Monday, July 13, 2009

A Deeper Understanding

I got my reply from Dr. C the other day. I have been unable to post since. His response to receiving Calvin's book was so beautiful and heartfelt that I have been utterly emotional since reading his email. Dr. C said that he intends to read the book cover to cover as soon as he can, but in opening it and seeing the pictures and reading our words, the grief of losing Calvin hit him all over again and was as strong as the day our son died. He said that grief has no memory of a past ache or pain, that something can invoke that grief to rear up as strong and as fresh as it was yesterday. It made total sense to me. Of course it does, that's why I feel like I am getting better than all of a sudden something will happen and I am paralyzed in my emotions and feeling just as fucked up as the day our son died. His insight gave me a deeper understanding to where I am going in this mad journey, that it is small steps forward in victory and then standing still in surrender.

One of my fellow blog friends Catherine talked about fighting it, fighting the grief, the pain, the acceptance. I know exactly what she meant by that post because I am there fighting too. I don't want to accept that my son is dead, somedays I feel like I can't accept it. I can't stand the pain so I get angry at it and angry at myself for crying and feeling sad. I get angry at God and fate and everything around me. I am a warrior facing down my nemesis, looking the pain in the eyes and daring it to take me down again. Of course I would be silly to think that I could defy the sadness and walk away from this whistling a merry tune, that just doesn't happen. Perhaps I should just surrender in those moments and feel every drop of the pain until it dissipates enough for me to carry on again. I think that in reading Dr. C's email, that I have had some light shed on my path, a light that I couldn't previously see. Something that my husband has said for months too is starting to make more sense to me. He said "It's not a matter of acceptance, it's a matter of learning to live with it." I think they are both right. I think that if I continue to battle against acceptance that I will continue to have dark moments in my belief system, moments that won't let me believe that my son is in Heaven with God. I can't accept that God would take my beautiful son away from me, that someone so good and kind could just stand back and watch my baby die. I think if I just surrender to the pain, surrender to learning to live with it that maybe I can allow myself to believe that my son is in a beautiful more perfect place than I could ever imagine. That he is beautifully whole in God's grace and that he will be waiting for me to see him again when it's my turn to die. Truthfully, there have been too many "coincidences" in our journey of grief for me to continue to fight believing. First, there was Dr. C and Dr. S. I wholeheartedly believe that Shane and I were led to them specifically because of our personality types. Shane instantly felt a bond with Dr. S and I felt that bond, that comfort with Dr. C. Then there was Sid, the wonderful retired pastor who performed Calvin's funeral service. When we went to the funeral home to have our first meeting with him to discuss funeral arrangements, the first thing he said to us was "I'm a twin". Because of his own twin connection, he was able to truly give a firsthand account about the bond between twins, and he truly felt for our family because he could relate. He told us about how his brother wasn't doing well and how much it worried him that he could possibly lose him. He hurt for us.

So many beautiful people walked with Shane and I along the road of our grief. Some only a short way, some have walked with us the distance. Each person has contributed something towards our healing in some way. For our short walk with Dr. C, he has made a huge impact in our lives. I have wondered for months now what made this special man tick. How he could genuinely care for his patients, especially when some of them died. I wondered how he could continue to give to the parents of his little patients, how he could continue to have compassion after seeing all that he has seen in his work. I imagined that dealing with illness and death all the time would eventually harden you, how can you continue to have your heart broken day in and day out and still want to come to work and give all of yourself? I found my answer at the bottom of Dr. C's email to us. Dr. C has lost a child too. My heart broke when I read those words. But now I understand what makes him such a great doctor and such a kind man. And now I know for sure that God put him in our lives for a reason, and also us in his life. We walk this journey together but separately, offering what we can to the other. Who knew we'd find beauty in the most painful experience of our lives?


  1. Margaret, we've met people through ... along our journey. One of them was our funeral director (undertaker), Andrew. A lovely man, probably a few years older than us. After we buried Freyja, he told us that he and his wife had lost two children, both around the 20 week mark. They are fortunate enough to also have three healthy, living children. He was there when we buried Kees too. He spoke very eloquently at Kees' funeral. He shed tears. This didn't surprise me at all -- after all, he'd gone through this with his children, he knew our pain. But others were surprised, because they didn't know. They don't know the pain of losing a child. They don't know how we struggle with our anger and pain on a daily basis, so that we can learn to live with it.

  2. Acceptance is something I still struggle with and although I try for it, it eludes me often. I'm so glad you found some people along the way who made this journey a little easier. What would we do without them? xo

  3. Dr. C sounds very wise. I am glad that he, and Dr. S, and Sid were with you and your family. I am so sorry that Dr. C lost his child and that Sid was so worried about his twin.

    Sometimes I think that Shane is right, that I don't think it is so much about acceptance. Personally, I don't think that I will ever accept Georgina's death. But sometimes I think that my reaction is purely based on the fact that the word 'acceptance' sounds too much like 'agreement'? Or surrender?

    I used the phrase 'live with the experience' on another post and Tash responded with this, "that you won't necessarily 'live with the experience', that in and of itself will fade around the edges. And you'll learn to live around the aftermath, it will just become subsumed in who you are." I've thought about it long and hard ever since.

    Perhaps that is actually what I am aiming at. To subsume Georgina's death within myself, in who I am. Geesh. I just don't know.

    Thinking of you Margaret. xx

  4. What a wise and wonderful man Dr. C sounds like. I am so glad that you have had him along your journey. You're right about finding the beauty in people on such a horrendous ride. It's so nice and comforting to know that they are out there and are willing to walk with us every step of the way.


  5. It is so very hard to accept something so unnatural. My husband always tells me our children are not meant to leave before us. That is not the natural order of the universe. Losing a child is just not right!!!