The picture above is now over 4yrs old, but I can still feel the sucker punch of grief that hit me when I looked at it shortly after snapping it.
These 6 cuties look like perfect stair steps, but I saw the missing steps. 6 little ones we’ve loved and lost. I wondered if they were only ever remembered in my aching heart.
The grief hit first, but the next feeling was one of gratitude. Even though I was still somewhere in that messy middle part of my healing journey, newly pregnant and still very unsure which side of heaven I’d get to know this little one, I was able to see the many times Our Lord and his sweet Mama, truly had cared for me on this journey through grief and into healing.
I suffered my first miscarriage, I kept the suffering to myself, not wanting to be the bearer of bad news. I shouldered the ache, the questions, the guilt, by myself. Not only did I buy into the lie that I was alone in this suffering, but I took a loan against my heart to buy more and more shares of it.
My husband and I told no one when we lost that little one at 6wks in 2009. When we lost another in 2012 at 9wks, we only told those who knew we were pregnant. Similarly when we lost the next at 11wks a few months later.
Carrying this cross alone, refusing every Simon of Cyrene that God sent, emptied me out, and created fertile soil for anger and depression to take root.
After Elihu who we lost in the 2nd trimester in 2014, I was so angry, empty and alone, I allowed myself to believe that God truly didn’t care about me.
My heart was so hard, and almost entirely closed off. The only thing that kept the door open a tiny sliver, was Hope. Hope that, even if he didn’t love me, God would have pity on me and grant me heaven if I lived a “good enough” life, and I would get to hold the little ones I ached for so desperately.
Leaving the door open, just that sliver, the Lord sent His Gentle Mother into the wilderness of my depression, to rescue me.
She slowly, gently, lead me back to the Rosary, and brought women into my life who were also suffering, but clung to faith and walked this Way of the Cross, with a remarkable sense of peace and even joy amidst the gut wrenching suffering they experienced.
These women gave me the strength and courage to begin to step out of the shadow, seek help and fellowship. To share my story and my heart. And to reach into the darkness of suffering and bring other women into the light of Hope as well.
That is what suffer is all about. Christ didn’t walk the Road to Calvary alone and neither do we. We suffer as part of the body of Christ, as part of a family, a community. Together in the celebration and suffering. And this is what I experienced when again suffering hit, as we found out our son Alexander passed at 20wks pregnant in 2017.
Today is Miscarriage and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, but anyone who’s experienced loss knows that the recollection of these losses never stick to their assigned day. It seems to hit when you least expect it and the way it hits changes over time.
Today, on this day of remembrance, I stand in this funny mingling of sorrow and gratitude. This moment hits differently than it did 4yrs ago as I stood on the San Antonio Riverwalk, staring at that set of steps. I can see the journey I’ve been on and am so grateful for a Savior who knew that suffering was an experience every human heart would encounter, and chose that place to meet us. He chose the Cross as the thing by which He would enter into our story, meeting us right where we would need Him most.
If this journey has taught me one thing, it’s that suffering and joy, grief and gratitude, are not really as opposite as they may appear. In this life, as we walk towards Heaven, we’ll find ourselves on the Road to Calvary, but we never walk that road alone.
As a way to remember, walk alongside and pray, with those who have lost a little one, through miscarriage or infant loss we have put together a special Hope Began bracelet. This rainbow patterned bracelet reminds of our little one and God’s promise of what is to come after the storm. You can find these bracelets here