An old friend asked me the other day if I thought that my grief had worked itself out, since I was "back to normal". It always strikes me off guard when I see the way that we, as a society, view grief. That it is something work out... That it goes away... That our happiness or our "normalcy" is some sort of sign that we are all better. She was asking for legitimate reasons; she's lost a child to miscarriage and wants to know if, someday, she'll be better... If her grief will pass... That people will one day stop telling her to "get over it" because she will have.
Facebook is only good for so much; I'd love to reach out and give her a hug and tell her that, just over the horizon, her grief will be gone and she will be her old self. But the truth is, she won't be. That person is gone. She has been changed. She gets the choice of whether that is for better or for worse. I look at this girl... This pre-1st miscarriage girl, who was still a newlywed in love, and so happy, in spite of anything else.
In 1998, when these pictures were taken, I was between 150-165, weight wise. I was a freshman in college and, I'm sure, didn't eat well. This was pre-miscarriages, pre-dealing with infertility, pre-autoimmine and PCOS issues. I was happy, but I was so naive. I was barely 18 years old and, although I thought I'd lived (and while, in a lot of ways, I had), I had no idea what life had in store.
And then, I look at this woman...
This woman who was struggling with infertility and one miscarriage. Who thought that that worst thing life could throw at her was what she had already overcome. I was 24 and weighed about 220 by this point. It's crazy to think that, now, although I can see the fullness through the face... The tired smile that was still hopeful.
She moves into this woman.
I was 28... 3 miscarriages under my belt, 3 dead babies taken from my arms. 240 pounds. Smiling because I was told too... Smiling when I didnt want to... A smile that didnt quite go all the way up to the eyes.
And she's become this woman.
The me of today (well, of Sunday, actually). 180 pounds of me. 30 years old. A woman who is grateful for the life she has carried and is defined by their lives instead of their deaths... Who carries them all in her heart- a heart that is full and mended together through their love. The scars remain- they always will. They will always be just below the surface, ready to ache when the climate dictates. But, they are scars.
This woman smiles again- and means it. This woman has rediscovered joy- and realized that it was never truly gone, just hidden beneath layers of cold, worn hurt. This woman has found acceptance in the fact that she will never know why, but will know that... That these children chose me to be their mother; that I was given the blessing of having them grow inside me even if but for a moment; that I will always be theirs and they will always be mine; that one day, I will be reunited with them in that Great Divide where the souls of those we love wait for us.
I like her better, I think...
The knowing... The understanding... The life.
Do we one day work it out? Does the grief go away? Will she be back to normal? As I shook my head, I typed into the chat window. "No, you never are that person again. You're a mother now. You have a new normal, and, one day, that grief will become a part of you and you will smile again."
And she will... We all will.