Dear Departed One
Does our society know how to relate with sadness, loss and heartbreak? Heartbreak is scary. We don’t like to feel loss and we don’t like to proclaim sadness, in part because we know nobody else knows how to deal either.
Today I am making a big decision: to be brave and come out to you. I have paused many times before hitting the “publish” button, but I want to share this with you: I had a miscarriage last week.
Most of you didn’t even know I was pregnant.
How do we relate with a miscarriage? It is not comfortable, it’s terribly sad and our society just doesn’t talk about it. I’m not going to pretend to tell you how to relate with it. But I am going to share that this thing happened to me, and this pain occurred in my family.
I could hide and pretend that this deepest of sadnesses had not penetrated my family. I could try to ignore this particular grief in the face of trying to be positive and helpful to you. But that would not be accurate. Covering over genuine experience is the opposite of what I am working so hard to help you do. So I can’t do that.
Since I did not have the option of burying anything, my offering is this letter. May my simple experience, therefore, be of benefit to you. May you read these words and know that I too have been in the throes of deep sadness, and yet, found I was able to ride the waves and allow the sadness to deepen me instead of breaking me. I have not died, but a piece of my heart will forever be broken and missing. Please share my message if you know other women and families that have experienced this.
My beautiful husband encouraged me to share this letter, which sums up my entire experience:
Dear Departed One,
You had such a tiny chance. You grew for only such a short time in my belly. It was such a short while to be your host and I felt that something was not quite right. This was not because I rejected you, no, I welcomed you and would have relished the opportunity to bloom with your growing, go through labor and birth you and spend the remainder of my life loving, nurturing and celebrating you. I would have cherished becoming your mother.
But something or some combination of things intervened and you were not to be, not to become. I feel that you ceased to become even before you had the chance for sentience. Perhaps, somehow, whoever you were to be decided now was not the right moment or I was not the right host.
I am both bereft and relieved. It cannot be one or the other. I am bereft of the honor and opportunity of loving you, and I am relieved that since you were not to be, I am unburdened.
What is it like for you? You who still float in transition, neither here nor there, nor anywhere in between. I do not believe who you could have been had already coalesced. You had not yet emerged as distinct, and so I do not mourn the loss of you so much as the loss of the potential of you. Whoever you were meant to be may yet still become. Or, the potential of you may linger closely tucked next to my heart for the remainder of my days as the unfulfilled promise of blooming. And I will long for the promise of you.
I will work to feel proud of my discerning body that made the choice my heart never could have. I will work to trust the wisdom of my body and to trust that one day I will bring another to fruition. But you, whoever you would have been, will always live inside of my broken heart.
Red is the color of my sadness.
Your loving mother,