Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Good Grief

My husband and I had a long talk last night when we got home from work, about God and plans and purposes. We also talked about grief. I've always equated "grief" with death, but there's much more to it than that. Even within death, there's so many different levels. For instance, I grieved so much more when my cat died a few years back than when my grandmother died the very next year. Part of it was circumstances. My cat, who I dearly loved, died in a horrible accident. My grandmother, on the other hand, died peacefully in her sleep at age 94. I cried every night for a month for my cat, but I only cried for five minutes at my grandmother's funeral, and those were actually tears of joy remembering her great life.

But grief can be felt for things other than death. Every month, I think that I am okay with the infertility thing, but every month, I break down and sob for awhile also. Last night, talking about my friend's surprise pregnancy, I asked Jason, "What is wrong with me? I should be used to this, by now." He said, "No, you shouldn't. You are in the middle of grieving a part of your life. Every fresh sting shows you where you are really at in the struggle." It's true. It's not the middle of the cycle that tells me where I am at, regarding my infertility. It's when my period comes that I really find out. And I'm not okay. I am not even close to being done grieving. And every time that someone announces their pregnancy, it's another reminder that I might not get "what I want."

Maybe grief isn't just about losing something, maybe it's also about realizing that something may never be yours to begin with. Before we ever started trying to conceive, I still got a little jealous when other women told me that they were pregnant. Even though we weren't even trying yet! I was envious of their happiness. But I can honestly say that I had absolutely no clue what infertility would feel like. It's entirely different when you try everything you can and get your hopes up month after month after month, only to sit staring at a negative pregnancy test every time. You ask "why?" and have no answer. You start wondering if God has muted your prayer channel. That's grief, baby.

I read a book once called "Ambiguous Loss." It was about the most difficult of losses, and there are two types: One) presence is felt, body is gone (such as a soldier who is MIA.) Two) body is there, presence is gone (like Alzheimer's disease.) I'm not saying that what I am going through is anything as bad as those two examples, but I think that I can relate. I am missing something that wasn't even there in the first place. What is so difficult about these types of grieving is that there is no real end in sight. Those families might never find their son's body, the Alzheimer patient may live on for years and years. And I might not ever have a baby.

I asked Jason, "When do I become okay with this? When do I finally accept God's will for my life?" I guess I'll know when the month comes that doesn't produce this awful pain in my heart. I'm not there yet. Grief is a process, I guess.


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