Lookin' Fine : (healing is so complicated)
I'm mulling this over as I remember a conversation this week. . .
Super relaxing atmosphere
long awaited spa stuff
Is this your first pregnancy?
no, it is our fourth
Sarah Machlachlan sings about the arms of the angels and I close my eyes thinking about mine. . .
chatter about dogs and gardens and the South where she's from and Charleston weddings and big front porches and this awful heat and
What are the ages of your kids?
i wondered if you'd ask
I was so so tempted to lie. "6, 4 and 18 months."
It's not quite a lie.
I'll never see her again, and I'm okay right now and to say "we lost our third child, our son, our Gabe" and then go on doesn't do justice to his life and the loss and the hole and I think that healing is a gift but it's such a complicated one.
Gently I acknowledge my Jacob Daniel and my Cambria and my Gabe and then I say that he isn't here anymore and that I miss him so much. . . and I cringe that my pregnancy and our happy kicking unborn #4 can easily look like a replacement and how do I explain that we are going to love our little #4 for all of it's number fourness and not because this new little person is filling that Gabe-shaped hole?
The expected words.
I'm so sorry.
That would be awful.
But I don't look awful and my eyes aren't red rimmed and I am healthy and tanned and able to carry on a conversation and my sanity doesn't tell the whole story and there isn't time.
And it isn't the place.
And I wonder if that was betrayal and I wonder if my Gabe would have been more honored if I would have kept my mouth shut.
Should I hold up a sign that says I put makeup on but that doesn't mean my life is okay!
I'm pregnant but I'm not replacing my son!
Gabe died and I can say that without screaming but that doesn't mean it's okay!
I think of the odd experience of stumbling across our story being discussed in a forum on The Bump. . .
then a link to our blog. . .
then all the comments:
our baby girl is exactly his age
my husband is a firefighter too, oh my
i read her current posts, she is pregnant and they look like they are doing fine.
Everything looks fine.
Isn't that what everyone wants for us? For anyone who suffers? For the answer to pain?
Oh please, just look fine.
Would your cancer please go into remission and could you please just wear a super cute wig so I can focus on how well you are coping?
Could you please at least pretend you have a job or some leads or a promising interview and can we all just pretend that you are able to make all of those house payments because it's so scary to think that you are unemployed. . .
Can we talk about how great of a guy you are going to find someday even though your dates to black tie weddings are girlfriends or brothers or guy friends who had mercy on you and your nights are lonely and your career isn't as fulfilling as it looks on the outside?
Your son is in jail? Let me pause while I try and swallow all of my shock! Oh, well, I'm sure you're finding great attorneys and I'm sure your son will never do that again and besides he was always a great kid and I don't want to even think about how ashamed and humiliated and hurt you are so can we please talk about something happier?
Can you please look fine?
For a while you can't and the pain is just too raw and too deep and everyone knows it's not fine and you're not fine.
Your mail carrier is busy and you wear your darkest sunglasses and you see the hushed whispers and your soul needs the hard squeezing hugs.
But at some point. . . you begin to look fine.
So then what?
Sorry, I don't know.
Begging God for grace.
Reluctant to spill out the story of my son's short little life if the treasure part can't be communicated.
Cringing at the many times in my life when I've been the one with the answers and the God is sovereign spiel and the trite responses and it might have been being the salt of the earth and a light to the world but a clump of salt tastes pretty bad and no one wants a million candlepower flashlight shining in their eyes when all they can see is darkness.
Knowing I'm not the only one thinking this stuff.
A little afraid of lookin' fine over here.