People have moments that impact their lives every single day. Whether it’s a feeling of happiness, of feeling blessed, of paying that last car payment, getting that A on your final, getting that “YES!” from a publisher or agent. But these moments aren’t always so beautiful. We’ve witnessed the passing of those we love, maybe we’ve held someone’s hand as their diagnosis was given to them, maybe we’ve helped a friend through divorce. These moments, the good and the bad, change us, they dwell in us. They’re inescapable, and they’re real.
I’ve had plenty of these moments myself, of course, moments that have driven me into new direction in life, some wonderful, some deeply sad. With permission, I’d like to share with you today, a glimpse of a journey of a dear friend of mine. I won’t name her, but I have her blessing. We’ll all her “Angel,” because that’s what I feel she is. I had the sad experience of being with her one day on a moment of impact.
My friend, Angel, has struggled with becoming pregnant. And once she’s pregnant, she struggles against her body, to keep that baby inside of her. Her body dispels the very thing it wants, it needs, the very thing her heart sings out for. This has happened each and every time. And while for most of the time, I see her after and hold her hand and support her through it, there was a time when I was with her when her baby left us.
Being there for her moment of heartache will stay with me always. Though she’s not yet a mother with children she can physically present to the world, she is a mother. I have watched her grieve over her lost children. I watched her grieve that day as well. And sadly, she is not alone. There are so many beautiful women out there who have experienced this loss, this difficulty.
My latest book, “The Baby Symphony,” is a look into the life of Emilia Hyatt, a woman begging to become a mother, but finds a tragedy each time. But slowly, ever so slowly, with her husband by her side, she finds healing, hope, and even a renewed love for him and the many other blessings her life.
While Emilia is not real, her character carries my heart for every woman out there who faces this. Some I know, and many I don’t know, but because of my sweet friend, my heart knows you, and I honor you all with this book. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are loved. Thank you to all the kind women who have shared their stories with me. Emilia is a piece of each of you.
“Some say that hope is a seed that can only flourish if watered with faith.”
– Author Unknown
The darkness of our bedroom swallows us. There is no sun today. Appropriately hidden away, withholding its brightness, its joy, we’re left to the merciless clouds that hide it away. The rain taps at our window as if asking permission to come in. Perhaps it wants to wash away our sorrow, but I don’t think so.
Shoes left unworn litter the entrance to our closet and our blankets are disheveled from days of lingering in this bed. I’m no longer subdued by loss of blood and medication, and I’m fully aware of the tragic circumstance that brings Devin and me back to this place, to this darkness, where we shut out the world and grieve. My eyes sting from the endless tears and the inability to close. The red veins in the whites are swollen grooves, like ridges of mountains. I sigh. This is Gymnopedie. Specifically, Gymnopedie No. 1. The fluidity of the harp, the beautiful moan and whine of the strings in their upper register, the answering winds. It’s all I can think of playing in my head in harmony with the crackle of the rain on our patio pavement and putter tapping at our window. The weeping strings cry with me and for me when I can’t find a tear left. And then like the rain outside, the tears renew with no present end. I feel Devin’s foot rub against my calf. A sign of life. He reaches out to spoon me closer to him. When his hand finds my wrist, he stops abruptly. I feel him peel away from me and hear him shuffling in the nightstand drawer. In seconds, I feel a steady hand carefully inserting cool metal. With a flick, my hospital bracelet falls to the floor. He puts his blade back in his nightstand drawer and cradles me to him.
I was carrying twins but only for a brief time. Once the first one left, the other, I’m sure, took it as a sign that my womb was no good. Not for one baby, much less two. They must’ve been our kids. Smart like Devin. In and out of sleep, new nightmares visit me. I am cradling, nursing, dressing, bathing, loving two whole babies. The pleasure is painful. So painful, that even in sleep, I expect to wake and find a sword stuck firmly through my heart.
After Devin and I escaped the prison of the darkened confines of grief in our bedroom, I decided to begin sleeping on the tan sectional in our den. Tonight marks the third night. I tell Devin it’s because it’s easier to get in and out of with the pain and all. The time displayed as glowing green numbers on the cable box toy with me. I’m wide awake, and the numbers have hardly changed for the last hour that I’ve watched. I sit up for a moment, debating, fighting the pull of my sanctuary in our bedroom. Devin.
My confounded husband, leaving me to grieve, wonders what he did wrong. He questions me with those blue eyes. They beg me for answers. Silent tears blame me, I’m sure. He did nothing wrong. He’s done nothing but right since the moment he saved my life. It feels like so long ago. I devour the memory, hoping a ray of happiness can block out the gloom that seems permanently permeating on me.
It’s the fifth-day anniversary, down to the hour, that I lost our children. The white shutters, blue in the moonlight are open and I can see the stars. I feel like they are visiting me, my precious ones that have listened to my wishes for so long. I’d pluck them out of the sky, one at a time if I could. It would give me some happy activity here again in this witching hour that haunts me. I’d wish for a baby. Again. And not a dead one, either. I don’t even need two, just one will do.
I hear soft unsure footsteps. They stop at the mouth of the den. One of our dining chairs creaks. I debate playing possum, sleeping through his visit. But I can’t. Even with my eyes closed I can see his sorrowful face, just like on that poisonous night. Before I can stay myself, the rebellious word escapes. “Devin.” I’m surprised by my own voice. It’s a stranger, disobedient. I think it’s my heart calling out to him, the one thing that is truly and rightfully his. He fought for it, after all, and he won, winning over the trust and love of a then wounded and hesitant young girl a decade ago.
He is quickly standing over me, looming, lost. He eagerly accepts the hands I reach out to him, bringing him to sit by me. Our fingers intertwine, just like they used to. It was their dance. The silence is deafening, awkward, but there isn’t much to say.