before all this happened. I am so grateful.
It is so hard, this hurting, this losing. And there is so much fear, which is something I did not expect -- fear of what will become of me, of my marriage, of what kind of mother I could possibly be after this should we ever be able to have a surviving child. But there has also been grace and mercy, again unexpected and both larger than the fear. God has not pulled away from my tears, from my questions, but instead I feel Him more closely. The same is true for my marriage -- this loss has bound my husband and I together even more sweetly, another unlooked for gift. And on top of all that my physical situation has been surprising; there was/is minimal soreness and bleeding, and my breast milk dried up in less than the projected two weeks.
Seemingly small mercies become large, and deep pain becomes bearable, even surprisingly survivable -- that seems to be the prevailing lesson of these past weeks. Sometimes I wonder if I will make it through this intact, but most times I feel certain that I will. I will be okay. Everything will. This story does not end with death and grief. It ends with God and life and peace and completion. The truth of that holds back the darkness.