A Quiet Journey Through Grief

Written by Kimberly Green
Messy Marriage Team Member
Daddy cuts the (knotted) cordThere seems to be a general acceptance when a couple has a baby … that the event is happening to both of them.

Dad’s “to be” attend birthing classes and “Hospital Maternity Tours,” and get the honor of cutting the umbilical cord.

Directly after the blessed event, family and well-wishers wait in anticipation of Dad emerging in his blue coaching scrubs to give details and stats. He receives congratulations and support in the form of texts, emails, cards, and pats on the back.
Admittedly, the woman does get significantly more attention during that time as well. A small consolation for chronic nausea, heartburn and the occasional hemorrhoid!
However, when something goes wrong with a pregnancy, the woman seems to remain the center of focus, as her husband is quietly pushed aside.
The year 2000 was not kind to Tony and me. In March, at a routine nine-week maternity appointment, I had to call my unsuspecting husband at work. I tearfully mumbled into the telephone that our precious baby had no heartbeat. After a moment of shocked silence, he said, “I’ll be right there”, and maneuvered the thirty miles of southern California traffic in record time to be by my side.
I went to my bed and sobbed in my grief and anger. He was left calling parents to herald the grim news. My heart broke open completely as I overheard the conversation Tony had to have with our young daughter—who was so keen on being a Big Sister—as he told her that “our Baby had gone to heaven.”
“But, Daddy, I wanted to take the Baby to Disneyland and ride on Dumbo.”
“I did too.”
And my beloved’s voice shaking with the pain of that phrase was the only time I had observed him to directly grieve.

He was 110% there for me and kept his feelings on the back burner.

I had surgery the following Monday. He kissed me on the head as they wheeled me into the O.R. He walked alone to the waiting room where his parents sat quietly comforting one another in their own grief. He did what he had to do to take care of me.
I re-entered society to hugs, sympathy, and a thousand people desperate to share their own stories of miscarriage in an attempt to encourage. He would return to his office where people avoided his gaze or leaned down close to whisper an awkward, quick, condolence and leave him to his thoughts.
In August, we repeated the process, but kept this pregnancy to ourselves. Sadly, once again we were left with no baby for our aching arms to hold and only crumbs of sympathy at our feet.
As a mother, I immediately dove head first into grief. But grieving took a detour for Tony. When it came, I didn’t recognize it for what it was and just thought he was being a jerk. It wasn’t until some friends went through a similar situation that Tony was able to connect the dots for himself and for me.
Looking back, we learned from this time that communication has to be deliberate and prioritized. We also learned that sometimes the journey just stinks. But as we’ve gone through the stinky parts and pain, we’ve seen that God can take our most heartbreaking losses, and use them to teach us to further trust Him and each other. And that consolation is truly a beautiful addition to our marriage.

Photo credit by andrechinn (Flickr)

Today’s Post is Linked to –
 
Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters
  • Christal

    as usual, wonderfully written and so much to remember about loving and living through life with our spouse. Thank you….

  • Heather C.

    Absolutely beautiful.

  • messymarriage

    This one really moved me, Kimberly! Thank you for sharing such vulnerable pages from your past. And you and Tony make a great team!

  • Kimberly

    Thanks Beth. I think the only reason we make a good team (aside from having a good coach) is that we have been through these sort of trials together. There are NO shortcuts, you can hear about successful relationships, but have to do the work to actually be in one!

  • Kimberly

    Thanks Heather!

  • Kimberly

    Thanks Christal. I think I sometimes take the fact that we are doing this together for granted.

  • Tony Green

    That is the truth right there; there are no shortcuts. Gotta go through the valleys… that’s where the lessons are found.

  • it’s good for me to read this. right now my sister-in-law is dealing with grief. she had a miscarriage at 12 weeks last summer. she is now 15 weeks pregnant and their are life threatening complications to the baby. so heartbreaking.

  • thank you so much for sharing your heart, kimberly. and your sentiments about the woman remaining the focus while the husband is quietly pushed aside, well, i experienced that to a very large degree when i was in the thick of a health crisis recently & my husband was the care-giver.

    people {whom i love dearly} would send me beautiful cards saying that they were praying for me. and they were usually addressed only to me. all the while my {hero} husband was carrying the entire weight of our family’s world on his shoulders . . .

    so i’ve thought recently about writing something like “10 ideas for loving on a friend in {health} crisis” & toward the top of my list would certainly be to reach out to the care giver in a big way. anyway, i know that was entirely different from your heartbreaking experience with grief, but it resonated with an aspect of my own journey, so i thought i’d share.

    indeed, sometimes the journey often does stink. but i am ever grateful that God is a beauty from ashes Father. like this evidence of beauty right here: “God can take our most heartbreaking losses, and use them to teach us to further trust Him and each other. And that consolation is truly a beautiful addition to our marriage.”

    blessings to you & your hero, kimberly. 🙂

  • Kimberly

    ! It is so hard to just enjoy the time of being pregnant because you are ALWAYS waiting for bad news- praying fervently it won’t come, but trying to manage your expectations. Best of hopes for your family, Carissa

  • Kimberly

    Thank you Tanya! we are blessed to have such heroes, though they would probably both shrink at being described as such. My hero learned well from his own father, who spent several years being the primary caregiver to his wife in her degenerative illness until she passed last summer. Care givers NEED support. What a wonderful subject for you to write about. Hope you are in good health now.