The smell of spicy chai tea fills our home on this cold winter’s day & tears stream down my cheeks as I sip on a freshly brewed cup. It’s not the aroma of the tea itself, but the memories of my late ama (grandma) sipping on a cup of hot chai every morning that has me emotional. As I look out the window to a world covered in pure white, I’m full of hope for the future. I believe I’ll be reunited with ama & she will be waiting for me in heaven holding our babies. Yes, I just said “babies” because in the last year I was pregnant twice. I wished we would have a little girl. Ned & I were ready in September & excited for the arrival of our baby in June on my birthday. We thought this time we will hold our baby, we will share our news, we will pick out a name…because last time we couldn’t. These warm tears are full of sadness & great hope.
A hope that is stronger than I’ve ever felt before & it has me excited about a joyful life now & after death.
Loss, especially death, has a way of gripping our emotions & it’s reality was undeniable for us around Christmas. I never knew sadness could feel this real. This time we were almost 12 weeks pregnant – 3 months of pure bliss, excitement, & plans for the future. All of a sudden, it was taken away from us as the technician failed to find a heartbeat. Floods of tears poured out from the deepest parts of our hearts. Somehow we sat through a 15-minute conversation about procedures & medications. As a mover, I wanted closure. But, the weeks before & after our loss made it difficult for us to find a sense of relief as they followed with many traumatic events: surgeries, doctor’s visits, a house break-in, & a stolen vehicle. Finally, a week ago through bittersweet news we felt a sense of closure. My lab results showed no signs of genetic disorders, & this was good news. But the greater news was that our baby was a little girl! Ned & I both shed a few tears & discussed the idea of naming our baby girl, but my sweet mother-in-law, full of wisdom, said we didn’t have to pressure ourselves to do that immediately. One day we will name them both & it will come naturally to us.
Today I’m compelled to write because so many of our dear friends have experienced similar losses. There are many who are grieving & struggling to find hope because of a loss in some form: a loved one, a relationship, material things, or a desire of your heart. I’m sharing our journey because we don’t have a baby & we are not fully healed yet. I say yet because I know we will have a baby & healed hearts some day soon. There is great power in choosing to hope after a great loss while we’re still a mess.
What did my mess look like?
It looked like a variation of these events: sleepless nights with a deep ache in my heart, weeping at a friend’s bathroom alone, floods of tears while driving, numbness, & many emotions that I can’t put into words. I had to be ok with crying at random moments. We allowed our hearts to grieve, feel the confusion, & pain. In the midst of all this, we continue to search for peace. Mess is where God meets us with an incredible amount of grace & love. It’s ok to be in pain. To cope. To feel numb. The heart takes time. We must allow the process to take it’s time. It’s not our fault. There’s a bigger plan & God is in control.
What has moving forward looked like?
Choosing to be vulnerable with our loved ones has caused me to connect with the pain, but the pain has been released in the process. It’s been incredibly freeing to give my tears permission to run down my cheeks as I was lovingly embraced. Asking for prayers that I couldn’t pray for myself in my weakness has relieved some of my heartache.
Being distracted. When you’re in pain, temporary distractions can be part of the healing process. I’m not saying run away & drown your sorrows. If you are constantly in touch with the pain, time will pass slowly. My good distractions have been movies with my husband, sweet moments with friends, & creativity: painting, decorating, cooking, photographing, & writing.
Adopting a pet. We brought home our puppy, Mia, after our first loss, & taking care of a little creature that responds to our love has brought a feeling of happiness to Ned & me. I have to agree with the studies that claim interactions with a dog releases oxytocin.
Practicing gratitude because our lives are bursting with family & friends who genuinely love & encourage us. Last year ended with many losses, but I’m thankful that it was also one of the most fruitful years of our lives.
Taking pleasure in the simplest daily tasks, like making chai tea. The feeling of nostalgia about my childhood with ama comforts me as I sip my favorite drink.
Finally, through the sadness & in my mess choosing to embrace hope.
Hope: a feeling of expectation & desire for a certain thing to happen. It is also described as “a feeling of trust.”
I love that Ned says, “This has been a dynamic year” because life is very dynamic. It has ups & downs & it ebbs & flows. My heart still aches with a desire to be a mother, I saw that dream come to pass for a short time, & it left an unforgettable mark on my heart. Though the pain is tangible, I won’t be held back by fear from trying again. I hope for a future with less sleep, more deaths to my desires, & a beautiful new life I will cherish. I will choose love over & over again when I have the honor of raising a child. I will remember during those sleepless weeks, months, & years that I’ve wanted this & it’s worth it.
During the the past two months I’ve been filled with compassion for myself, my sweet husband, & many who’ve experienced loss. My Ned, who is the most gracious person I’ve known, keeps repeating, “We are going to be just fine. You know that, right?” I think I do know that. Truth is we are doing more than just fine. For now, I take comfort in believing that my ama & babies are waiting for me with God in heaven. I leave these words to release hope & a sense of comfort to those who mourn with me.
I know that it will be more than just ok.
Love, Rosy Alexander