So today I went for a scan. After an incomplete miscarriage (google it, I’m not explaining the details!), essentially, it’s to check eveything is well – gone.
It’s been a long day. In my head, all day, has been one simple phrase. “It shouldn’t be like this”.
And it shouldn’t.
I should have been looking forward to my first scan. That simply insane moment where you look at the screen and you realise, properly, incontrovertibly, that there’s a little person inside you. And your mind flashes inevitably to the day that you get to photograph that child in person.
Nope. Instead, an empty womb, a set of complications, and a doctor who says “I’m so sorry” instead of “congratulations”.
In amongst the pain, glimpses of grace.
The friend who would claim she doesn’t do the emotional stuff, but who turned up at the hospital just to be with me. And sit with me, and make me laugh, and distract me, and feed me hot chocolate. Who didn’t try to fill the silences and the tears in with words, but who let me just collapse, and then helped me build myself back up again. With no pressure, no need to smile, no need to pretend it was all ok when it wasn’t. And who also turned up with runner beans and a cucumber (let the record show, I am actually addicted to cucumber). I may never say this to your face in these words, largely becuase you’d be too embarrassed, but if you’re reading this – you’re a legend.
The 20 minutes or so spent in the chapel, crying and shaking and yelling questions at God. Not questions with answers – just endless, endless questions. The sacred space to be fully real and fully human in all my brokenness, and to know that all my pain and heartache was known by Him. To look at the crucifix in the chapel, and to marvel at the astounding truth it shows. He’s in it, with me.
The laughter and silliness with another friend, reminding me that no night is ever, truly, without light. The facebook messages of support and love. The hug of a nurse, the sympathetic touch of a doctor.
Glimpses of grace.
I wanted to share some stories this week, of other children who inspire and break my hearts on a regular basis. It feels – right, in osme ways. In that I can’t do anything for my own unborn child, or baby Sara, who died last week, and whose death has hit me in a way not much else has.
So, let me introduce you to Jenna.
Jenna is 12. She’s clever, sporty, pretty. One of the good girls at a somehwat high acheiving, all girls school. Popular with everyone, she could take the easy ride through high school. Hang out with the popular girls. Be at the top.
She’s only 12. But she’s chosen a much harder route than that.
Because Jenna hates injustice and bullying and any situation where people are made to feel low.
And so she’s decided to tackle it, almost single handedly.
She chooses to hang out with the unsporty, unpopular kids. She’ll sit and eat lunch with the kid with no friends. She writes little notes of encouragement to them, and challenges bullies, and makes it her own personal mission to make sure no-one is left out on her watch.
Jenna’s an incredible girl (if she doesn’t hate me for writing this!) And it makes a difference. Becuase when you’re around her, you know that you’re loved. And that makes sad, vulnerable unhappy children feel valued again.
It’s an amazing gift.
And it’s one we all have.
No, we might not be a natural extrovert. But we can show people we love them, and that we care. Day after day, hour after hour at the moment, I’m surrounded by people. Most of whom don’t have the words. But they have the heart, and that’s what matters.
I want to be like Jenna, and Gill, and Dot, and Jenny, and Becky, and Anna, and Jill – all the countless people that show me time after time what it means not to sympathise but to empathise. Not to hunt for the right words, but to simply get a hold of the burden and help carry it on a little bit.
I’ve got a long way to go. But maybe that’s my glimpse of grace – the honour and responsibility of knowing what it means.
I hope and pray I never have to go through this again. Two huge losses in the space of two weeks is too much.
But I’m so grateful that it isn’t the end of the story.