Sunday, February 28, 2010
More on Loss
Someone I love experienced a loss. Hers was not the kind I wrote of earlier. That loss began with a thundering bang that reverberated through the countryside. The news of the result of that bang/crash eventually found its way to a small, country high school. Many of us teachers there felt like we'd been sucker punched, but because we had to go back to our classrooms and keep our kids there for an extended amount of time, we couldn't really react. My reaction came at the end of the day when I turned off the lights, locked and closed my door, and let loose, sobbing not only my grief for losing Lexi, but also for recalling almost every minute of the 24 hours after picking up the phone approximately 18 years ago and hearing , "This is the state patrol dispatcher, your daughter has been in an accident and she's trapped in her car." Those who know me well, know the outcome---they got her out and she is alive and well today. Much happened after that, but this blog is not about that.
It's about another kind of loss. It's the kind that crept into an examining room at a doctor's office. It had been lurking, but no one noticed. How could they? There were no signs that something was wrong. This pregnancy was going along just like the one before it. So the woman waited expectantly for the smile and good news that came with the other first ultrasound. Instead she saw compassion replace expectation as she heard the hushed, reverent, sad "There's no heartbeat." (I'm guessing at the details, because this woman isn't a talker of such moments).
This woman is private, so I'm treading carefully. But God brought her into my life as a blessing and she has left an indelible mark on my heart and soul. I'm a better person because of this woman and I'm continually grateful that she's a part of my life. I can't ignore her loss. And as this blog is about realness---handling all that life deals you, I feel the need to acknowledge this loss. Some would say that it's early enough in the pregnancy that it's not nearly as bad as it could be. I would argue that once you feel that first essence of "I'm pregnant," that essence becomes a child in your mind, heart, and soul. So regardless of the "when," you've still lost your baby, not an "it" (that some would say wasn't truly a baby yet), but a baby.
Back in the seventies, you couldn't go to a drugstore and buy a pregnancy kit. You didn't know for sure until you were far enough along for test results from a doctor's office. However, I was nauseous and felt a change in me several weeks before that change could be confirmed. Thus is the usual way of a woman when she becomes pregnant--she knows in a way that no man can ever experience. Although we haven't discussed it, I assume it was that way with my friend---hand-held pregnancy test aside, she knew.
Now her body experiences cramps and she has to be careful for a few weeks as to how much she does, carries, etc. Why? Because her body kept the baby for several weeks after the heart ceased to beat. I guess that happens sometimes. So she had to have a D & C. I'm glad, for I have always thought that seeing that blood and knowing what was happening would be so heart-wrenching. And what if you're alone? Or you're alone with a small child? Yes, you manage because you have to. But it seems a lousy way for it to happen. Okay, I know "it's mother nature doing her job," but in a bathroom all alone?
My friend was able to go through a procedure that in itself gave credence to this life. I think that way was better for her and I want to believe God knew it would be. So that baby stayed until mom was in a better place to part ways.
This blog is to acknowledge that brief life and the quiet loss. Also I acknowledge the grief that is real no matter what "reason" might assert.
My favorite scripture is one that brings comfort, reinforces, gives me strength to keep going, and just well---I like it.
Romans 8: 37 - 39:
37: Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.
38: For I am persuaded beyond doubt that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present to come (nor things impending and threatening----Marvin Vincent, Word studies. The literal translation).
39: Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
From The Everyday Life Bible Amplified Version
Okay, take time to digest the above before moving on.
For some reason the following scripture keeps coming to my mind. It's not the one I originally planned for this blog, but here it is anyhow:
"Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand)that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
The next verse reads: "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and stronghold). Selah (pause, and calmly think of that)!" from The Everyday Life Bible containing the Amplified Old and New Testaments with note and commentary by Joyce Meyers.
In one of the devotions in her book New Day, New You, Joyce Meyers tells the story of Elijah after he had defeated 450 false prophets in a duel for power between their silent Baal and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Queen Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah as she had done with other prophets of God. So (weakened from exhaustion), Elijah ran and hid in a cave. God, of course, found him and questioned him (like we can hide from God!--a Beth note). At one point the Lord felt the need (my loose interpretation)to demonstrate his presence to Elijah. God told Elijah to stand on the mountain. A strong wind then tore through the mountains, and broke rocks into pieces, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind, there was a terrible earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, a fire broke out; but the LORD was not in the fire. After the the fire, there came "a still small voice.". . . Then . . . (basically) the Lord told Elijah what he wanted him to do. And E. obeyed the still, small voice of the Lord. (see I Kings 19: 11 - 13).
Joyce uses this story to help explain how to hear God when we need direction. "God didn't reassure E. with a showy, flashy manifestation of power, although he had already proved that He was capable of doing so. God spoke to His prophet through a still, small voice. And this is one way the Lord still speaks to us today. God chooses to communicate directly to His children through a whisper deep within their spirits." (Excerpt from February 3 devotion "The Still, Small Voice")
I've been feeling the need to just stop and spend more time reading devotions and scripture, listening to Christian music, praying, and just being still in the presence of God and to REALLY LISTEN. I strongly believe that both my parents did that a lot. I think we saw it more outright in Dad, but knowing what I do about chronic pain, I think Mom was able to do all that she did in the clutch of immense physical pain because she was able to hear the still small voice of God. We certainly left her alone a lot (and yes, I've had to deal with the guilt of living 3 houses from her and going days without actually seeing her even after she was a semi-invalid)! So how did she do it? I think she sought God and listened to Him a bunch.
I've been trying to listen more and obey. It's tough and I'm glad God is patient. If you read the whole of this particular story of Elijah, it seems to me like God had to keep after him and do what I think E. felt was just plain and simple persistent"bugging!" But then if E. had listened the first time, God wouldn't have had to keep bugging him! I think you get my drift. (For anyone who might view this part as irreverent, let me explain how I stand on that: I believe with all I have that God has a sense of humor and that He enjoys a chuckle just like we humans do. I think He chuckles at some of my comments, thoughts,etc.---definitely not ALL, but some. So if backs are going a bit rigid at my comment on nagging, then I say, "Loosen up!")
Now--- to whomever this is intended (because I originally intended to stop at the scripture from Romans), peace be with you as you LISTEN. And I always welcome prayers sent my way as I continue to listen and obey.