When our loss first occurred people said things would get harder before they got easier. I had a hard time believing that because I was in more pain than I ever could have imagined, and honestly for awhile things got better. I’ve read a lot about the stages of grief and one that usually occurs shortly after a loss (although grief occurs differently for everyone and is very unpredictable) is denial. As I read about it shortly after our loss I thought it was silly. Why would I be in denial? I am an intelligent human being. I know that I was once pregnant, and now I am not. I know that I don’t have babies with me. How could I possibly deny that?
I then realized that denial, for me, meant something different. It meant denial that I was in pain. It meant going a few days without crying. It meant actually believing that I was almost over it. And it did happen to me, even though I didn’t think it would.
I admit that now I know what people are talking about when people say it gets worse before it gets better. When it initially happened it was SHOCKING and UNBELIEVABLE. Because it was so new and so unexpected there really is a part of you that thinks it isn’t real, that it’s some bad dream that you will maybe wake up from and it will all be over.
Reality sets in eventually, and then you realize that this is believable. That it happened, and that it’s never going to get better. (I don’t mean that to say that I don’t think I will heal, but I will never get the twins back). That’s what makes it harder. Realizing that the situation is NEVER going to change, but somehow I have to figure out how to make do with what I’ve been given.
I will be honest, the emotion that I feel the most lately is ANGER. I hate that. I hate feeling angry. I like to believe that I am a kind, loving, person who is trying to emulate Jesus Christ in my choice of actions. But I feel angry. I feel like life is unfair.
I have to admit that with that anger comes a bitterness towards words and the things people say. I have read post after post of women who have lost children about how difficult it is to deal with the things people say, and I agree with these posts whole-heartedly. I think it is good that these women are trying to share the things that hurt them so that people think about what they say. I thought about writing a similar post of the words that are hard for me to deal with, but something has held me back.
See, here’s the thing. It is my opinion and my experience that nobody (in my case) has said anything with the intention of hurting me. In fact, I think everything said has come from love and from HUMANS who care and are trying to come up with some way to share what’s in their heart, to provide SOME level of comfort. The problem is, a person who is grieving has a very different mindset from someone who is not. Even people who have experienced different losses have different kinds of grief. I feel like as a result of loss my logic is no longer sound. Here’s a simple example of something someone may say to provide comfort, that my grieving mind twists to mean something different.
What someone says: At least you know you can get pregnant again.
What the person means: I am sorry you lost your children. You deserve to be a mother and I hope that you get that chance.
What my mind hears: I guess I should be grateful for my ability to get pregnant, but I think my body is pretty darned stupid right now. Yes it can get pregnant, but it apparently isn’t very good at keeping a pregnancy. Also pregnancy probably means most of my pregnancy on bed rest. How am I going to make that work? We can’t afford for me to quit my job. Why can’t I just be like everyone else who gets pregnant and has a baby? Being pregnant again is going to be so scary. Will it work this time? Or will I just have another child to bury? Or will the baby come and go so fast that I don’t get the chance to bury them? What if I can’t get pregnant? It wasn’t all that easy to get pregnant the first time, maybe it was a fluke, a one time deal. Also, I hated being pregnant. I already did that once, and now I have to do it again. Also, I would be fine not having any more kids if I could just have MY kids back. (Sorry for that very frightening and very realistic journey into my mind.)
So I have been thinking a lot, and trying to figure out how to wade through what people say. I have talked to my husband about the things people say or don’t say and how it hurts me. He is a very wise man and asked me “what do you want them to say?” That simple phrase has really caused me to think. There IS no right thing to say to someone who is grieving. No words can take the pain away and make it all better. The things people say aren’t hurting me. I suffered a tragedy and THAT’S what’s hurting me. (This isn’t to say that some people are not insensitive, but in my experience those people are few and far between).
Also, I think it is a truly amazing thing what people do. This world is a wonderful place. It is a tragic and sad place at times, but I believe that people are good.
I have thought a lot about the phrase to mourn with those who mourn. I am amazed at how many people have chosen to mourn with me. I believe that mourning with someone is a very noble choice. Here is why. Basically everywhere I go I feel like a giant rain cloud. Other people are having joyous, happy events in their lives. I have many friends and family members who are taking care of their first babies, or who are pregnant with their first babies, or who are getting married, or graduating from college, the list of happy times goes on and on, but whenever I am around there’s kind of a damper on their celebrations.
This is why I think to mourn with those that mourn is so noble. It is a person making a choice to be sad, to cry even, not for their own trial but for someone else’s. It is easy to distance yourself from a hard situation. Before I experienced this loss when I heard of others going through hard times I did what I knew how to do. I felt sorry for them. I prayed for them. But I rarely FELT for them, and that is what is so impressive to me. I think many people who do not know what I am going through have allowed themselves to feel for me.
I have had a lot of people tell me that they have cried for me, and while it makes me sad that I am making others sad, I feel so much love knowing that people care for me enough to be sad when I am sad. It’s one of the most meaningful things that anyone has ever told me.
I believe that God is always there for us and will provide comfort, but I also keep wondering WHEN do things get better? I have recently been touched by a song (If you can’t tell music is one language that often provides me comfort). It is called My Kindness Shall not Depart from Thee and is based on scripture in Isaiah. I have been searching desperately for this kindness promised, for the comfort of the Lord. I wish it came all at once, but like anything it is a process. One line in the song struck me as I was writing this post “and mine angels shall encircle thee.” I have felt Heaven’s angels encircle me, and I hope I am being encircled by my children. However, when I think of angels encircling me I think of each of my dear friends and family members and I know God is reaching out to me through the hands of His children on this earth.
So with this post I want to thank those who mourn with those that mourn. I also want to work on listening to what people MEAN when they say something, not what they say.