To Bend and Not Break

In the two and a half months since my loss, I’ve combed my mind and heart for ways to heal. After weeks of crying, I lifted myself back up into the world, still feeling a horrifying emptiness in my heart, but determined to go on.
I trudged through my days, and in my quiet reflective moments, I sought out ways to feel connected to my unborn child, taken away from me, ways to feel connected to myself, to my loss, to the powers that may be. I looked for ways to feel validated and to achieve some sort of closure. I’ve always had a bit of a confused sense of spirituality, steered towards what feels right in moments of need and desperation, clinging to rituals that strike a chord with my own heart. In the time since my loss, in a search for calm, I indulged in countless ways to heal, searching for that moment of solace, that activity that might allow me to feel less broken.

I chatted online incessantly with other mothers who lost babies (I still do.)

I plucked rose petals from our bushes outside, scattered them in the wind, and said her name, Lily.

I counted beads on my Mala bracelet, saying prayers for healing

I pressed petals from flowers I received in condolence into the pages of a 1976 encyclopedia

I drew and sketched for days on end, pouring my soul through ink, trying to find answers under my pen.

A sketch for Lily

A sketch for Lily

I lit candles and watched the flickering light reflect on my statue of Kwan Yin, goddess of compassion and mercy, and incidentally, ‘bringer of children’, said to guide the souls of newborns.

I wrote and wrote, retelling my story to myself, slaving over the ugly details in an effort to desensitize my heart to the wounds inflicted.

I walked, out in the fields, in the wind and sun, sending prayers to the heavens

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I did yoga in the grass, breathing deeply, seeking connection to myself.

I wore (and still wear) a necklace with a firefly, recalling seeing the glittering bugs outside my window the night we lost her.

I canoed on calm waters, paddle slowly trailing through mountain lakes, breathing deeply of cold glacial air, searching for a sense of peace out in the wild.

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I closed my eyes and sent out thoughts of love and hope, listening for some kind of reply, perhaps even making up my own.

I prayed, tearfully on my knees

I prayed quietly in my bed

I spoke out loud to the sky

I spoke out loud to friends

I hung bells in my window, in honor of her, hoping the tinkling sounds on the breeze could bring her back to me from time to time.

I ran.

I drank wine and indulged myself with luxurious frivolity.

I said her name to myself, in quiet moments alone.

I said, out loud, through tear glazed eyes, to the breeze and the sun, Goodbye.

Today, I sat outside in the green grass, the sun casting out heat upon me. I curled up with a cat and a book, immersing myself in words, as I’ve always done, good days or bad. I listened as the wind picked up, swirling throughout the sky, fingers combing through the trees. I watched the branches wave and sway, yielding to the pressure of the air. The trees curved and leaned low, wind pushing against them.

And I felt peace. Even just a little bit. Even just for a moment. Without performing some ritual, without clamoring for substance, without looking for it, I felt peace.

I felt at ease. I felt safe. I felt strong. I watched the trees dancing in the wind, and I thought, I have pushed and pushed back upon grief, this force so much stronger than me. I have scratched at the earth, searching for answers. I have writhed and convulsed at the strength of grief’s power. I have let it twist me and shape me, it has bent me down low, my soul curved enough to kiss the ground. But I haven’t been broken.

I have learned to live under its strength, to coexist. I have grown flexible, adapting to survive. I stretch my arms out, my heart out to the open, to the howling winds, as the trees dance and weave, and I know now that I can bend without breaking.

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8 Responses to To Bend and Not Break

  1. Kate says:

    What a beautifully written post. You truly captured the emotional experience of grief and climbing back from it.

    All our efforts are a beautiful tribute to your little girl.

    Eloquently and sensitively written. Gorgeous.

    My prayers go out to you for your continued healing. You are on your way.

    It will get better.

    Hugs.

  2. amourningmom says:

    Beautiful post. I wish that we did not have to bend so much. It is amazing what we humans can endure. I said to anyone who would listen after Jake died that if I have another child die before me then just bury me too. The next year we had the twins and a few years later Sawyer. At 6 weeks old Sawyer died and I am still here. Sending you hope and hugs.

    • CGsaysstuff says:

      Thank you,
      My heart aches for your story and the loss of your two children. I am glad you were able to find the strength to carry on and find hope after such painful losses.
      Hugs and hope back to you, and I hope you can keep hanging on until things finally get easier.

  3. CG, your blog literally reads like the lines of my heart. I just cry and cry and cry. You are such a beautiful soul. Before my husband and I started trying for a baby, a friend of mine said to me, Lauren, it’s its almost a duty for you to reproduce and bring forth children into this world. Thus world is filled with so much evil and hate, those who bring beauty and love to this world have a duty to share that love with offspring and make this world a better more beautiful place.” As I read your words, I extend the same advice to you. People with beautiful souls like you are meant to share those, through blogs and words and art and children. You will have children, because the world has a need for your love and light to shine on long after you are gone. I’m so thankful you found me. Because now, I’m climbing out of my cocoon and I’ve found you.

    • CGsaysstuff says:

      Lauren,
      Your comment left me speechless and near tears. What lovely things to say, thank you so much for your kind words.
      Many of the things you’ve written in your blog have struck such a chord with me, too, and your loss and pain are heartbreaking. I hope you are healing and that things get a little better each day, and I am so glad we’ve been able to make this connection. Hopefully our words will help to heal one another.
      Contact me anytime.
      Hugs 🙂

  4. Roberta says:

    As someone who has experienced the utter devastation of miscarriage six times…and then at the age of 42, somehow miraculously (without the help of technology which we couldn’t have afforded anyway) became pregnant with # 7 who turned 15 in May, I wish I could reach through this computer screen and give you a big hug. I’m NOT going to say “See, it happened to me 6 times and LOOK! I have a 15 year old son!” because even to this day I still think about my babies who were and then were not. You are so right–people say really stupid things in an effort to–not comfort YOU, but instead to make THEMSELVES more comfortable. At least for me at my “advanced maternal age” there was little to no chance that “I could always have another”.

    I think it should be a law to put a big colorful leaflet inside every home pregnancy test that says something to the effect of:

    If this test indicates you are pregnant: be aware that 25% of pregnancies are miscarried. You may want to hold off on telling the world you saw 2 pink lines on the stick. Not everybody gets a happily ever after.

    Some of the things that went through my mind during that 3 year period were–crack addicts and 14 year old girls pop out babies like nobodys business and here I am, time after time, conceiving but for some unknown reason losing my child. Its not fair. And it isn’t fair. For any of us.

    But I wanted to tell you how much this particular post touched my heart. You have a special gift for writing. Know that.

    • CGsaysstuff says:

      Thank you so much, This comment is so lovely, and truly does give me hope. I am so sorry for your losses, I cannot imagine the pain you must have felt, not to mention with the addition of insensitive comments from others. That being said, it’s wonderful to know you have a ‘rainbow’ child now.
      I accept your cyber hug with open arms, it warms my heart to hear your words, thank you for sharing them with me.

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