It seems that there are layers to this healing process. The surface layer seems to be healed. When people ask how I am, I can say truthfully, “Good. Tender, but good.” But there are still layers below the surface that haven’t healed yet. I find that I still get irritated easily, cry easily, get moved easily. Pregnant women are hard to look at. I am prone to feeling jealous and afraid.
I think about what Matt and I went through and it brings tears to my eyes. There is still so much sadness there. I think about days when I was so happy to be pregnant I would grin my way down the street, (my blessed secret), feeling so buoyant as I moved through the world. It seems like a cruel joke that on those same days I didn’t know how little life there actually was inside.
I am sad that there is no justice in all of this. I am sad that good people, good parents, experience losses far greater than this. I am sad that families who desperately want kids can’t always have them and that other parents abuse theirs.
During college, I broke my leg and had to wear a cast that went clear up to my hip. I worked in a coffee house in an old church in Santa Barbara at the time and so I hung out there a lot in the afternoons. I remember sitting outside with a tea one day and one of the regular customers picked up my foot and began massaging my toes. He said sweetly, “So what’s the gift in this for you?” (as if to say, “So why did you choose this?”) and I had to think long and hard because I saw absolutely no gift in it at all.
Nevertheless, the question swirled in my mind for months. I could see later that it was the first time in my life that I allowed myself to receive, without keeping score, without feeling like I owed anyone or that I wasn’t worthy. For 6 months I couldn’t walk, grocery shop, drive, etc.. I missed a lot of classes because they were simply too far away and I was too exhausted to make my way across campus.
People helped me all day long and I had to graciously accept. They toted my books, did my dishes, and quite literally, carried me places. Everyone had to help me ALL the time. After a while there were too many people to owe! and I had to finally surrender and simply practice saying, thank you, thank you, thank you.
There have been many gifts in this. In the past month we have felt every kindness as it came, we have felt the depth of our friendships and the inherent generosity of human beings. We have felt empathy for others who have lost something they loved, and have felt the deep, indelible bond of partnership and love.
It has made Matt and I stronger, brought us closer, and allowed us to choose having a family in an even more conscious way. It has made us more compassionate, and hopefully made us a wiser and stronger foundation for parenthood. All of this right alongside the sadness.
I still pray.
But where I used to pray for like this, and right now, and pretty please, I pray for divine perfection and surrender and letting go.
I pray for the strength and wisdom to be patient. I pray for the enjoyment and love of this time, however it unfolds.
I pray for the wisdom and knowing that there is nothing missing here, even with all of our fierce, love-filled hopes and desires.