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Walking the Road of Grief

Walking the Road of Grief

“I feel like I’m going to explode! I’m supposed to be ‘working through grief’, but what does that mean? What is my goal for the day, to be sad? Why can’t I get pregnant so that some happiness will return? Is that using the baby as a crutch? I guess the truth is, I don’t want to face months of only sadness. But I have to. I have to continue on.” Entry from my journal, 9/30/15   

Shortly after Hope’s death, I had many women reach out to me to tell me about their stillbirth stories.  I wanted to face grief head-on, to embrace the sorrow for as long as I needed to, so that one day, I would be able to find joy again. So every day, I woke up and allowed myself to feel the pain. Sometimes that meant weeping, sometimes that meant writing down my memories, and sometimes that meant reading books about grief and loss. But it always included talking about Hope. I mentioned her to every person I met, and I didn’t care if that made other people feel uncomfortable. I needed people to know her story because it was such a huge part of my story. I had to release the pain and grief, and for me, that meant being as open as possible with the people around me.    

I viewed grief as a horrible, bumpy, winding road. While I knew that I would always miss my daughter, I also knew that the acute pain and intense suffering I was experiencing would have an end. I just had to keep walking down the road until I reached the other side. So every day, I pictured myself taking a few more steps down the road. I dreamed of a day when I wouldn’t feel bogged down in the mires of grief. For me, this period of grief lasted about 18 months. My grief still exists, but it is now muted and manageable. I am able to be happy and joyful most days, but there are days that are still very hard. When those days come, I allow myself to feel the pain again. I stay home, eat ice cream, and watch a sad movie. I look at pictures of my daughter, and I cry for who she would have been.    

One of the passages of Scripture that comforted me in that season of grief was John 11:33-36. It states, “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’” In this story, one of Jesus’ friends, Lazarus, has died. Jesus comes to see the family in the midst of their grief, and he enters into it with them. He weeps for their grief and he weeps for His friend. He weeps even though He knows that in just a few minutes, He is going to raise Lazarus from the dead.   

This passage gave me great peace because it showed me that Jesus wasn’t rushing me through grief. He did not expect me to hide my pain and pretend that everything was fine. He was holding me, weeping with me. He knew how badly I was hurting and He empathized with me. Most of all, He faced the cross in order to defeat death. He rose again from the grave so that death would not have the last word. Because of His resurrection, I could grieve with the hope that I would see my daughter again. And through His grace and strength, I can say that I walked the road of grief...and I survived.

Lauren Young is a wife to Will and mom to two beautiful boys on earth (Matti and Sammy) and three precious babies in heaven (Hope, Jonah, and January).  She is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys writing, reading good books, cooking new recipes, and playing piano.  She lives in central Texas now but was born and raised in Georgia.  She and her husband are now in the adoption process and can't wait to see what God has in store for their family.   

Catherine Hartel

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