Caution: If you and your spouse have ever suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, or loss of a child, this may trigger an overwhelming emotional response and you may not want to read it.
I thought I understood. I’ve lost parents, close relatives, close friends, distant relatives and friends, and I thought I understood. I’ve learned that you suffer grief at many points in your life, that you let it happen, you accept it as a part of life, and then you put one foot in front of the other and go on. I thought I understood. I’ve prayed with people and shared their grief and encouraged them to fully experience it and let it become a part of their lives and go on. I thought I understood.
And then, a month ago, our son and daughter-in-law suffered the stillbirth of their first child, our granddaughter, at 24 weeks. And we suffered the pain and heartbreak of watching them try to live through that. As a parent I always believed the loss of a child was one of the worst experiences a person could ever have in their life, I learned that’s true. But it may even be worse to see your child lose his child, his first chance to be a Dad, her first chance to be a Mom; to watch your own child suffer through the worst grief you can possibly imagine, and to wish it could be you instead of him.
Now I understand the true depths of grief and despair. Now I understand just how awful a loss can be. Now I understand how hard it is to put one foot in front of the other when all of life seems frozen at this agonizing moment in time. Now I understand that it’s not good days and bad, it’s a matter of good or bad hours, and good or bad minutes; and you never know from one minute to the next whether more grief will come flooding out.
And now I understand something about love that our daughter-in-law put into words at Elsie Rose’s memorial, “Imagine a love so strong it made saying hello and goodbye in the same day worth all of the pain.” I can imagine that. And I can let love win over it all, always. Because if I couldn’t, I would not be able to live my life, to raise a family, to go on. Love wins, always.
Now I understand … Pops