How to grieve when you don’t have time to grieve
One last time, we told ourselves. One last child before we close up these painful, beautiful, brutal childbearing years. We wanted four children to tuck into bed each night.
I was relieved to become pregnant again after months of trying. This was it—our last child, a daughter—a thrilling gift from heaven to complete our family of three children earthside (and three heavenside).
Life was hectic but good as the pregnancy progressed. Our kids were flourishing. Our ministry was exploding. The community we were nurturing was growing. I had published a book on grief and loss and it was selling well and serving people in their pain. All around us were signs of new life—our growing baby the crowning glory of it all after years of disappointment and repeated heartache.
We’ve turned a corner—life, sustained.
Midway through the pregnancy my heart began to free itself into love. I bought maternity items and baby girl clothes. I felt her kick for the first time. And then I went to a routine midwife appointment the next morning and learned she had died while I slept.
How could this be? Weren’t we back to having living babies?
The next few months were a whirlwind. Donors purchased us a new car after ours was destroyed. I traveled to the USA for media appearances. Our ministry grew from two to fourteen staff. We had ten college age young people move into our community house together with our family. We launched two new ministries. We rented another property and filled it with more students. Our gratitude list grew a mile long—so much to give thanks for we could hardly keep up.
But we were still so sad. And how could we grieve when life wouldn’t slow down? How do you find the still small voice of God when you can barely sit still or quiet your world enough to hear?
And that brings me to now. Our loss is still fresh and my life is still full. My due date is a few weeks away and I haven’t escaped the whirlwind. I crave time removed to think, to be held, to make space for my grief. But my real life demands something else. I suspect yours does, too.
You and I in our grief—we have neighbours to care for, work to perform, deadlines to meet, bills to pay, a marriage to invest in, friendships to nurture, decisions to make, logistics to plan, teams to serve, commitments to uphold, perhaps even living children to love well.
And this is real life, isn’t it? The world doesn’t pause just because we find ourselves at a loss for how to operate within it.
People pass on condolences and then they keep passing right on. They have their own babies to feed, their own obligations to fulfil, their own lives to hold together. And in the middle of it all we are left to deal with the grief that lays in pieces at our feet.
Head to Club 31 Women to hear how I’m learning to grieve from the middle of the whirlwind.