There’s a novel called Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I haven’t read it, but the title resonates. I feel like I’m on that corner, living at the conjunction of bitterness and sweetness with peace and sorrow intermingled. For the most part, I truly am “okay.” Physically, I feel better than I have in a long time. Spiritually, I feel the Father’s closeness in all of this. Mentally and emotionally, however, I don’t know what I feel.
I’m not sure anyone really has the words for what it feels like to process the loss of a child. Even though I have a great hope to cling to, I still miss our baby. Even though a healthy delivery was still a long way off, my arms feel as if they should be holding our baby. Deeper than an emotion, deep down in the very marrow of my bones, my body knows that something is gone that should still be here.
Friday, after a difficult night of regret and longing, Eric and I finally looked at the pictures of our baby that had been taken after the procedure. They were not easy photos to see. And yet, we have comfort knowing that our baby is both fully formed to perfection now and in a much better place. Eric had mentioned that what makes him sad is thinking about the lost future with our child and how that’s probably selfish to feel that way. Knowing that our baby will never have to experience the pain and suffering that this life holds is sweet to hold onto, but I still wish we had our baby now.
Yesterday, we met with a member care couple who wanted to check in with us and see if they could help in any way. She mentioned that our baby will only ever know love, and that is sweet too. Our baby knew our love—inasmuch as a baby in utero can know it—and now our baby knows perfect Love.
This is all comforting to know, and about 80% of the time, this knowledge is enough to keep me going and trying to catch up on life. (Life does not stop for you when you run headlong into tragedy.) The other 20% of the time, I swing from uncontrollable crying to feeling hollowed out to burning anger to numbness.
Somehow in the middle of all the bitterness of grief, the Father still manages enough sweetness to keep me from collapsing. Seeing babies, small children, and obviously expecting women doesn’t hurt, which is what I had anticipated. Rather, these sights warm my heart and bring a smile to my face. Not every pregnancy ends in sorrow, and it is good to know that not everyone has to experience a miscarriage. At an all team meeting on Friday, I was able to hold a coworker’s baby girl and receive hugs from some of the other young children. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle seeing them, but it was healing to be around them.
A friend shared the following with me while we were still in the hospital, and I wanted to share it here as well:
“His thoughts said, As I journey, sometimes the water is bitter.
“His Father said, Let My loving Spirit lead thee forth into the land of righteousness. Do not ask Him whether He will lead thee to Marah or to Elim. Do not ask for the Elims of life. If thou must pass through Marah, fear not, for He will show thee a Tree, which, when thou shalt cast it into the waters, shall make the bitter waters sweet. One thought of Calvary will make any water sweet.”
When we were at conference in Thailand, around the same time that the Father told me that our baby would not survive, someone else shared a quote from Oswald Chambers that I copied into my journal. “If [He] has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; or if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him.” How little did I know when I heard this quote that it would soon be made reality in my life.
Our cup is bitter, but He has sprinkled enough sweetness into it to keep it from destroying us completely. Please continue to uphold us as we continue to grieve.