I haven’t always thought about it very often, but sometimes when I do I feel both sadness and shame and ask myself…”why don’t I think about it more?” “Why am I not bothered by this all the time?” I know for a while my wife didn’t have the luxury of not thinking about it. She felt the child inside of her, experienced the excitement of buying a big brother shirt for our son and making a really adorable announcement video for me. But only a few short days later there was a problem and after a long visit to the emergency room all we could do was wait. My mind still has some of that child-like “out of site, out of mind” focus at times and our son was only one and a half, so he consumed quite a bit of my time and mental energy and at times served as a distraction. I don’t think I really ever stopped to think about it for very long or really processed what had happened given the short time from finding out to losing the child. Or perhaps my brain just has a hard time processing sad emotions. I’ve been very fortunate when it comes to death and tragedy throughout my life that I haven’t had more to deal with, and most of the time it has not been unexpected.
I was most definitely sad, very sad in fact. I prayed hard for my child while I knew there was still hope and even a while after. I tried to still be a good dad and a supportive husband. I feel I did well with the former, but I’m not so sure about the latter…I don’t know if I’ll ever understand what my wife went through and how she felt through it all, and probably at times how alone she felt seeing me go about a seemingly normal day all the while her body, her heart ached. We talked about it infrequently. I knew she was hurting. My mind somehow still had trouble processing it all.
It finally all seemed to hit me a year ago today, October 31st. Our unborn child’s due date. I finally realized that I should have been holding a baby on this day. I should have been preparing our house for two little ones, attending doctor’s appointments with my wife and talking with an excited toddler about how great of a big brother he was going to be. It was a picture that my wife took to commemorate our child that struck me the most. A picture I’ve included below and a simple caption: “Holding on to His promises – Happy Birthday Sweet Angel.” That’s when I finally felt the emotion, the weight of what we had lost. The chance to meet a beautiful, precious baby. I would never know what that child would look like, what they would act like or who they would be. I never even got to feel them kick inside Mom’s tummy.
Since that day I’ve allowed (and forced) myself to think about it more. I don’t just go about my normal days ignoring the reality. I read about people’s stories of miscarriage. I purposefully listen to “Angelique” by Tyrone Wells, a song that beautifully, yet painfully details the heartache of a child who will “never see the light of day”. I see the “ampersand” in our hallway reminding me that “& He is good”. It may have been very early, but what we lost was a member of our family, a sweet child that would have been beautiful and so loved. I’m not going to let myself forget that.
Thankfully, I now have a constant reminder of “holding on to his promises”. My beautiful daughter…our rainbow baby…our joy after despair. She’s an incredible reminder of what we lost, and yet how blessed we still are. She will never replace the one we lost and she doesn’t have to. She is a beautiful, remarkable miracle all to herself and a reminder that there can be joy after the storm.
This is fatherhood…