Some memories resurfaced that I hadn’t thought much about for some time... thoughts of certain milestone moments in my pregnancy with Aurora. My big anatomy scan ultrasound happened in the week between her daddy’s death and his funeral. I sat in the waiting room of my OB’s office thinking about my husband’s visitation the next day, surrounded by many intact couples. The absence was that much more acute seeing all the fathers-to-be...
When I went into the dark ultrasound room, I had my mom, my toddler, my sister, and my mother-in-law with me... not the father of my child—not my best friend. It looked as if I was carrying a healthy baby—another girl—just like Chris had wanted... but I couldn’t see him react. We couldn’t shop for matching little girl outfits together.
(19 weeks along—6/30/14—It’s a girl!)
A couple days later, this active baby I was carrying was kicking up a storm as I was lying in bed. For the first time she kicked hard enough that my hand could feel her flutters on the outside, below my waistline. This was the day of her daddy’s funeral, the day we would bury his body. I yelled for my mom to come to my room; then I put her hand low on my abdomen. There we were, mother and daughter, two fairly new widows, sharing this intimate moment I would have shared with my husband.
I remember thinking how unfair it was in both those moments that Chris didn’t get to be there. In my mind, he should have been the one at my side during the ultrasound. He should have been the first one other than myself to feel our daughter move. He was missing out and it wasn’t fair. Logically I knew that my husband wasn’t missing out; not really... he had moved on to the Perfect Peace of Christ and it was those of us still on Earth that were missing out. I was missing out because my spirit grieved to have an unbroken relationship with my husband and to see my baby daughters with their Dada.
(2 days old, her due date: 11/21/14)
The seemingly insurmountable task was to birth his child without him there. I did it; no pain meds. Grief and contractions intermingled and threatened to tear me apart that November night. Feeling it all was important somehow. The only way out was through without trying to numb or quiet the roar of any of it. But—it did not kill me. I rose triumphant and lifted a girl child from my body just before daybreak.
She cried for most of the first six months of her life, rarely consolable, echoing the cries of my barren widowed heart. I think she knew. Infants are far more intelligent, particularly to their mother’s emotions, than we give them credit for. And I think my little child felt the weight of the grief upon me...
(My two under two. 12/2014)
She was—she is—the daughter of our great love but also the daughter of my grief. The two things that brought her into this life are inseparable.
It was a chaotic and difficult time. I’m thankful to have bigger girls now and to be farther along in my grief journey. I’m immensely grateful God has seen fit to bring me new love (and a bonus daughter along with him). I have two great love stories in my life— what a treasure! Every once in a while, reflecting on where I’ve been helps me see just how far I’ve been pulled from the rubble. My God is such a rescuer of the broken. I’m testament to that.
(Aurora, Mommy, and Abbi— 1/2019, pc: Jenn Fortune)