When we lost our baby two months ago, I thought that was the most painful thing I would ever feel, that nothing would ever top it. I thought that if we lost another baby it might hurt more, but I wasn’t convinced another loss would necessarily be worse than the first.
As many in our life know, our loss really shook up our faith life. It was hard to think about coming into the Church during such a dark period. I didn’t know what to do. You see, P is already Catholic, so he could fall back into autopilot mode and step away from all the extras, but I wasn’t there yet. I couldn’t receive the Eucharist or find comfort in it, yet.
During this time, a woman sought me out. She had lost a baby just a few months prior and was also making this journey into the Catholic Church. I will never forget as she stood there holding my hand so tightly that my fingers hurt, as she hugged me while I cried — a woman I barely knew. She said to me, “Maybe God put me here so I could help you through this.” How can I forget that? Over the weeks, we’ve grown closer. I still know very little about her, she about me, but I feel connected to her. I share a bond with this woman.
So when she pulled me aside a few days before Easter and told me, “I’m pregnant! Please, pray for me,” I couldn’t help but squeal with joy for her and her family. She was getting her rainbow baby.
She was obviously scared, but so happy, too. As word got out around the church, we all prayed for her and her baby. I was so happy that this Thanksgiving she would have a new baby in her arms.
I’m sure by now you’ve figured out where I’m going with this, since I keep saying “was” and “were.”
On Tuesday, I went in to volunteer, and I saw her name on the schedule. At first, I was excited, I hadn’t seen my friend since Easter. But I didn’t recognize the acronym next to her name. I asked one of the nurses and when she told me, I felt as if the whole world came crashing around my shoulders. I always thought that was a silly phrase, but I finally understand it. The heartbreak was instant. There was no build up like when we lost our baby, no easing into the loss.
As I waited for her to arrive, she was due in for her appointment any minute now, I didn’t know if I should hide from her or let her know I was there and hadn’t stopped praying for her since I found out. Praying that maybe there was some mistake, that everything was actually fine.
I spent probably thirty minutes of the two hours she was in the clinic just holding her tight, just like she did when I miscarried. I had no idea what to tell her, since there are no words to make this pain go away. But I am glad I didn’t hide from her, that she had a shoulder to cry on while she waited.
I remember someone telling me once how our loss was a loss for the entire community, and I remember thinking, “This is our loss, not yours. I don’t want to hear this.” As time went on, I understood the concept a little better. I knew that others were hurting, and I knew others had been praying for for us through our pregnancy. I understood that there was a loss of hope for the little life growing inside me. But, man, knowing those things didn’t even remotely prepare me for the shocking pain that came when I found out about my friend and her baby.
I can only hope that I am able to help her as much as she helped me.
So, my friends, if you could me a favor, I would really appreciate it. Pray for peace. Please pray that all bereaved mothers and fathers find peace in their losses. That they are able to live without fear. Pray for all parents and expectant parents, that no one else may ever know the pain of losing a child or baby.