"Who knows how one experience, so singularly horrible, can set in motion a chain of events that will bless future generations? Loss may appear to be random, but that does not mean it is. It may fit into a scheme that surpasses even what our imaginations dare to think." from Jerry Sittser in A Grace Disguised
I was given a copy of A Grace Disguised by my sweet friend Ann. She was one of the first people to come by after we lost Hadley. That afternoon, as I sat curled up on the couch, she pulled up a chair and held my hand. She shared her own stories of loss with me, and she has continued to check up on me since then. We had coffee last week, and she gifted me with the book and shared how meaningful it was and still is to her. I started reading it on Monday, and each night before bed, I've been reading page after page until my eyes grow heavy. It's not a book one can fly through. There's so much wisdom and insight written on the pages that I feel like I have to read and re-read to grasp the meaning behind each tidbit.
I feel the loss daily; mostly in small ways, but sometimes I break down into quiet sobs. If something upsets me, I change the subject.
I do that often.
I can talk about what happened for only so long before the tears start to come and the trouble breathing sets in. I don't like those feelings, and I don't want to make others uncomfortable. So, I laugh one of those small, breathy laughs--almost like a sigh--and change the subject to one that doesn't include my daughter, my pregnancy, or her death. Her death. I don't believe I've typed those words, nor said them out loud, before today.
Facebook has been a source a pain for me lately. I see friend after friend on there posting their exciting pregnancy announcements, and, like some horrible train wreck, I can't look away. Instead, I cry as I read post after post and the slew of congratulatory comments that follow. Sometimes, I really just want to scream. I'm not a screamer, so that particular feeling always throws me for a loop. Most of me is happy for these gals because I remember that excitement so very vividly. A small part of me wants to shout out that it's just "not fair" or some other nonsensical phrase. I know it's nonsense because, no matter how cliche it is, life is simply not fair. Bad things happen all of the time. We can't prevent them from happening, we can't change what has already occurred, we can't live in a state of fear that something terrible will befall us again.
We have to live.
We have to live with hope.
Sittser says, "Somehow we manage to live reasonably well, expecting the best and, when the time comes to face the worst, accepting it as part of the bargain of living in a fallen world. We are remarkably resilient creatures. When knocked down, most of us get up, like weeds bouncing back after being trampled. We love again, work again, and hope again. We think it is worth the risk and trouble to live in the world, though terrors surely await us, and we take our chances that, all things considered, life is still worth living."
Life is still worth living. I know this in my very soul to be true.
We went out to the cemetery today to just be.
Her gravestone still isn't there, and that made me sad.
Each time, I find myself hoping it will be there when we visit. Something inside of me needs to see it. To read her name, to look at those words.
The Husband is a constant comfort to me. We laugh together, we enjoy each other's company, we hold one another, we love, and we live. We did all of those things before, but now, the joy seems even deeper, truer, somehow. Our marriage is stronger, steadier, more grace-filled. The length of our arguments has shortened drastically, and the ugly content, too, has changed. Our relationship with God has grown, as well, and I'm grateful for The Husband's growth as spiritual leader in our home. God has done some phenomenal things in our marriage, in our life together, that may not have come about had we not experienced such grief and loss so early on.
Our first anniversary is in four days. I can't believe how quickly this first year has flown by and how we ourselves have changed so radically in the process.
For the better, I might add.
Things could have swung the other way so easily had we reacted differently to our circumstances. But don't be misled. We didn't do it on our own. Our God was for us every single messy step of this journey. We stumbled often (you know, those times where we tried to do it on our own?), but He caught us and held us close until we were steady enough to press on.
How He loves us.
Thanks, guys and gals, for continuing on this journey with us. We look forward to the future with much anticipation and with even more hope.