Thursday, December 26, 2013

now I know better

(original image from here)

I didn't know I was supposed to say something.

A few years back, they shared the news of their miscarriage in casual conversation, and me -- I had no idea how I was supposed to respond.  Do I tell them I'm sorry?  Talk about the weather?  Look away?  Tell them God has a plan?

How was I supposed to know?  I had never been pregnant or lost a child of my own.  I was newly-married, living in the phase where everything was peachy and when we were ready for the baby-in-the-baby-carriage, it would come.  

Back then, I had never really heard about miscarriage or read any books about it.  I certainly had never talked about it with someone who had been through it {not really dinner conversation, I suppose}.  I had no idea how deeply painful it was to experience a pregnancy loss, or how much a miscarriage could flip a life upside down.  I had no idea. 

So I didn't say anything at all.  I think I may have even changed the conversation, as if the baby had never been mentioned; as if their miscarriage had never even happened. 

Come to think of it, I think I've done this more than once or twice. Cancer diagnoses. Death. Loss of a job or house.

I didn't know I was supposed to say something -- anything to let them know that I was there, on their team and grieving with them. 

Back then, I honestly don't think I knew how.  

But I know better now.  I know better now because I have been there {twice}.  My own life has been flipped upside down.  Pregnancy loss has touched me.  So, now I know. 

I know that telling a grieving someone I'm sorry is the most simple, yet beautiful thing to say.  I know that no matter how strong a person's faith, it just may not be the time to talk about God's refining purposes for our battles.  I know that losing a baby -- no matter how tiny or short-lived -- is losing a person and thousands of plans and dreams for the future.  I know that stories about our-friend-so-and-so-who-had-twenty-miscarriages-and-now-has-a-healthy-baby are well-intentioned, but give off a painful kind of hope, a hope that may never be.  I know that a grieving someone just needs space to be messy.  The healing process can be oh-so-messy.

I am no expert on grief, but I'd like to think that I know better now.  I know that I am supposed to say something.  And if I could go back and tell my friends those two simple words -- I'm sorry -- I would say it a thousand times to erase how deafening my silence must have been to their ears. 

Now I know better.  And I am better because of it.

For that, I am thankful.

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