I woke up this morning and in minutes, had tears spilling down my cheeks as I laid in bed, body still aching from last week’s ordeal. A couple days ago, I felt that I wanted to do something positive in memory of the babies we’d lost. So I started the ball rolling, and perhaps, if it rolls out the way I hope it does, I’ll share with you what I will be doing in part to help others who may trod this path that Flo and I did (as much as we wish no one else will), as well as to aid us on this continual process of healing.
In the email reply that had me touched beyond words, the lady I’d contacted had shared with me a bit of writing of Henri Nouwen. It read:
“Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country to dies… the pain of the leaving an tear us apart.
Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.“
In the last weeks, I had some days where I’d wake up feeling hollow inside. The emptiness of loss screams so loud, that it echoes against the chambers of my heart. I go through countless ‘what ifs‘, knowing that none of them will ever give me an answer as to why we lost our children. There are also days when everything feels surreal, as though I had never fallen pregnant, as though our triplets were merely a figment of my imagination, a haze of a dream.
It is true what Henri Nouwen wrote though. “…if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving we will never experience the joy of loving…”. I can be comforted in knowing that our babies were loved immensely the moment we knew of their existence. We, along with our family, loved them greatly without seeing them. Our friends added generous dollops of love on top. To say that our triplets were blessed is an understatement. I believe they were blessed above and beyond most. The joy we experienced in watching them grow and develop over the weeks, and being able to enjoy them while on our holiday, added to the beautiful memories we were accumulating with them right until the end.
The suffering as a result, the feeling of utter loss and despair, is therefore natural and unavoidable. We love, and as a result, we suffer. That doesn’t mean we stop loving. It means that we continue to love, despite knowing that there will be pain that comes with losing. Flo and I knew there were possible risks and complications involved with a triplets pregnancy, but we decided that we would let the babies have the chance to grow and not interfere with what God had given us. So while we never imagined they would be taken away from us so prematurely, there was no saying that everything would have been guaranteed to be smooth sailing.
In a funny way, there is a comfort amidst all the pain and suffering. In feeling the sadness of it all, there is also knowledge that we feel this way only because we loved, and still love, fiercely. For once since a long time in my life, I realise that it’s ok to feel sad, it’s ok to cry, it’s ok that my heart feels heavy some days, it’s totally ok to sit with those feelings because they only serve as a reminder that it was only because I have the privilege of experiencing the joy of loving that I now feel the hurt of loss. It doesn’t mean we should stop loving, because what would life be without the happiness, laughter, and memories that come with it?
I don’t believe that we will ever get over our babies going to heaven way before us. That’s only because we will never forget them, and we will always miss their presence even though their absence may far outlive the time they had on earth very quickly. I do believe though, that things will continue to get better. And we will move forward. Even as we build the family we dream of in the future, there will always be a place for them in our hearts. And the memories of and with them, the warmth of having had them growing within me, the love we feel for them, will overcome all that we are feeling now.