It was a warm sunny spring afternoon in our little married student housing cinderblock apartment. You had just come in from class. I was hand drying dishes when the phone rang. I cradled the phone on my shoulder next to my ear while holding a glass still damp with dishwater in my free hand. The voice on the other end of the line said three words that were so terrifying I dropped the glass. It shattered everywhere. You came running into the kitchen. “What’s wrong? What is it?!” I hung up the phone in disbelief. No, actually, shock. “I’m pregnant”.
We were told we could never have children. In fact, just 9 weeks earlier I had a DNC at Duke. Unbeknownst to us I was evidently pregnant during the procedure. The fetus should have been aborted. We stood in the kitchen looking at each other. I started to cry and you grinned from ear to ear. “What are we going to do, RW?” “Have a baby, Mama, have a baby .” We were 24 years old.
You’ve been gone 7 1/2 months and my sensory receptors feel exactly like they did 20 some years ago when we found out I was pregnant with our oldest daughter. It can’t be real. But it is. It’s shocking to the system. Paralyzing. “What do I do now?” “How do I do this?” All ridiculous reactions because I have been doing life without you for months now. Days are filled with activity and purpose. It’s the daily routines of our marriage that stop me cold in my tracks. Driving to supper club by myself I glance over to your empty seat and it takes my breath away. It’s as if my mind and my heart have blown a fuse. I know you are not coming back. I know you aren’t going to be sitting at the dinner table or in the church pew. I know this. But for whatever reason your absence is surreal in these moments.
Naomi, Job, Hannah, David, Mary, Martha & Jesus all experienced deep grief. I find comfort knowing Jesus wept over his friend. He loved Lazarus. He knew he was going to die. Jesus knew he was going to resurrect Lazarus. Guess what? Jesus still grieved!
This reminds me that where there is deep love there is deep grief. It doesn’t mean your faith is any less or that the testimony isn’t as valid. It doesn’t mean you are stuck and not moving forward. It simply means you loved deeply and now you are deeply grieved. And for today? That is okay.
“For your love & kindness are better to me than life itself!”-Psalm 63:3