Friday, December 9, 2016

Breaking Through the Grief

Sometimes I ask myself why I keep choosing to do this. Must I really remember her this way and in the process taint what's supposed to be festive with something somber?

Six years after I lost Emily, I still include her in our holiday decorations. There is an angel on my tree each year which I bought to specifically represent her, and a tiny stocking has always hung on our mantel for her as well. This year, it's become even more pronounced because my 9-year-old son insisted on finally changing his to a big stocking. He has grown much, after all. Emily never did. 

In the first week of December 2010, I miscarried. It was my second attempt at IVF and after having success with our first one, my husband and I were confident and optimistic. I took it for granted that I was not immune to miscarriages and really thought that as long as my pregnancy took and I remained cautious that everything would end up well. 

It did not and I lost my childwho I was later told was a girlat 7 weeks. 

I've done my active grieving although, as I always say, grief doesn't really completely end but only wanes, ebbs and flows. The tears that needed to be shed have been shed. The anger towards God has been expressed and reconciliation has been found. The echoes of questions have tired and have found their way to serenity. But something always remains and anyone who has grieved can understand this...

The wondering lingers, on some days more pronounced than others. And we all know the holiday season increases one's sentimentality exponentially. 

It's the wondering about how the picture you're looking at and the life you're living might be like had things turned out differently, if the person you're missing were still around. 

It's the wondering about the ripples that person's life would have created and how transformed you would have been if you were blessed with their influence. 

It's the wondering about the love your heart misses, whether you had it for a long time or it only touched you momentarily. Either way the absence of that love carves out a deep crater that you now must tread alongside it carefully, lest you find yourself trapped within it. 

That is why I continue to choose to remember Emily especially during the holidays. When my heart fills with love and anticipation, remembering her forces my heart to see that in spite of the wondering and that sense of loss, Gratitude still wins as I am able to see my life as one that still ended up complete and perfect in its humble way. 

Gratitude shows itself to me when I remember that in spite of the heartbreak and anger towards God, I was never made to feel alone and forgotten; that this God allowed me to find healing at my own pace and realize the wisdom behind how our lives unfold even when we don't understand things at first. 

Even after six years, my grief still continues to bless me and I see no better time to be reminded and celebrate that kind of breakthrough than during the holidays. The fact is, there is now more peace and love than sadness and loss when I look at those stockings on our mantel. 


  1. I truly appreciated this, Joy. Like you, I have lost a child too. I carried him almost to term and then had to have an emergency C-section as the baby had numerous congenital defects. He only lived for a week. He would have been 17 years old last April. My daughter, Micah, wrote a letter to him recently saying how she wished he was here and that she feels her watching over her. As I read the letter my heart ached for him just like I ache for him now.

  2. Oh I am truly sorry, Abbie. The sense of loss can really be overwhelming esp when we try to imagine an alternate life. But I pray you still embrace the perfection of your life now and never ever feel alone and forgotten. People like you who understand what losing a child means have held my hand and embraced me, even virtually. I hope you accept my embrace back. God bless you. xoxoxoxox

  3. Sending love and light, Joy. I am certain this was a difficult post to write and your words and vulnerability will definitely help others experiencing the same emotions and grief.

    1. Thank you so much, Rudri. I open my heart to your blessings and wish you a blessed holiday season as well, my friend! xoxo


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