Tag: infantloss

Broken but Beautiful

Grief and Infant LossSara's Space

Back in the beginning of July, I had a series of really bad days. I was lonely and felt like no one cared about me and my broken heart anymore. I am now just “the girl whose baby died” to a lot of my past friends.  People don’t treat me the same as they once did and I have definitely lost friends during this last year. A lot of friends, in fact. Infant/child loss is a very lonely road to walk down and that lends to some very bad days because sometimes you just need one person to reach out and say they love you and are thinking of you and your baby…..but it doesn’t really happen often at all. Most days I’m able to function and even put on a smile and laugh. I think of Luke every day, and I’m sure that I always will. Most of the time now I’m able to think of his adorable little nose and precious little kissable cheeks without collapsing into a pile of broken pieces. I will always long to see and touch him again, but I don’t always fall off the deep end when thinking of him anymore. Some people reading that may think “you must be moving on.” Wrong. I’ll never “move on” from the loss of my baby boy. The truth is, I’m still very, very broken. But I am finally learning to allow God to repair my brokenness. In doing so, I hope that one day, I will be made into something more beautiful and useful than I ever have been before.

On one of those lonely days in July, I actually picked up my phone (bad idea, by the way) and I sent a mass text to several of my family members. I have a huge family and they are truly all amazing people. Anyone of them would go to the ends of the earth for any of the others. But one area we all fail at (myself included) is reaching out to one another in the hard times. We will at first, and then eventually we begin to assume one of the aunts or one of the other cousins is following up; and we just…..drop the ball. Seriously, I’m so guilty of this very thing myself. Guys, if you’re reading this, know that I love you all and I know that I’m just as guilty of it and I don’t fault you one bit. So…out of my loneliness and honestly out of desperation, I sent them a message letting them all know how much they’d failed in making sure I was ok and that I was drowning and needed them. I didn’t come out and say the last part, but every one of them got that hint loud and clear. (They also stepped up to the plate too. They really are wonderful people.) One of my cousins sent me something that I have kept in a note on my phone since our conversation that day. I’m going to share a little of that with you now…..

“Most of us are more broken than we would like to admit. It’s in allowing God to repair us that He shines through the best.”

Wow. He could have stopped right there and it still would have been amazingly inspirational for me. It made me realize that I wasn’t allowing God to repair my broken heart. How dishonoring to the One who created me to tell Him “No! You can’t fix this!” But he didn’t stop at that simple (but profound) statement. He went on to tell me about Kintsugi. I added a little link there for you to be able to read all about what Kintsugi is, and I encourage you to google some images of it too, because it’s seriously beautiful stuff. Here’s a little breakdown of it though:

Back in the 15th century, when a bowl or vessel of some sort was broken, the standard for its repair was to use metal staples. This method was not very pretty and likely did not restore full functionality to the piece needing repaired. As a result of these issues, a Japanese craftsman developed a method of repairing pieces that not only restored functionality, but also looked better as well. Most people obviously would prefer the cracks to be completely hidden, as if the damage had never been done at all. This applies to our damage too, doesn’t it?? Can’t my heart be put perfectly back together again??? Can’t we just be the way we were before…..? I don’t want people to see my brokenness.

The problem is, when something is broken, the pieces can never be fit back together again and smoothed over perfectly showing no signs of previous damage. Rather than attempting to cover up the damage, Kintsugi actually uses the brokenness of the piece as part of its beauty after it has been restored. It is done with the use of a lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, copper, bronze or silver to essentially glue the pieces back together. Even items that are missing pieces, either from completely shattering and basically turning back to dust, or from simply being lost; can be repaired using this technique.

 

Check out that vase. See those huge gold pieces in there?? Those would have been massive holes in the vase had they attempted to repair it without using this method. Those holes would have rendered this vase useless and something to be simply thrown in the trash. And that bowl….how pretty is that bowl?! The gold cracks running throughout it make it stand apart from other bowls that were essentially just like it.

 

Right now, I envision my heart looks something a bit like this…..

Not quite complete still, but the beginning of healing. There will always be a couple big gold chunks that stick out, but if I let them, they can be used to make me something far more beautiful than I ever was before. God can piece my heart back together again and fill in those huge holes where Azaliah and Luke are missing with something beautiful that will actually honor them far better than I could do on my own. He can take my brokenness and make something amazing out of it. I will always bear my scars of infant loss. I will always remember my babies and think of them, and even cry for them. But if I let Him, God can use those scars for good.

 

 

No one has a perfectly unbroken heart. We all have scars from our past and maybe even our present. It’s how we choose to repair those broken pieces that determines much in our lives. Will you continue to live in brokenness & despair and maybe even in anger and bitterness? Or will you allow God to make something more beautiful out of your scars??

PS: Ken, thank you for impacting my life. I love you, cousin.

First Visit

Grief and Infant Loss

Sara writes a lot more on our blog here about grief than I do. A lot of that has to do with how we are hard wired so differently. I usually have a more difficult time sharing the more personal aspects of life unless there’s a solid biblical lesson or exhortation I can pull out of it. Like most men, I don’t typically wear my emotions very close to the surface, though Sara often reminds me how much of it is actually written on my face like it’s God’s billboard. A lot of times, I can’t really even describe what I’m feeling in the moment and it may take some time before I can adequately put it into coherent thoughts.

