My daughter Margaret lost her baby today, early in her second trimester.
She and her husband John went to the doctor this morning, expecting to find out if they were having a boy or a girl. Instead they found out the baby no longer had a heart beat. They went home together and he held her while she cried.
I wish I could have held her too.
When I talked to her this afternoon, Andrew, 1, was putting French fries in his hair. Timothy, 3, had concluded everything was ok because they would see the baby in heaven some day.
But for John and Meg life is more complicated than that.
And so is death.
She says she spent part of the day in denial. But without a doubt realities have shifted. The baby had carved out a place in their lives and in their plans. It was not merely a miscarriage. Or just a fetus. It was a baby they had begun to love.
I had too.
I know they will try again. I know they will succeed. But in the meantime there is grief. A trip to the hospital later this week. Awkward conversations. Unplanned silences. Unanswered questions.
When it happened to our friend Terri she wrote about that secret society of others who had experienced the same loss: “We didn’t drink or smoke or experiment with heroin– we were good and took our vitamins and walks and carefully chose our produce and monitored our every move and bite and thought.”
And even though we know there is a reason, she said, none of those on which we speculate is very satisfying, although they are all important.
I’ve lived long enough to know that John and Meg don’t need my advice or speculation. Yours either.
They need our prayers and our love, though.
We can give them that.
And then? Simple gifts, Terri said after her own loss. Measured in laughter and hugs.
Because such grace is necessary.