Last Friday, a day that the Christian church recognizes as Good Friday, was a big day for our family – though we hadn’t decided to share the details with you just yet. You woke up, got dressed and went about your day as you normally would.
Your Daddy and I prepared to go for an ultrasound for a pregnancy that was in its 10th week.
I remember so clearly the day I got the news – laughing on the phone at work as the nurse read me the results of my blood test. You see, buddy, we have wanted to give you a little brother or sister for…well. Let’s just say a very long time. We knew that we could never do anything to jeopardize our ability to provide for you, our first and most important priority, so the most aggressive option we had at our disposal for those years was hope.
Hope is powerful but it doesn’t make the work of waiting any easier and, much like the weeks and months that led up to us finding out about you, I was starting to wear thin.
We were planning to begin sharing the news with close friends and family after this appointment. This had been my most uneventful first trimester by far – something I wrote off to my being healthier than I’ve been in a long time – but I didn’t want to push my luck. Still…I wasn’t consumed with fear and doubts about the pregnancy like I had been in the past. People who didn’t know our news would stop me to tell me that I just seemed so incredibly happy. And, truly, I was.
So when the image appeared on the screen, a heartbreakingly perfect little body so small and so still, I held my breath and told myself that I was wrong. As the minutes passed and the doctor took measurement after measurement, I told myself to forget that I should be able to see a flickering heart in that tiny chest by now. As the doctor put her hand on my leg and told me that she couldn’t find a heartbeat, there was only enough air left in the room for me to manage a weak “I know”.
And so we walked out of the office heavier, darker people than we walked in and went to a radiologist for another opinion at the request of the doctor. I prayed for a miracle but this time – with the heartbeat monitor laying flat on the screen – it was miserably obvious, even to us.
There was little time to mourn – we had a service to prepare for that night, and rehearsals the next day in preparation for Easter Sunday. I pushed my sadness down as far beneath the surface as I could. We would push through the weekend, and cry on Monday instead.
This isn’t the first miscarriage I have had – but it is different in every way. I think that having you, Danny, has kept many of the lowest and emptiest thoughts at bay. Still, it adds a unique sadness to the affair knowing that you have experienced this loss too. A gift that you did not even realize had been given has been ripped from our hands and you are poorer for it its loss, just as we are.
As I sat in the service on Friday night, listening to the mournful choruses that are the trademark of the Tenebrae service, my heart was breaking into pieces around me. I was at home in the darkness of that night, content to stay there in sorrow and in hiding.
But Easter is a story of light. Easter is the triumph of the world’s most perfect love story, for God so loved the world that he sent his Son to save us. To break the bondage of sin and death forever and give us the gift of eternal life.
The story of Easter didn’t end at the foot of the cross, just as our story didn’t end in a delivery room in 2006, a hospice in 2011, a nursing home last October, or any of the times that death has crossed our path and brought us to our knees. Our story doesn’t end today, either.
We will mourn the loss of a life so new it had hardly been shared and celebrated. We will say goodbye a lifetime before we will be able to say hello. And surely, we will find our way back to the light.
Danny, today you woke up, got dressed and are going about your day as you normally would. And when we see you later tonight – if we forget to smile, if we don’t take you to the playground, play pretend birthday or have pizza for dinner… I will simply pray that you will be able to see our love in the dark for just a little bit longer.
Because we are Easter people, and we know that joy comes with the morning.