sharing your stories and remembering your children
By: Madeline Gill
It was my daughter's due date. I opened the journal I had started eight months before after losing her at five weeks' gestation. Within its pages I had expressed my first pangs of grief. I pasted in every card I received from kind friends, immortalizing the kindness of people who, having no great words, knew the power of saying simply, "Thinking of you." "Weeping with you." "Praying for you." I copied down poems that captured my sense of loss, like Wordsworth's "She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways." Beside the poem I pressed a violet like the "half-hidden from the eye" bud he writes about.
On her would-be due date, I picked up my pen to write a "birthday" note. I told her how much I missed her and wanted to hold her. "This day marks the time I could have met you - not as I did, but as a healthy, breathing baby I could carry and nurture. If I close my eyes, I can almost feel you in my arms. Other babies will come, God willing, but I'll never know exactly what it is to hold my Lucy. Not until I join you, at least."
I was about to write that our reunion in heaven might be like that beautiful scene in The Return of the King when Frodo wakes up to a tearful, laughing gathering of his long-missed friends. None of the pain would matter in that moment.
That's where I broke down, sobbing too hard to write.
I realized that Lucy knows what heaven is really like, and I do not. But what killed me was that she had not read, and would not read, The Lord of the Rings. The analogy was worthless, and my favorite book was just another thing we couldn't share. I couldn't give her her first copy of Tolkien, watch her love it as much as I do, or argue with her if she underrated it.
Suddenly, I hated that I was writing a letter to someone who would never read it. I was afraid that I would have nothing in common with my daughter. Would we be total strangers when we met in heaven?
Whenever we lose someone, we grieve for the past and the future. On the one side are all the memories you have shared with someone, and on the other are all the experiences that will not come. In miscarriage, the balance tips heavily to the one side. Whether you long for what has been or what might have been, the hole is still there.
My husband and I won't start making memories with Lucy until we're in heaven. I don't really know what that will look like, but I have faith that it will be perfect.
In the meantime, I still write letters.
Madeline Gill is a homemaker and mother of two. She blogs about literature and motherhood at roadstainedfeet.wordpress.com