sharing your stories and remembering your children
By: Clara Meli
I took a deep breath and began to rethink what I was about to do. If I asked this, would I be an insensitive daughter? But, if I didn’t ask, would I be an uncaring sister? Some questions are better left unanswered, but I wanted to know. I swallowed hard. I whispered, “Did they have names?”
As a child, I asked a lot of questions. Information delighted me, and if something confused me, I would always strive to understand it. One day, I heard my brother mutter about another brother he would have had if… If what? I failed to grasp the rest of his speech. Something happened, and everyone seemed to know but me. If I had another brother, where was he? Did he leave us? How could he? How did I not know about him? Why did we never speak of him?
After this, I came to my mom seeking answers. In a way I can’t remember, it was conveyed to me that I had two siblings who were lost in an event titled “miscarriage.” I was young, and I was unable to fully comprehend the extent of what this meant right away. My brain needed time to process this information, and slowly it began to make sense to me. I finally connected the dots when I was playing with my friends. I stopped playing abruptly, and my face displayed concern and anguish. My companions pleaded with me to tell them what was wrong, but I couldn’t articulate the words. Two of my siblings were dead. They were gone, and they were not coming back.
When I realized this, I fell into fear. I assumed talking about this would upset people. Surely, Mom did not wish to discuss what happened, so I would do everything possible to avoid alluding to what I knew. This would be a traumatic memory that we all would need to repress. I didn’t wish to cause more pain, so instead of addressing the pain, I decided to ignore it. To prevent future grief, the elephant in the room had to be ignored and forgotten.
Grief is an unusual concept. From my experience, grief feels as if my internal organs have been carved out of my body. It makes me feel empty. When I connect this to miscarriage, my heart aches, and I can’t imagine how a mother feels after this happens. The physicality of the emptiness is much more real, and the grief is personal. How could I let the control of my curiosity manipulate me to rub salt into such a deep wound?
While these were my initial thoughts, I didn’t want to forget about my siblings. On the contrary, I desired to know everything about them. When were their birthdays? Were they girls or boys? Did they have names?
There was no way I could walk away from this, but I resolved to approach the matter gently. I waited for a peaceful moment before I brought my questions to her. She looked directly into my eyes. Her voice broke a little. “One of them was too young to tell the gender,” she slowed her speech as she continued, “but the other was a boy, and I always like to think of him as Timothy.”
His name was Timothy. I did have another brother, and his name was Timothy. I wondered if we would have called him “Timmy.” Would he have been my close friend? Would my brother and he have been best friends? What would Timothy like to do? What about my other sibling? Would he or she have been my friend? What would he or she like to do?
I found myself missing people I had never met. Their lives began and ended before I was even a thought in my parents’ minds, yet I feel the pain of their loss. A multitude of questions continue to attack my brain. I don’t have all the answers, but that is okay. I know that my siblings were created in the image of God and their lives had a purpose. Though I miss them and wonder about what might have been, my disconnected sorrow allows me to look forward to the day when I will meet them.
Clara Meli is a Professional Writing major at Cedarville University.