Thursday, 28 February 2013
Believe beyond grief
When I lost my first baby, my little boy who was born sleeping, there was a lot of anger and questions... My whole being screamed "No!" and "Why?"
Here are my reflections on grief and faith, and acceptance. I don't pretend to want to give answers to anybody. These are just the answers I found for myself and that I have been wishing to share for a while.
One significant moment surrounding the loss of my first baby was a prayer meeting in our parish. The text was about Jesus's death and the words He cried to His Father "My God! Why have you abandoned me?" When I read this I burst into tears. It was so much like what I was feeling at the time.
I then rediscovered something that is at the core of my faith : we are free. We are free to make choices, the most important one being to believe in God or not. I think that God, as our Father, does exactly what fathers do : letting their children being their own persons, making their own choices and mistakes, willing them to be healthy and unhurt but not having the means to guarantee it. The difference of course is that God would have the means to keep us healthy and unhurt, but then we would have to believe in him, if only the very old or wicked died... And I don't believe that God 'sends' us trials or 'lets' things happen to us. I believe that he gives us Life, the whole of it, the good and bad, and things in Life sometimes just happen. And He knows, because His own Son came to this life and suffered so much, and died so young too.
Good things though, Graces, Blessings, I believe He gives to us. For me it was a shooting star, the first flight of swans I ever saw, a little owl perched on a gate in the early morning, clouds that looked like a baby, a particularly beautiful sunset, a kind word from a stranger, a new friend.
Even believing this doesn't make it any easier to accept that your baby dies... But for me, it brought acceptance, eventually. I often thought that my babies who were born sleeping were born somewhere else. They were not born to this life but to Life with God and in a way accepting this was like labour : painful and long but if I accepted the pain and offered it to God, it would at least be lived with more peace. That's what happened when I lost my second son, 6 years after his brother. I had already accepted, or maybe I reached acceptance just then,. and instead of being kicking and screaming inside I just waited until it passed.
My second daughter went through a phase of wondering about death and being scared. What I told her is that yes every body dies at some point, lots of people when they are really old, like her great grandmother who was 99 (!) but then in our family we believe in God and we believe that we live forever with Him and all the people we have loved and lost, including her two brothers, and her great grandmother, and her guinea pig Fluffy!
And this is quite important too for me, the promise, or the hope, of EternalLlife. It's so very big, Eternity, and our lives are so very small compared to it, whether we live 100 seconds or a hundred years...