Change of Plans

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A few months ago, I wrote a post about marking the loss of a miscarriage and commented (naively) that it was probably the last post I would write about miscarriage.  But this semester, I have spent all of my theology reading thinking about miscarriages.  I made the comment in class one day that miscarriage is where I do my theology, and so I wrote both of my big papers about miscarriage.

I listened to a podcast recently about grief, and the person being interviewed, who had lost a spouse, said that we are never done with grief–that we are always working it and reworking it.  I have found this to be true.  In each miscarriage I have, the grief is familiar, but it is also new.  Sometimes I think about miscarriage as one big general blob, and other times, I think of each individual loss.  The memories I have of each loss are vivid, but then they are also like the collective darkness that comes with dementors (I read Harry Potter recently–lots of good metaphors of grief in that series).

So…I take it back.  I will be blogging more about loss and grief and miscarriage because these experiences have completely changed my life.  I am not a teacher anymore, but rather a seminary student.  I am rethinking a lot of theology that I grew up with because it seems insufficient to me in the face of perpetual loss.  Last week, I had a meeting about becoming ordained, and I laughed at the end of the meeting and said, “My life looks nothing like it did two years ago, and nothing like I thought it would. But I am hopeful for the first time in two years.”

My work in seminary is always working through the miscarriage filter whether I like it or not, just as I know my classmates are also working their theology through their own filters, and because of that, I feel like the only meaningful things I have to say are about miscarriage.  I have wanted to post more regularly on the blog this semester, but everything good I have had to say has been met with the thought, “Well, I said I wasn’t going to talk about it anymore.”  To not talk about grief is actually kind of stupid and unhealthy.  I am learning this.

I feel, after many months of processing, that I can talk about miscarriage and about theology without having to make them mean anything to each other. And in talking about them this way, they do end up meaning something profound to each other. Just not in the way I expected (or feared).

So I just wanted to check in and let you know that my next few posts (who knows? maybe I will blog about this until I die) will be about miscarriage.  I never thought growing up that I would say the word miscarriage so much, or say it so often in a blog post (13 times), but like I said, my life is completely different now.  I am changed.  Miscarriage.*

*14 times.

 

 

When Love Helps Clear the Fog

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My feet shuffle across the kitchen floor as I reach for coffee and make my way to the table. It’s early Saturday morning, the neighborhood is lazy in bed, quietly holding reverence for the sacred weekend. He’s still sleeping—we sometimes laugh that our college selves would not believe that 9 AM is a glorious Saturday sleep-in.

It’s chilly—we left the A/C on too high last night, and now the windows have fogged up. June mornings were still bearable, but July mornings become too hot too quickly. Lucy, tail wagging as always, presses her nose against the glass door to the backyard, confused why she can’t see out the window. The fog obscures her sight, and she runs to the front window to check out the garbage truck. Her frustrated whine tells me that she can’t see out that window either.

The morning after a big fight leaves my mind foggy. My eyes are swollen from tears—fight tears, grief tears, fear tears—and my head hurts worse than an all-nighter. I let the steam rise from the mug, wafting into my nose as I gaze at the wet window, thinking about all the things we said to each other in the darkness of the night.

When it’s dark and late and your life was pummeled this year and all you see is one big moment of transition in the next, the fear is great, the hopeless panic a slick water slide to Despair Falls.

The sleep was short and fitful, my eyes angry and my nose blocked as the sun woke me up. I pretend for a moment, at the table with Lucy’s head on my lap, that I’m the only one that exists. That I have no contact with the outside world because I can’t see them and they can’t see me. The fog blocks our views, and I’m in the house by myself. I find a little comfort in thinking that I’m safe, if only for a moment.

Nothing has felt safe. People get divorced over fruitless baby attempts, but we have fought hard to hold onto each other. My body feels like a death trap, and my future as obscured as the backyard through the fog-filled window. What will become of us? I wondered through the night.

Some nights I scour the internet reading about my chances to deliver a healthy baby, and other nights I drown out my fear with one more episode. Every night, he waits for me, with me. He holds my hand and strokes my hair. If he’s scared, he doesn’t say anything.

This stretch of time in our lives feels like a leg of a trip, and we’re unsure when we’re taking off for the next leg. We’re just wandering around the airport, trying to find signs that we understand, dragging our bags behind us, trying to keep in good spirits, wondering if we’re going to be able to sit down and take a breath soon. But we’re holding hands. He won’t let go—there’s a fierce grip telling me that he’s not letting me get lost and we’re not going to get separated from each other, and even if we wander the airport for the rest of our lives, we’ll wander together.

I sip my coffee slowly as I consider this metaphor, stroking Lucy’s head as the fog begins to fade away on the windows. I can hear him stirring in the room, and when he opens the door, as I predicted, he walks the long way around the table so he can touch my arm on his way to the coffeepot. We are are going to be okay.