No pretty explanations or metaphors tied with florid descriptions.
And no answers.
For months I have been in the sad place. Dealing with the compounded grief of 3 sequential losses of my 3 babies. Sad, angry, grieved, and quite honestly, still trying to get out of bed some days.
But over the last couple of weeks, I feel like my sad place has transformed into more of. well. of a discouraged place. The grief is still there, but it is overshadowed by the looming presence of the absence of hope. If that makes any sense at all.
It's a deep pervading sense that this season, this season of loss, struggle, and deferred dreams seems to be dragging on and on and on. And that despite the crystal ball that some people must be hiding in their back pockets, assuring me that everything will work out perfectly in the end, there is no end in sight.
And that as I sat in the doctor's office last week, trying to make it the first visit that my doctor didn't have to hand me a kleenex to dry my eyes (and failing miserably), and I listened to her explain that we needed to move on to the next step because the prior plan wasn't working and my body had evidently become immune to the drugs--I remember sitting there thinking...this is no longer just a baby loss journey. It's no longer about the fear of losing another one. Of getting the BFP and panicking that a 4th loss was in store. It's the fear that I may never even get the chance to fear that again. What was a struggle to keep a baby has now become a struggle to even just conceive a baby.
What the heck.
Call it a step back, a slap in the face, a kick in the butt, a punch to the stomach, a wrench in the plans...call it whatever you want. It's downright discouraging. And I feel. so. hopeless.
And for the last couple of weeks, that's where I've been camped out. The discouraged place. And like the grief place, it's a lonely place. Isolating, cold, and full of a lot of darkness.
And as I consider the stories that have come across the desk of FMN over the last couple of weeks, the feelings of despair only compound.
First, there was the woman who was told at 20 weeks that her baby boy had a terminal disease. She and her husband made the courageous choice to carry him for as long as they could, and the next week he died in utero. Did I mention that her husband is also battling terminal cancer?
Then there was the momma from Texas who emailed us to ask for a box. For herself. She had just lost a baby girl at 14 weeks due to cystic hygroma. 4 years before that, she gave birth to a stillborn son at 24 weeks. And a year before that, she miscarried another at 8 weeks. Last we heard, she was planning the funeral for her little girl.
There was also the momma who was told that her baby boy had a terminal type of dwarfism and would not survive birth. He was born into heaven last week.
And finally the woman whose baby boy was also just diagnosed with cystic hygroma at 18 weeks gestation. He is alive but not expected to live much longer.
And as I sat tonight. And I read more in detail about some of these women and their stories, I wept. I wept for the dark days they face, the isolation they will experience, and the despair that they will feel. I wept that they would be leaving the hospital with empty arms. I wept for the children who were excited to have a new baby brother or baby sister. I wept for the husbands who will work so diligently to hold their families together that they will deny their own grief and begin to crumble under the weight as the dark days keep coming.
And I wept for myself. For my babies that I will never get to hold on this side of heaven. For the dream that feels a little more crushed every day. For the stab that I feel with every announcement, shower, meal delivery, and milestone that belongs to someone else.
And I wept for the fact that I feel as though I have been drafted to head the saddest, most devastating committee on the planet.
Afterall. I did not ask for this.
And as Karen and I were talking tonight, I said, it's too much. This is too much. Because here's the thing.
It will never not be this way.
There will always be momma's without babies. And momma's whose babies die.
And that is terrible. It's devastating. And it kind of makes me want to crawl into a hole, put my fingers in my ears, and hum as loud as I can to drown out the noise of this tragedy.
And these stories literally represent one week of FMN emails. One week. There are many many many others just like these with equally as heart-wrenching outcomes that we have heard over this past year.
Well. Thank God for Karen. I don't know that I have much to offer her, but she always shows up in those moments when I need her, as she did tonight when she reminded me that yes, it will always be like this. These stories will continue to happen. The tragedy is not going to end. But.
These women could grieve alone. Or. We could come alongside them.
"Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4
And so. Each will receive a box or a package from Forget-Me-Not. And it will not erase their pain. It will not make these days any easier. And it will not really fix anything. But. It might let them know that they aren't alone.
There are days like these where I feel like giving up. Where the burden is too heavy and the path is too dark. And for today, I won't. I won't because Karen is right. And these women need us. And we need them. And because quite frankly, as much as this ministry was designed to minister to other hurting mothers out there, it has proven to be a very necessary lifeline for me as well.
Like I said. No resolutions here tonight. Just a bit of jumbled thoughts and perhaps a deeper glimpse into the heart of a girl, a mother, who is hurting and wondering what will come next. But until then, I leave you with this.
There is another reason why I'm not going to quit today. Why I'm going to fight again tomorrow. Because I thought to myself, if Eisley can do it for another day, I can do it.
See, Eisley is Karen's 8 year old daughter. And a couple of months ago, Eisley came to her mom and said that she wanted to help with Forget Me Not. And she had an idea. That maybe she could do something to help the other kids out there. The kids who were excited to have a baby brother or sister, only to be told that there was no baby coming home from the hospital. See, Eisley remembers how that feels. She remembers how that feels because she felt that disappointment not one time, not two times, not three times, but four times. Four times, she learned that the new baby was not coming home as they planned. And so she, together with her twin brother Jake, decided to write a note to those kids. Telling them that they know how hard it is and how sad it feels. And they suggested that maybe we could give those cards to the kids that we hear about in Forget Me Not who learn that their baby brother or sister has died and won't be coming home after all.
In one short week, we will release the details of our new branch to the FMN ministry-- Snuggles for Siblings. Eisley and Jake have been hard at work and we will be sharing what they have come up with and how we will begin using it to reach out to the hurting siblings out there who are grieving the loss of their baby brother or sister.
And so tonight, I guess I say this. Eisley and Jake, I am so proud of you. You display more courage, strength and kindness than most of us adults. On days like today, where I feel like giving up, I am inspired and encouraged by you. And I am so glad that we have you to help us out because I know there are a lot of kids out there who need to know that they aren't alone and that someone cares about them. Keep up the good work. Welcome to the Forget Me Not team--I know that I will learn a lot from both of you.