When You Are Reminded of Your Losses
October 15, 2018
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
Remembering painful losses can take you and I down a couple different roads, depending on two main factors – the healing we’ve allowed to take place in our hearts since the loss and secondly, where our Hope is anchored.
The Road of Darkness
Remembering can take us to a dark place where our hearts, minds, and bodies re-process every detail of that dark day every year, like clock-work. It’s like a movie screen that keeps replaying the same film, one filled with trauma, grief, and details we’d rather forget. Have you ever experienced that? I know I have.
After Hosea passed away, my memories were haunted with images of Nathan doing CPR, paramedics racing into our home and whisking him away, my daughters standing in stunned silence not knowing what was going on, and many other images that I wanted to claw out of my mind for months.
The Road of Light
Remembering can also take us down a path where there may still be tears and sadness, but the sting of trauma has dissipated and the perpetual gruesome movie has ceased to play. On this path, after we wipe our tears of remembrance from what we lost and what could have been, we sigh and declare our Hope in Christ. We have chosen to not allow the dark images to run undisciplined and untamed through our minds.
I got stuck in the first path for years and have to choose this second one, time and again. I came to a pivotal crossroads after our son went to heaven, embracing that this side of heaven I may never understand why my little boy suffocated in his bed that particular Saturday in 2006.
The seed that sprang forth was an unshakeable declaration that
“God is Good and I can trust Him.”
I could not say this before. I didn’t know this kind of Hope in the midst of pain and loss. My mind was so clouded with darkness and despair that I couldn’t and wouldn’t allow the hope of light to spring forth again. Hope felt too painful, as if somehow if I hoped again it meant I was losing Hosea all over again.
Although it took me years to arrive at this posture of surrender and faith in the goodness and trustworthiness of God, my wrestling created in me a firm foundation that can’t be shaken today.
Makes Allowance for Our Humanity
Healthy remembering of losses makes allowances for our humanity and still gives us space to grieve because to deny our grief is not healthy either. Nor is staying stuck in it for too long
As we shed healthy tears over our pain, it releases the pain instead of trapping it inside. It also keeps us grounded and connected to the wounds and hurts of others who are currently walking a road we may have already traveled.
Shouldn’t Keep Us Stuck
Healthy grieving and remembering shouldn’t keep us stuck on the Dark Road. This road only leads to despair, depression, and hopelessness.
If we are left to our own abilities and faculties to overcomes our pain, trauma, and losses and we stay stuck replaying and reliving them over and over again, it’s no wonder so many turn to other mechanisms to simply cope.
My Journey with Infant Loss
As I take time to reflect over the journey of my marriage of nearly 17 years, it would be easy to get consumed by what could feel like a battlefield where the casualties have been little people.
The battlefield has been riddled with losses from more than a handful of miscarriages one of which was at 3 months along and burying our infant son Hosea, to the secondary losses our other children have experienced due to their own ways of processing life as they knew it during these life-altering moments in the most formative years of their life.
When Nathan and I became parents, we truly had no idea what we were signing up for, as I’m sure is true of all parents! We had no idea we’d be holding each other, weeping, as I delivered another baby too soon. Or standing over the lifeless body of our son, realizing we would have to wait until heaven to hold him again and that the future we’d already planned for him was no more. And we had no idea that those events would impact each of our children differently and that we would still be navigating that loss with our teenagers.
Although we had no idea of the trials and the tears parenting could bring we also shake our heads in wonder at the indescribable gift parenting has been – the lessons that bring out the best (and worst) in us, the laughter following spontaneous and unscripted statements even the most accomplished comedian couldn’t concoct, and the love. Oh, the indescribable love when a little person reaches out, unsolicited, to plant a big one on your cheek or a wayward teenager acknowledges their affection towards you…and that they do still kinda sorta need of you.
Over the years, the Lord has turned my battlefield of pain into a glorious field full of Hope.
I don’t have to understand each event or painful moment, but I do know He is aware of every tear and is the Anchor of my soul. I wouldn’t have made it through the trials without his Grace.
It is enough.
It may not feel like it in the moment, and there were plenty of days I felt like I was holding on to a single thread that was connecting me to heaven. But I’ve come to realize that thread was Hope. It was enough to keep me getting up and keep me putting one foot in front of another.
Hope has grown like a little seed in my heart and is slowly taking over all the places where I let fear, depression, and loss take over.
Hope breeds life.
It’s not from us and we can’t muster it. We have to get it from an outside Source. Jesus is my source of Unshakeable Hope – hope that I can make it, that my faith can remain strong in the midst of the storm, and that my life can move forward and not stay at a standstill.
His Hope propels me and empowers me to rebuild, to grow forward, and to hold on to Him with everything I have.
Do you have this type of Hope?