I keep waiting for the curtain to fall, for the storm to break, for the crush of grief, the uncontrollable sobs, the weight, the anguish, the pain. And yet I spend much more time laughing with Isabella than crying. My eyes are dry, my heart is light. I’d probably be sleeping well at night if it weren’t for Bella’s crying and Dom’s snoring.
I don’t think it’s numbness. I’m a pretty reflective person. Very self-aware, sometimes agonizingly so. I don’t think I’m in denial, repressing emotions, avoiding the truth. I could be wrong, but I don’t think the bogeyman of devastation is waiting in the shadows to ambush me when I least expect it.
And I kind of feel like a traitor. So many people have reached out, extended their condolences, shared their stories and their grief. And I’ve stumbled across more stories, like Jill’s story of losing her father to cancer right after her seventh miscarriage. I feel like I don’t belong in that company of sorrowing women, me sailing along under sunny skies with me heart full of laughter. I don’t know how to respond to the kind words and grim half smiles of sympathy, the squeezed shoulder and the condolences of friends.
I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m trivializing other women’s suffering or failing to empathize with those losses. I understand that their experiences are not mine, that their pain is deeper, their path much harder than mine. I’ve cried as I’ve read their stories. I understand their pain as much as anyone who hasn’t felt it can, which is admittedly not much. I just don’t understand why I’m not feeling the same things.
For other women miscarriage has been a cross, a burden. I have had my own crosses and I am certain I will not escape my share of suffering. But this is evidently not my season to grieve. This loss is not a heavy cross for me to bear. I don’t know why. I don’t understand. It’s a mystery how God has eased my pain and lightened my load.
I know not everyone grieves the same way. And I know each loss is unique. One person may respond quite differently to two different losses. I know that if I had lost Bella, if that first pregnancy had ended in miscarriage, my reaction would be very different.
So in my bewilderment and confusion, I turn to prayer. I pray for all parents who have lost children, that they may be consoled and their load lightened. I pray for God’s mercy and compassion for all those suffering pain and loss. And I pray that I might accept this season for what it is.
That’s what I wrote two nights ago in a blog entry I never finished, never posted.
Now the other shoe has dropped, the storm has hit, like a tornado out of a blue sky. And I’m reeling. And suddenly I understand why God’s grace has protected me (us really, because though I write in the first person, Dom is my companion in everything) from feeling that pain. He had other plans. Another, different, cross for me to bear.
My doctor called yesterday afternoon and asked me to come in for a biopsy. He originally wanted me to go in last night after dinner, but then had to cancel because he had two patients in active labor at the hospital.
So I went in this morning. And before he performed the procedure he explained why he wanted to do it. The tissue from the miscarriage they routinely send to the pathologist. Mine came back with bad results: I have uterine cancer. Early stages, it seems and in the mildest form.
But because my age and my recent pregnancies make such a diagnosis unlikely, he wanted to do a biopsy to confirm those findings. The results will be back on Monday. Until then we wait and pray.
If the results confirm that I do have cancer, the usual treatment is a hysterectomy.
Please pray for us.
Dom reminds me that “openness to life” means accepting God’s will. Whether that be for many children or few or none. And I know that. But saying it and living it are, of course, two different things. When your heart yearns for children, you don’t want to hear a no.
Dear God, please, please, please let this cup pass away from me. But at the same time: “I am the handmaiden of the Lord. Let it be done unto me according to your word.” Give me the strength to carry whatever cross I must carry. And let me continue to thank you for all the blessings I have been given and praise your name.
“Oh that I had wings like a dove
to fly away and be at rest.
So I would escape far away
and take refuge in the desert.
I would hasten to find a shelter from the raging wind,
from the destructive storm, O Lord…
Entrust your cares to the Lord
and he will support you.
He will never allow
the just man to stumble….
O Lord, I will trust in you.”
I was torn about whether to write anything more than my generic request for prayers. At least until Monday when we hear for certain. But then I sat down to write, saw the unposted blog entry and felt a need to finish it. I think writing helps me deal with the tempest raging inside. And I also am hoping that my posts are doing some good. That they are more than just venting my spleen.