Grief, Loss, and Intolerable Growth

“I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser,
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.”
–Robert Browning Hamilton

I find this poem to be very true. My life before I lost Faith and Elijah was pretty good. I’d had some major disappointments, yes, but overall it was Easy Street. Grief and loss has irrevocably changed that. Sometimes I miss the person I was before October 22, 2018; I miss the optimism, the absolute confidence that life was onward and upward. I miss the self-confidence and simple common sense, the mostly black and white world she lived in. I miss being happy.
Don’t get me wrong, most days I’m happy enough. I don’t want to die anymore; I have no plans to end my life. I have a happy marriage that has been made incredibly strong through these losses; I have a safe, warm home; I have people that I love who love me in return. But I miss the simple, easy happiness of my life pre-loss. I will never taste complete, untrammeled happiness again, because I will always have days when I think “Faith would be __ years old today” or “I wonder if Elijah would have wanted to play football”. Weddings, Mondays, graduations, today, funerals, every day, will always be a moment for me to think of them.
My husband and I were laying in bed recently, talking about the babies. We’ve gotten to the point where we can enjoy the very few memories we got to have of them; I was laughing about how Elijah’s hands, tiny as they were, looked just like his daddy’s. It was a sweet moment, but oh! my babies, my babies. How are they just gone?

Grief has stretched me, worn me thin, scraped me over every shard of broken glass, walked me over a bed of coals 2 years in length. It has also given me more compassion, more capacity to understand the hurts of others, more emotional intelligence. I am more able to see where others are coming from, and at the same time far more quick to protect myself from unhealthy relationships. It has broken me down and improved me, all at the same time. I have changed, inevitably and irrevocably.
I can long for my lost babies and still be happy for people who post their baby’s pictures all over social media. I can think “Why not me?” and still be excited for my friends and family’s blessings. I can be unenvious and heartbroken at the same time. I make no claims to sainthood; I am still a collection of faults stitched together with good intentions. But by not fighting my grief, by letting myself experience it and feel what I feel, when I feel it, I have let it carry me to a new shore, a new me.

The Bible says God is close to the brokenhearted; I hope He’s not offended by the amount of time I have stood afar off from Him, demanding space and time and answers. [I have no answers, still, and that’s okay; no answer would be good enough, ever, for my heart.]
I have walked a mile with Sorrow, and oh! the things I am still learning while Sorrow walks with me.

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