Life goes on. It’s one of those things people say that you don’t want to hear. No kidding life goes on, unfortunately it’s not the life I expected or wanted. People don’t say “life goes on” when you win the lottery or get married or give birth to a strong healthy child. “Life goes on” is what people say when tragedy strikes.
The thing is, it’s true. Life does go on, much as we don’t want to live it. And it’s so hard to face it, at first. Life goes on– those pregnant women at work are still pregnant, except I’m not. Life goes on– the bills need to be paid, the laundry needs to be folded, the family needs to be fed. Life goes on– we go to work, to church, to the store. Even when we feel like the whole universe is crashing in around us, life must go on.
I am so thankful to my parents and to our church family who made it possible for Art and I to have a break from life for a few days after we lost the baby. We stayed at home and cried a lot. It wasn’t fun but it was necessary to the healing process.
But then it was time to face life. And it was so hard. Facing people– loving, sympathetic people who care about us– was the hardest thing for me. I didn’t want to talk to people, didn’t want to see that look on their faces, didn’t want to hear whatever platitudes they had to offer. Somehow I forced myself to get dressed, put on makeup, do my hair, and walk out the door. I was shaking when I drove myself to work the first time after my surgery. I was sure I wasn’t ready for it.
But life does go on. And I discovered that I work with some very understanding and kind people. Also that most people don’t want to talk about it, which is usually fine with me. They are happy to hear about my boys, or how dumb the dog is, or how much I need a haircut. And when I do want to talk about it, they are ready to listen. I’ve been blessed.
When I dragged myself to church last Sunday I remembered why we felt God put us into that fellowship of believers. Hugs, handshakes, and love poured out to us. And I discovered that I could talk about it without crying, without turning into a big ball of emotional crisis. I even found out that it helps to talk about it.
I never knew how many women have suffered miscarriages. They are a living testimony to the fact that life does go on.
It has been two weeks and three days since we discovered that our baby had died. It seems like so much longer than that. The first few days were like years. But now– I’m okay.
I’m not okay every moment, and when I get stressed out it doesn’t take me long to remember that there are a lot of emotions still very close to the surface. But I can laugh, and live, and run around with my kids, and regret my gray hairs, and read books. Those things– those normal bits of life– are my daily reminders that life goes on, and life is good. And even when life isn’t good, God is.
I was sharing with a friend that I feel guilty in a lot of ways because I’m not crying all the time; in fact I laugh a lot more than I cry. She reminded me that God brings us joy, even in the most unlikely circumstances. “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Neh. 8:10). We can find strength for difficult times in joy– in laughter– in seeing the humor in ridiculous situations. God’s joy, discovered in this unlikely time, is strength to me.
What a miraculous gift.
Life goes on, and God gives all I need to face it.
And I am excited to see what this new chapter brings.