I had never experienced tragedy of any kind, and never really knew how to be a servant of God's to someone who had, until now. Let me share what I have learned.
The day we buried Maggie was unreal. We couldn't believe we were in a car on the way to a funeral, Maggie's funeral. "How is this real? How is this happening to us?" Stephen kissed her goodbye once more, then gently laid Maggie down into the ground. Now what do we do? We survive.
I think we have been ahead of the game for many who grieve, in that we never once blamed God for our circumstances or felt anger toward Him. We believe control has never been ours. We live in a fallen world where sin and Satan abound. God knows this, allows this, and has hurt with us the entire way. Our grieving is a sadness and longing to know Maggie more. We miss her.
I have learned to cry openly with my husband, a vulnerability that draws us closer. We share stories and memories, look at pictures and sentimental items that are special to us. I don't go many minutes a day without thinking of my daughter, which is both wonderful and hard. I'm learning my limits and breaking points. Young crying infants make me long after her, having never heard her cry. Some times while working in the ER a young babe looks up at me straight into my eyes and my heart breaks, having never seen Maggie's eyes.
Most of the time though, i like to talk about her. I've learned that recognition of my baby and her name is very important. I have not and will not forget her, and this early in the healing especially it is important to me that others have not forgotten her either. I need someone to ask "What was she like?", or, "Tell me about Maggie." But these conversations don't come easily. I understand people don't know what to say - neither do i most of the time - but I need to know she was real to others too.
I have spent a lot of my time reading books on healing and grieving a lost baby (miscarriage, stilbirths, children, ectopics included). Partly this is to consume my time and mind, and for learning to heal, but also to be able to help others when faced with such unspeakable pain.
There is one particular book I want to share and recommend to all of you. It's titled, "Surviving the Loss of a Child, Support for Grieving Parents" by Elizabeth B. Brown. Chances are someone you know will face the heartache and loss of a young one, or maybe you have. This book exposes someones experience of pain, grieving, questioning and healing so that the reader can better understand. It also answers a lot of questions of what to say, what not to say, what to do to help before and after a funeral and how to be a friend. It also gives some information of how other children react to loss of siblings or school friends. It is very helpful, eye-opening information to help prevent the very isolating feeling that great loss provides.
"How are we doing?". I would say OK. Some days better than others, we are surviving. Cards in the mail have dwindled considerably. Every single one is treasured and offers some healing, I beg you not to stop sending them, or to anyone else who hurts with loss or other tragedy. It does make a difference. Everything you have given up, time, money, stamps, meals, conversation, prayers, all offers healing. Thank you.