Monday, February 14, 2011

Grace and Grief

For the last several days I've been thinking about miracles. Two posts over at Segullah, here and here, tell moving stories about miracles in daily lives--and about one miracle that wasn't as expected (involving the death of a beloved son). Yesterday, in one of those odd confluences (that are probably less coincidence than tender mercies), we talked about some of the miracles of Christ. I was overwhelmed initially reading the lesson about the love and grace of those individual miracles; I was also moved by the teacher, who spoke of losing her daughter and the miracles that surrounded that death (specifically, that she was able to do what was necessary). The message I took away from all of these stories was this: God is always with us, but that does not always mean that he will protect us from the things we fear (pain, heartache, death). (This talk, given almost ten years ago by Lance Wickman, expresses that sentiment so well: "but if not . . ."; but if God does not protect us, we will still have faith, we will still move forward.)

In some ways, perhaps all this thinking was preparing me for something I would, frankly, just as well not have gone through. Last night, I experienced some signs that I might be miscarrying (a gush of clear fluid, bleeding). At 15+ weeks, this was not a good sign. Our faithful neighbor came over and helped my husband give me a blessing: among other things, my husband promised me that I would be safe, that God loved me. And I felt that love--I think it helped carry me through what followed. We also talked briefly, after the blessing, about grace--about how we, as Mormons, don't often talk about grace enough. But last night, in that blessing, I felt the touch of grace, of God.

Not too long afterward, we found ourselves in the ER. After some time of uncertainty and waiting, one of the techs took us for an ultrasound, where we saw confirmed what we had already suspected: no fetal movement; almost no amniotic fluid. Still, it was a wrench, that moment when I had to finally give up on the hope I almost didn't realize I was still clinging too. (My husband had very pointedly *not* mentioned the baby in his blessing; he said afterward that he felt that he couldn't.) The nurse told us afterward that the baby had probably died some days earlier, that the body was already starting to deteriorate when we came in. In other words, there is nothing we could have done.

I know miscarriages are nothing new; I know many women have them--some women have many of them. Still, this was my first; being wheeled into the bright operating room was disorienting and frightening. But we survived. We came home to a night of little sleep, and in the morning the sight of my children's faces--my two healthy children--reminded me again that I*am* loved, that God is aware of me, even if that awareness does not protect me as I had hoped. Thus this day, and this post-a curious sense of grace commingled with grief.

(I realize this is quite personal, but few enough people read this blog as to make it almost private--and this needed to be recorded while it was still fresh).


  1. I'm so sorry! I love you lots and you're all in my prayers!

  2. Oh, Rosalyn--I'm so sorry. My heart goes out to you.

  3. I'm so sorry, Rosalyn, for your loss. I can't even begin to imagine the sorrow you must be feeling. I am so glad you were able to find comfort in the Lord's grace and mercy.

    For what it's worth, it's been during the times of my most intense pain that I've felt God's grace most explicitly--in part, I think, because I've been so powerless to do anything to salve my own wounds.

    As I've mentioned a close friend's boyfriend passed away recently. Talking with her shortly after his death, she told me how good she'd felt about moving forward with their relationship when she'd prayed about it a few months earlier. "Why did God tell me," she asked, "to move forward if He knew Matt would pass away?" I pointed out that God doesn't seem to have the slightest interest in sparing us pain--the whole experience of living inside a physical body and being mortal guarantees pain. It seems odd to think of it now, but that exchange brought a light-hearted moment, and a break in the tears in favor of a knowing smile.

    You'll be in my prayers. Love you!

  4. I'm so sorry to read about this. I hope you are feeling better and finding peace. And please give our love to Dan.