As I stand outside, the cold wind sneaks through my jacket, causing the hairs on my arms to raise and my body to shiver involuntarily. The glades of the grass glisten with frozen water drops and I hear the soft crunch, crunch of cold grass folding under my children’s running feet. I tighten the blanket that holds Amelia’s little body and bring her closer to me.
The wind stirs up a memory deep inside as the tears make a path down my cheeks. Gasping, I remember. September 8 marks the 2nd year anniversary of my second miscarriage. In another month, the first year anniversary of miscarriage # 4 will also come and go. Conflicted, I hold Amelia – my miracle – close and wonder about the complexity of grief.
“Your miscarriages have changed you,” Ben tells me one night as I remind him of these anniversaries. “Since having them, you see the world through a different lens.”
He’s right. I am no longer afraid of death.
When my grandmother passed away, I wondered why I didn’t cry tears of sadness. At the time, I felt I had cried too many tears over the last year that I didn’t have any grief left inside. I recognize now that there was a different reason. My grandma struggled for years with Parkinson’s disease. Her mind quickly gave way to dementia and she was no longer the Grandma Alice I grew up with. Her passing indicated that her time on Earth had ended but her time elsewhere had begun. (I like to think of her dancing with the clouds, as graceful as she once was.) This will happen to me, to my dear Ben, and to my much loved children. Naturally, like all parents, I hope my children outlive me. But I understand all too well how my hopes don’t always match with reality.
Amelia is my miracle, I don’t doubt that. Yet when I think of her, I wonder how this happened. I have far too many friends who suffer through recurrent miscarriages and heartbreaking infertility in which answers are unlikely. So why did I suddenly have a healthy pregnancy that ended with a healthy, beautiful infant? I didn’t deserve it more than my other friends whose hearts are hurting and whose wombs are barren. I also don’t believe that if God exists he selectively chooses who he’ll heal.
The rocking chair sings a lullaby with me as I rock Amelia to sleep. The words to her song flow from my lips as the melody calms her shaking body. She is sick and tired and just wants to rest, but doesn’t know how to sleep through pain.
I longingly look at my bed. Emily and Andrew are sprawled out while Ben is huddled at the edge, clutching at the blankets the kids have not taken. I smile, despite my exhaustion, and think about how quickly time passes. Soon the long nights will end and Amelia will look as grown-up as her older siblings.
I suppose perspective mixed with grieving is a great anecdote to sleep-deprived panic, though I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone.