Today is Avelyn’s due date. July 22nd.
I decided to walk to church this morning instead of driving with Mike and Olivia. A 30 minute walk that was the perfect time for me to think and pray and reflect. I wanted to be able to find a way to remember and honor Avelyn in a meaningful way today, and was struggling to come up with something that seemed right.
The Lord prompted me in two directions- one was to think through how we honor and reflect on any other holiday or “day of remembrance.” The two things I could come up with that seem pretty universal: eating food and telling stories.
The second direction was to ask a friend who also had a miscarriage later in pregnancy what she did. She responded that she actually found out she was pregnant again that day but if she hadn’t she probably would have blogged. She would have told her story.
Telling stories seems to be the universally human way to remember.
I’ve told Avelyn’s death-to-birth story before at stillbirthday.com. Hopefully it is an encouragement in some way to others who find themselves with a similar heartache. I know hearing others’ stories has been an encouragement to me. It helps my grief to not just be me-centered.
Telling and hearing stories also helps me to not forget. There are some things I’m sure we wish we could forget, or at least we wish we could have not lived through them. However, I have found that with each painful milestone- the passage of the date we would have found out the gender, seeing the growing “baby bumps” of friends, the announcement of new pregnancies, the birth of the first baby within Avelyn’s due date window, the passage of Avelyn’s actual due date, etc.- comes a new moment to stop and reflect. To stop and acknowledge the sadness and pain that I carry in my heart but that does not always have a chance to be acknowledged in the middle of life’s busyness.
Now that I stop to think about it, there is probably a never ending list of milestones and remembrances that cause me to bring to bear my hearts feelings about losing a baby. I can easily get swallowed in to a pit of self-despair and “why me’s?” and bitterness. But what if instead of just being some horrible trick of life, that is simply God’s way?
Perhaps God is gently poking and prodding that tender place over and over again, bringing to light new facets of my anger, sadness, grief, unbelief, etc. He is not allowing me to forget, because he’s not done with me yet. He’s not done moulding and fashioning me yet. He’s not finished sucking out the poison yet. I’m not made to be numb- I’m made to remember.
And I don’t ever want to forget this this life is an illusion. The beauty and joy and perfection we experience here is fleeting and temporary. It is a mirage of what is to come- not the end result. It is a reflection that is tailored to make our hearts long for something more. As one of my favorite singer/songwriters once penned: “You are the only solution. You are the only resolution.” I find that is my heart’s only response sometimes.
So with the passing of this milestone, I can only say that I hope that I truly remember well. That I don’t miss the opportunity to reflect and share and grieve and remember. To let the full weight of emotion come to bear. That is how I can best honor my sweet little angel baby- Avelyn Joy. Oh what it is to be human!