Keep reading

What NOT to Say to a Grieving Parent

Grief and Infant Loss

Shortly after Luke & Asher were born, I began to notice that people; friends; didn’t really know what to say to me/us, so instead of just remaining silent, they would try to be comforting and do far more damage to our already aching hearts than good. I know it was absolutely never done intentionally, but there are really just some things you should NEVER, EVER say to a grieving parent.

1) “Everything happens for a reason.” While I know that God has our entire lives mapped out already and that “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,” Romans 8:28–IT STILL HURTS. And telling a grieving momma or daddy that everything happens for a reason is not helpful. Sometimes the only reason there is for a child to have died is sin. When sin entered the world, so did sickness and death.

2)  “God only gives you what you can handle.” First of all, this isn’t true at all. He will give you more than you can handle on your own, because we aren’t supposed to handle things on our own. Absolutely the only reason I am still here today, is because He saw me through it. He held me up when I couldn’t do it on my own; which was constantly.  He gave me purpose in getting out of bed each day. And He still does. Because guys, losing my baby was far more than I could handle without Him.

3) “At least”……at least you have your other children. At least you can have more babies. At least they didn’t revive him and leave him brain dead. At least one of your twins survived….. Guys, there is NO “at least” in infant and child loss. None. Already having kids at home doesn’t take away the love you have and the pain you feel for the baby/child you lost. Having the potential to be able to have more children in the future doesn’t take away the love you have and pain you feel for the baby/child you lost. Not to mention–sometimes this baby was the couples only hope of having biological children. Sometimes they have suffered unimaginable losses before this one, but suffered those in silence, or you just didn’t know about them. Sometimes the potential for having more children isn’t there at all.  Having Asher here with us still does not take away the pain we feel over the loss of Luke. Our love for Asher doesn’t erase the love we have for Luke. Having 4 living children now doesn’t take away the pain we feel from the loss of our first baby, Azaliah or the love we have for that baby. There is no acceptable time to ever use the phrase “at least” to a grieving parent.

4) “Things will get better.” Sometimes what I needed to hear was simply “this sucks. I know it hurts and it will always hurt. But I love you and I’m here.” That’s it. Don’t try to tell us that things will get better. We already know they will probably get better, because surely every day for the rest of our lives can’t possibly hurt this much……right?? But in the right here and right now; when the grief is so consuming and overwhelming and suffocating…..just be there for your friend. Let them know you love them and even better, let them know that you love their baby/child too. And that’s it.

5) “I know how you feel; I lost my (insert parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle, sibling, friend or pet).” Please don’t compare the loss of your parent, aunt/uncle, grandparent, sibling or friend to the loss of a child. Especially the loss of a “fur baby.” We have had our fair share of losses in life, but I’m telling you nothing, nothing compares to the loss of a child because it is completely against the natural order of life. Again, those losses are difficult but really, don’t compare your loss of any kind to that of any other persons loss of any kind–even if you both lost your mother, your life experiences and relationship with her will effect how the loss affects you. No two people grieve the same and no two losses are the same.

6) “You’re such a strong person.” No, I’m not. We aren’t. We continue living because we have to. Yes, we have a choice to continue on, but doing so doesn’t mean we are strong. Don’t assume that a parent that seems to have it all together on the outside, actually has it all together. Most likely, if you even are able to make eye contact with them, you will see otherwise.

7) “You still aren’t over this??” Ok, thankfully no one has ever said this one to me, but since we lost Luke, I have made so many amazing friends that are also loss mommas; both twinless twin mommas and mommas that have lost a singleton. And there are far too many instances where these friends have come to me or to our group of grieving mommas and reported that someone has actually said this to them! In high school I had a sweet little dog that was only my dog. She was a Christmas gift one year for only me. My junior year, she accidentally got poisoned out on our farm and I was devastated for months. Guys, this was a dog. And I have friends on facebook that post about the loss of their dog/cat/other pet months later after their loss and still get tons of responses with condolences. But for some reason people think that parents should be “over” the loss of their infant or child in a matter of weeks, no longer than a couple months. I don’t understand this one at all. The loss of your child is something you can never move on from. Move forward, yes; but move on, no.

This is definitely not a comprehensive list, by any means. Each situation with child or infant loss is different; so please use common sense in the situation and if you find yourself struggling to find words to speak, just DON’T! A silent hug does far more good than words do sometimes. 

And one last note. Daddies hurt too. Very, very deeply. They have also just lost a baby or child. Ask them how they’re doing. Reach out to them and show them some extra love too. Why do people often neglect the daddy even when he’s standing right by the momma?? Please don’t forget the grieving daddies out there. 💙💙

Edited to add: several loss momma friends of mine have said that they all feel the best thing to hear is simply something along the lines of “I’m so sorry this happened. It sucks. I can’t fix it, but I’m here for you and I love you.” Don’t ignore what’s happened as if it didn’t happen. Talking about our baby/child won’t remind us they’re gone, because we could never forget! But it will show that you care for them and for us. And that is worth so much. 💙💙

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