Four years ago this month my husband and I were dealing with the news that our unborn son was going to die. We were the given the diagnosis that our child was deemed incompatible with life. No chance of survival at one. None. Read here for more….
We had gone from overwhelming excitement at expecting our sixth and final child, to complete devastation. Emotionally I felt raw and exposed. I had never felt so vulnerable. It was as if almost everything I had once held dear was now standing on shaky ground.
As time went on I came to terms with a lot of feelings regarding the impending death of my unborn child. Did I ever feel hopeless? Never. Was I crushed? Yes. Did I feel like dying at times? Probably, but not suicidal. During those first few months after the diagnosis and before our son died, I rode the emotional roller coaster of grief over and over. There is no twelve step program to overcoming grief. You cannot win at grieving. There is no prize for coming out on top, if you even are able to come out on top.
In those early days I remember being happy and content one moment and the next I would on the floor in heap sobbing. Anger, torment, and frustration were common emotions I dealt with. I also felt love, peace, and joy. It was exhausting to be on this emotional roller coaster. This ride did not stop. It was all I could do just to get through my day without have a complete mental breakdown.
I napped daily and collapsed into my bed at night from sheer exhaustion. I stayed away from people who would drain me. Conversations proved difficult at times just because I did not know if I was going to break down and cry. My emotions scared people, even those closest to me, especially during those times. It was difficult enough to even find the words to say, but when somebody asks “how are you doing” and could not handle the truth, it was brutal.
Imagine that you are sitting on a roller coaster and you are at the start. You are excited and ready for the ride. As the ride progresses you can see there is a snag with the equipment. Fear sets in, robbing you of the joy of riding the coaster. From fear to joy in less than a second. Up then down. Now take this ride and do not get off. You climb hills, do twists and turns, and hang upside down. Grieving is very similar. You have no control over how you feel. You want the pain to stop, but you cannot stop it. It is out of your control.
Even amidst the grief and those painful days before and after my child’s death, I did not lose hope. I remember being pregnant with David (our child who died) and cleaning our church. I was the only one at the church at that time. I felt an overwhelming urgency to pray. I knelt, (really more like laid down on the floor because I was pregnant), at the altar. I cried out in my pain to God. As I cried the sobs racked my body, I felt suddenly comforted. I felt peace. A peace that transcends all understanding. Philippians 4:7 A peace that can only come from the Lord.
From that moment on my perspective shifted. I carried that peace with me and the roller coaster ride of grief was less bumpy. I did not understand why my son had to die, but I was at peace with the situation. I prayed for God to use this for His glory.
Please, if you find yourself, in a similar situation, do not despair. Cry out to Him. He hears you, even when He is silent. He is a loving God, not an uncaring God. He did not create you or I to carry the cross, that was already done. We are not meant to carry burdens or suffer in life alone. God can heal the brokenhearted…..Psalms 147:3 and does not want us to fear, for He will strengthen us, allowing us to not grow weary. Isaiah 40:31.