It is always easier not to feel.
Some days, even weeks, I am entirely numb, knowing I lost you but unable to feel a thing—no love, no loss, no tears. Then comes a day when it all breaks over me. And afterwards I get up and clean my house again and cook supper for my family.
I am getting good at loving people I cannot keep. When someone says to me “How many children do you have?” I do not know what to say.
There is one I loved who never belonged to me, and another whose eyes fill my mind, though I only see him once a week. There are three precious ones who were born to me, loved and nurtured while days turned into years. There is another I’ve loved for five months and will never forget. There is one baby with Jesus, and another whom I prepared for and gave a name to but never met, and another we pray for every night, who has not yet been. There are nine nieces and eleven nephews whom I love more than I thought possible, and more on the way, and more in heaven. There are children of friends and colleagues passing through my home every week, children whom I love like mine while they are here. There are little strangers whose pictures hang on my refrigerator because I love their mothers.
These names I say in my mind, these faces I hold in my heart. I do not know how many children I have. What does “have” mean?
My heart is not whole anymore. But you are in it as long as I live. This is what is true, though you feel irretrievably gone, passed clean out of this world into another where I cannot follow. I will never hold you in this life. My own body betrayed me, dropped this precious thing I intended to carry, dropped it down down down
You were a gift in a circle, from God’s heart to my body to God’s heart. I learned to wail like David, a song I never hoped to sing. My son, oh my son, my son.
I have rarely found God when I screamed into the sky (though I have done this many times in my life), but when, after my grief and outrage are spent, I turn to see Him standing at my elbow. He is always quiet then, and His eyes are steady. There are tears on His face.
I lost my Son too. I love more children than I can keep.
He is not up there somewhere dealing out pain to humanity. He is here in flesh at the grave, weeping, ready to speak the resurrection words.
I am learning that belonging to God does not spare me deep sorrow, loss, and pain. I am human—not immune to suffering, not held in a bubble of calm in a world of injustice, but allowed like Christ to pass through anguish. Love is the only thing that redeems, and love cannot live in this world without being wrenched on a rack.
But you? You are forever safe, forever loved.
God does not have to explain Himself to me, nor I to you. You have passed into the realm where questions meet the Answer, and all explanations are behind you. You are my rich gift of God—this is the name we gave you. I hold to Him in hope, and to you, though it does nothing to dissolve the pain.
We are loved, little son of God.
Thank you for your kind words when I told you I lost a baby. It means something to me to know you care, though I dare not wallow in your sympathy. I would prefer this, especially if you have lost a pregnancy of your own—please tell me what comfort you found most precious then, what truth God planted in your heart, how someone loved you. Next time I will take my turn, and share what has been most healing for me.