I’ve talked about last year’s miscarriage an awful lot here, and I really thought I’d processed it pretty fully. I was able to hold the tension between the joy and the sorrow and, while it’s still sad, I’d have said I pretty well found healing.
And then Lilly girl was born.
My rainbow baby.
And, for a few weeks, the newness and the chaos that always comes with a baby pretty fully occupied my mind, hands, heart, and time.
Then I went to an event where, among other things, I took a pretty solid look at the lies I was telling myself. Here’s a pair that came out:
I am being disloyal to Hope if I fully love Lilly.
If I am still sad about losing Hope, then I don’t love Lilly very well.
The problem that was caught in my heart was the fact that I could never have had both; they were too close. If I hadn’t lost Hope, Lilly could not have come to be. To have Lilly at all, I had to lose Hope. So in loving Lilly, it felt like I was glad I lost Hope, and in missing Hope, I felt like I wished I’d never had Lilly.
The friend facilitating the discussion about this tried to help me separate the two girls from so many different directions, but I wasn’t having it. I simply couldn’t see past the dichotomy.
After a great deal of frustration on my part, my sweet husband stepped in:
“I think you might be getting stuck because you believe that loving Hope has to mean you wish with all your being that things had been different.”
Yes. That’s exactly the problem.
But what if I step back from that definition of loving Hope?
I had to ponder it for a little bit. How would loving Hope look if I didn’t wish with everything that I hadn’t lost her?
Here’s what loving Hope looks like for me:
I loved her deeply for the time I knew I carried her.
I grieved her fully when I lost her (and continue to do so.)
And I trust that God knew what he was doing when He brought her home rather than allowing me to raise her. I trust that she’s fine, and that this, the family precisely as it is with four children here and one in heaven, is what God has in mind for us now. He gives good gifts, which means raising Lilly is a good thing and it means that the having and then the sorrow of losing Hope is also ultimately a good thing. (Though it absolutely does not feel that way.) I can see a few ways in which this loss has pointed some people toward God and softened me and made me just a little more like Jesus.
It’s still a really uncomfortable truth, this realization that I could never have had both.
But, while I cannot have both, I now know that I can love both just as fully as I love my others. And there is a great deal of peace and freedom there.
This post is part of the write31days challenge, where I’m trying to post every day in October. The rest of the posts can be found here.