One of the most interesting things I’ve learned through the life of Maggie is how differently God designed human beings. Not just physically, but emotionally. I’m an emotional guy and it’s always been hard for me to do much of anything without crying, but I’m not crying as much as I would have guessed. I’m tired a lot, but I’m not laid up in bed for hours at a time, and I’m not as inconsolable as I would have thought. I’m just baffled at the way I have reacted emotionally to the whole thing. As a matter of fact, I think Satan uses that to make me feel guilt. That guy really ticks me off.
It’s especially difficult to deal with the lack of emotion when Joy is dealing with it in a completely different way. It makes sense. She carried Maggie in her womb for 9 months. She produced the milk that helped keep her alive for the final two weeks. She is heartbroken. I feel completely helpless in her greatest times of need, and I don’t even understand. I can’t understand. There is a bond missing that I was never intended to know or feel, so I can’t understand what Joy is feeling. This may be the biggest battle we ever face in our marriage. With my incredible ability to over think things on an outrageously deep and unreal level, I can see the evil one trying to use it to tear us apart.
There is another major difference between me and Joy that has cropped up, and again, it’s simply our genetic makeup that separates our reactions.
The things that remind me of Maggie are: Her nursery. It’s still here in the house, and we keep the door closed most of the time, but there are incidents that require me to go in there occasionally. That’s tough. It nearly brings me to tears every time I look at the tiny rocking chair in the corner or the changing table that has never been used. The beautiful flowers all around the house from the funeral make me think of her, and they are on every flat surface we own. There are a few other things here and there that get me choked up, but not a whole lot.
The things that make Joy think of Maggie are: Flowers, our dogs, bees, the kids blowing bubbles from a car window, pregnant ladies, the cry of any random baby, strollers, baby clothes in a store, certain foods, the clothes she wore while holding Maggie, and nearly everything else does too. We were simply designed differently.
I’ve also learned that we aren’t just mourning the loss of our loved one, we are mourning the loss of expectation. We didn’t just lose a child we loved, we lost a baby. You see them everywhere, and although another person’s baby isn’t yours it makes you think of the one you no longer have. Every piece of baby clothing reminds Joy of Maggie even if it’s a stranger’s or if it’s hanging on a rack in a store. We lost almost every experience a parent expects to have.
My grandfather died a few years ago. I loved my grandfather and there are things that still remind me of him, mostly when I smell an unfiltered Camel cigarette, but I don’t think about him every time I see someone wearing a white golf shirt like the ones he wore nearly every day. And I don’t mourn him each time I watch golf, a favorite passed time we had. My guess is that there is just something different about losing a baby than losing any other loved one.
Joy and I are in very different places emotionally right now, but it’s not much different than it was when this event roller coaster ride began six months ago. But when I look back I notice that it was me who was heartbroken then. Joy held me as I wept at night. She was strong when I was weak.
I stopped trying to explain things about this world a long time ago. I have little to offer when it comes to wisdom, but I can look at plain things and describe them, and some things are becoming more plain and clear to me. I mourned the loss of our Maggie over a long period of time. At first it was the loss of normalcy, and I mourned. Then it was the loss of mental capacity, and I mourned. Soon after I mourned the loss of physical abilities. So when we lost her completely on May 25 my grieving was minimized. And it was a good thing, because Joy needed me and she still needs me. When I was weak she was strong, and now I can be the strong one for her.
Most of what I’ve said here is kind of dark and dreary, but I want everyone to know that we are doing well. Even though we are sad, hurting and even depressed, we are making it through with the ability to still give God the praise he deserves. I’ve had a lot of people say things like, “There is no way I could have been as strong as you.” I try to tell people this every time but it sounds very trite, so please understand I say this with the utmost humility. Because I am weak He is strong. I have done nothing great or small, I have only trusted in God. He has sustained me and He has given me strength.
Thank You’s are in order for all of you. We have been blessed tremendously. While the seas around us are roaring God has calmed our ship and most of the time he has used many of you to do it. Thank you for all of the prayers, meals, cards and flowers. And to all of you who have helped us financially whether it be in a card or through the Mighty Maggie Fund, you have been God’s hand of comfort. The stress of medical bills has been eased greatly. Thank you so much for your love.