Anyone who has wanted to buy a car understands this strange phenomenon: You had only seen this car once or twice and you fell in love with it. You bought it and now everywhere you look you see it. It’s as if someone sent out a message to go buy this car and now everyone has it! But maybe those cars have been there all along and it is only now that you are aware. Fresh eyes see a fresh perspective.
Loss is much the same. I’m certainly not comparing the loss of a loved one to a car but it is only after you have experienced loss that you are able to see loss with fresh eyes. Easter 2007, I was pregnant with Callie and my family had all come to our church for Easter Service. A young single girl in the congregation approached me and asked if I wanted to take some baby items from her co-worker. She proceeded to tell me the story of her co-worker whose baby was born without a skull and passed away. They didn’t want any reminders of the baby and just wanted to get rid of the stuff. It was really an awkward encounter and I remember just feeling very sorry for this couple. It was tragic. After the service we went to lunch and my sister brought up the situation again and encouraged me not to worry about it. It is so rare. I honestly wasn’t worried. I honestly didn’t give a second thought that it would happen to me. I remember holding the baby in my belly a little tighter that day….but I never thought I would join that club, just 3 months later.
Until I experienced it, I don’t even think that I knew about stillbirth. Everything can change overnight. Unfortunately. One day you are the glowing, pregnant woman and the next you are the “poor girl who lost her baby.” The awkward run-ins with people who didn’t hear…..”Oh! Did you have your baby?!!” Returning the baby stuff and explaining to unsympathetic clerks without losing your composure. Having your milk come in, and then eventually drying up leaves you with the realization that your last connection with your baby is gone. Seeing babies. Everywhere you look. Those clothes and strollers and car seats……all those things in the patterns you had picked out for your baby. Your whole world makes you half sick.
But one day, when you are in a different place emotionally, and everything isn’t so fresh and raw, you realize you have new eyes. Now everywhere you turn you see hurting people. You hear stories of loss. You meet people who have experienced loss. In another life you would have been saddened by these stories, but now that you have experienced this, you empathize on a whole new level. You have a bond and a connection that others would not understand. I am a shy person and don’t typically strike up conversations with random people, but I can talk to people about loss.
I have chosen to see my loss of Callie as an opportunity. I see the opportunity to reach out to hurting people in an effort to help. I don’t know if it ever works but I want to try. This doesn’t just apply to loss. Think of any situation you encounter—divorce, job loss, cancer, abortion—think of the good you can do to help others through similar situations. Maybe if we all see with fresh eyes the hurting hearts that surround us we can truly transform our world. Until then I will continue to share Callie’s story in hopes that it touches someone on just the day she needs it!
Blessings to you friends!