I sometimes find myself crying for no apparent reason other than something has moved me emotionally.
The sound of someone singing a song in a way that I connect with emotionally; the cheering of a crowd in celebration of an achievement; the National Anthem, especially if members of the Armed Forces are present; connecting with others who are feeling their own emotions – all of these are also reasons I find myself sometimes crying with zero restraint.
I have come to learn that I am an emotional being, I feel deeply, not just my own emotions but those around me. The term used to describe such things is usually empathetic. I used to also be filled with compassion – the perfect companion to empathy. I say used to as if it’s totally gone, lost forever, because grief has changed me.
In my effort to fight it and beat it every single day, there are still some days it beats me. Grief wraps her dark, cold hands around my heart and squeezes it so tightly I feel as if I may suffocate. It is only when I allow myself to freely cry out in pain – often with a loud – “why God? Why don’t I deserve all the happiness you promised?” I usually am left feeling selfish and I always quickly apologize.
This time of year, is always hard, it’s the anniversary date of my miscarriage. The day my body betrayed me and took from me the one thing I had prayed most for, leaving me empty inside and ashamed as I hid in the bathroom stall at Bob Evans while my best friends waited at the table for me to return, they had no idea what had just happened and wouldn’t for a few days.
Last night, I had that moment as I crawled in bed. I asked God again – “why God? Why can’t I be a mom? Why am I not worthy of being a mom? What can I do to change your mind?” Like most times when I ask this question, I am met with silence as I cry myself to sleep.
Most people tell me I am the strongest person they know, that I seemingly have it all together, yet as I half smile in acknowledgement, I know that inside I have an overwhelming feeling of being broken. I have tried to do all the things I can to push through each moment grief rears her ugly head and remind myself that surely there’s a reason, a purpose bigger than myself.
Perhaps if I connect with other women who feel like I do, who struggle with this feeling of brokenness, I can help them see how truly valuable, loved, unbroken and enough they are. Sometimes just knowing I’m not alone in these feelings is all the push I need to confidently go out the next day and help someone else.
This is all good in theory – until someone uses your grief against you as a weapon to tear you down. A few years ago, this very thing happened to me, I had been vulnerable, and someone I trusted took advantage of my vulnerabilities as a way to boost themselves while tearing me down. The last few years since left me fighting with God about whether or not I would ever share my story again to anyone. Because if someone I trusted could hurt me that bad, why bother sharing with others? So…I didn’t.
I hid, confined by the walls in my home, day after day, and sat at the kitchen table every morning and cried. Grief. For the loss of a child. Grief. For the loss of a friend. Grief. So much grief. Until one day, I noticed something different – a smile in the mirror.
I told the tired woman in the mirror that she is unbroken and she is more than enough. The next day, I did the same, and the next, and the next, and so on, until I believed her.
Perhaps my journey can help someone else through their own darkness, I will never know until I am courageous enough to take the step and share my struggles with others so they can fight through their own.
No one should ever struggle through a miscarriage alone, and no one should ever have it used as a weapon against them. If you have a friend who has gone through a miscarriage and you don’t know what to say to her, tell her this – “I am so sorry, I cannot imagine the pain you are experiencing, I am here for you, right beside you, you are not alone in this, I love you, you are going to be ok because I’ve got you!”
Just knowing our friends are there to lift us up when we’ve fallen is all it takes to help us get through the grief we are experiencing.
I promise to be a lighthouse in the darkness for other women who feel alone as they navigate their grief. Every day brings forth more sunshine, and while each year the sadness still finds me, I have learned to accept my journey and help others on theirs.
Six years ago, I lost a big piece of myself, but every day I choose to celebrate a life lost by providing hope in the name of Lilian Grace for others hurting in silence. It’s the only way I know how to honor her legacy.
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