This morning brought big flakes of lightly falling snow. The same kind of snow that fell the day after we buried Harlynn. It stormed and snowed the Wednesday I delivered her. The day I held her lifeless body in my arms for the first and last time. It snowed every Wednesday after that for the next four weeks, but I specifically remember the snowfall the day after we buried her. Peaceful, heavy, flitting snow. As I watched it from my living room window this morning, favorite coffee cup in hand, perched upon my favorite corner of the sofa, I had the feeling of simultaneous peace and sorrow. That snowfall was a reminder of what wasn't. Of what will never be. But just as the snow covers the ground it falls on, then eventually melts and goes away, is the peace and sorrow that cover me.
December has been so very hard on me. Much harder than I anticipated, which isn't saying much, because I didn't anticipate it to be any harder than any other day or month since losing her. I've found myself so very tired. Tired of having been expected these last eight months to conduct myself sanely, maturely, gracefully, and not being given the freedom to cry when and how I feel like it. Why? Because it might make those around me uncomfortable. Too many a time I've choked back tears and kept myself from crying because the rest of the world doesn't want to face my pain. Or because I myself can't handle when others join in my suffering. I need moments to be, just me and my grief. I'm tired of the people who promised they would always be there, and are now nowhere to be found. Tired of the people who offer me empty words or sentiments, even if they are trying to help. Tired of figuring out how to celebrate in the midst of sorrow. So very tired. And here it is, almost Christmas, without the baby I was pregnant with last Christmas.
In that tiredness I find I'm angry. At everything and nothing. Everyone and no one in particular. I don't want to talk to anyone, I don't want to do anything, I don't want to go anywhere. In that same vein, I get frustrated when no one will talk to me, when there's nothing to do, and when there's nowhere to go. It's a lose-lose. So instead, I just get angry.
It's been eight months. Often times I hear how well I'm doing, how strong I am - but those people don't see me during days like yesterday. Days where the tears don't stop coming, no matter how hard I try to pull myself together. They don't see the nights I wake up from horrible dreams. They don't see me crumpled next to Haley's bedside as I pray fervently for protection from everything over her. They don't see my anger. And that's fine - it's not a show I want available on display. It's not anything I want others to get a glimpse of. And maybe I am strong. Maybe I am doing well. But even so, I need to have the freedom, the right, to fall apart. To be not okay.
And this has been my December. The struggle to find a balance, if such a thing exists, between the reality of what I feel now, and the peace and comfort I long for. I do get doses of each. Yesterday it came in a radio show I so desperately needed to hear. Today it came in Haley snuggling on me, telling me she was so cozy in her mama's lap. Some moments it comes as I feel little flutters from the new little one in my womb.
I don't want you to feel sorry for me. And I hope and pray that no one ever thinks I post these inner dialogues in the hopes of garnering pity. It simply is what it is. Nothing can change that.
As Christmas draws closer, and as it begins a period of life where we'll be longer without Harlynn than we were with her, my heart is given completely to those who are missing their loved ones this year. Especially those who never got to bring their babies home. Just because it's Christmas and the "jolly" is being crammed down our throats, there is still suffering I'm mindful of. There are still hurting hearts out there. There are still people who need to be ministered to. There are people who are struggling to find anything worth celebrating.
To those hearts who are broken, maybe even more than my own, I pray you come to know that reason for celebration. I pray you come to know that there is a God who gives strength to the weary. Hope to the hopeless. Peace to the brokenhearted. Peace to people like you and me. Were it not for Him, I wouldn't be here, eight months on, having anything worth living for. But I do - I have so much. And even on the days when my anger and grief cloud my thankfulness, even on the days when I want the whole world to know how unjust it all is, I have a Spirit interceding for me. I have a place being prepared for me. Yes, it may be hard, even impossible at times, to see, but His goodness and His glory are ever abounding. Through everything. Everything. Even this. Especially this.
As I struggle through this December, and maybe as you are struggling as well, I offer up a prayer that we'll be reminded often and obviously, there is a love that outweighs the ache of our hearts. A love that covers us for no other reason than we exist. Even in all our pitiful misery and angst, we are loved.
God, help me remember.