It was the week of fourth of July, Caleb was about seven weeks old and my in-laws had come to visit. It was exciting to show off our baby, and even more fun for my then 2-1/2 and 5 year old to play with their grandparents. We decided to venture out to the beach to soak in some rays and allow the grandparents from Kentucky a little time to dip their toes into the ocean. We loaded up the car and were on our way…that’s when I noticed it. The diamond in my engagement ring was gone. I sat shocked for a moment, and continually rubbed my fingers over the sharp claws that once held that small gem. I looked throughout the car, shook out my clothes, shook out the kids clothes and once at the beach went all through the beach bag. No diamond. I sat on the beach heartbroken. I had worn this ring for almost half my life and what it symbolized, and who it meant I belonged to were extremely valuable to me. Losing a part of that was simply put…sad. We went home that evening and I searched everywhere – even vacuumed just to search through the dust collector – no diamond showed up. The sharp prongs kept cutting into my finger and I slowly realized the ring had to come off. Heartbroken. For those who do not talk to themselves this will sound odd, but I sat myself down and had a ‘what is your problem girl’ conversation. Why was I so sad by the loss of this gem? Was I any less married to Chris because it was gone? Was I less of a woman? Outside of the amount of jewelry I was now wearing – had anything changed? No. I took a few deep breaths, tightened up my big girl britches and low-and-behold carried on with life. 😉
Not all moments of sadness and disappointment can be handled quite that well. Some moments are much more difficult to maneuver. My most difficult, without question, has been going through a miscarriage. I have never journeyed through something so horrific. First, there is the loss of the dream of a precious little one. After finding out we were pregnant, I would sit down and think of our little one, and would do so by continually looking at our other kids. Would this one be as dramatic as the others? Will he or she have Lacie’s smile or Caleb’s laugh? Would Isaac’s tender heart reside in this one as well? The bits and pieces of who our newest dream might be, lay in front of us – and my mind continually wondered how the pieces would come together. But that was lost. I am ridiculously in love with my Christopher – experiencing the joy of a little of him and little of me and a whole lot of God coming together to form these treasures that we call our children is one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. But this new treasure, this new part of the two of us was lost. There’s no sweet way to express it – miscarriage breaks your heart. Hell.
That is the loss that my heart and mind went through, and then there was the loss of the pregnancy itself. As gently as I can express it – the actual miscarriage was hell. A hell on earth that I didn’t understand before this moment. There were weeks of exhaustion, pain and bleeding that wore my body down. There were so many unknowns – Will it be today? Will it happen on it’s own? What will it entail? The questions, the number of unknowns weighed heavy on my heart and mind. Then the actual miscarriage took place. It began on a Thursday evening – for several hours, I cried as my body began to sort through what needed to be done. Friday morning I woke up feeling okay, and for much of the morning wondered ‘was that it? did it happen?’ And then my body very graphically made sure I knew it had not yet taken place. There are no words to express what I went through, no horror movie that can compare to what I experienced, and no delicate way to explain. Nearly blacking out twice, I laid quiet that evening, numb in my heart, exhausted in my body, and desperately finding ways to block the experience from my brain. Hell.
I went to the doctor today – hoping to close the chapter – only to hear that more blood tests and another visit are still ahead just to ensure that I’m now not anemic or secretly housing some sort of infection. Sigh. I was doing well as I sat and listened to him talk until he began to talk about how strong I am. He admitted that he was surprised that not only did I go through the experience on my own, but that I did not cave in and go to the hospital. He fully expected that though I was hoping to avoid the hospital that I was going to end up there regardless. And he looked at me and commented on my strength. In that moment, I inwardly fell apart. He soon walked out and Chris even wondered why (having received good news that I would not need surgery) I was crying. I couldn’t verbalize in that moment, but suddenly the weeks of being strong hit the wall. Having to be physically strong to get through the ordeal; having to be mentally strong to get through the conversations that surrounded the subject; having to be strong for my kids so as not to scare or concern them; having to be strong for my Christopher so he could stay focused on work and church; having to be strong for myself so as not to cower in a corner somewhere. In one moment of a doctor acknowledging that strength – the rope broke. In a matter of seconds, strength turned to instant weakness. My body suddenly felt the pain and exhaustion. My heart felt 100 pounds heavier. My mind was suddenly fried. Strong? Me? No where even close. Hell.
Last night while the kids were eating their dinner, I took advantage of their having to be captive audiences to their dinner and decided to clean their rooms up. The normal routine of removing hidden toys from under beds, straightening up shelves, and clearing the floor. Halfway through cleaning up Isaac’s room I saw something out of the corner of my eye laying in the middle of his floor. I leaned down to pick it up and my feet collapsed under me. There laying in the fibers of the carpet sat a small tiny gem. My breath caught in my throat and my mind continually repeated – there is NO way! Picking it up I headed downstairs to the secret resting place of my engagement ring. Slowly I placed the sparkling gem into the broken setting and wouldn’t you know…a perfect fit. Three years have passed. Numerous adventures have been held in that room, countless runs of the vacuum…and yet there it lay. Impossible.
I have thought about it all day. There are a million things that could have (and should have, given the residents of this house) happened to that diamond. It should have been lost forever. Everything said to me that finding it again was impossible and yet there it was. Through this miscarriage, and even today as the bottom seems to have fallen out a bit – I am reminded that this isn’t forever. It has been hell, yes, but it’s a not a hell I have to live in. It does not have to continue. It is hell, but merely a stroll through it not a residency in it. Hopeful.
There are times that God feels distant, quiet, unseen and just not there. A considerable amount of time can go by where I can walk right by him and just not notice…but he is there; has always been there, will always be there. He is who gives me strength when I am weak (2 Corinthians 12:9). He makes himself known at just the right time and in just the right moment. He is the beautiful gem that fits perfectly into my broken heart. He himself has ‘strolled’ through hell – knows the walk, the pain, the inexpressible experience of it all – who better to lead me out of it? I am not strong, but I am gripping to him with all that I have and repeatedly saying ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD (my) God goes with (me); he will never leave (me) nor forsake (me).’ (Deuteronomy 31:6). And I wait, with great anticipation, for him to help me through. What is broken can be made whole again. Thankful!