After I finished writing last night, I called Steven in to read the entry. “Does it make sense?” I asked.
“That’s where we’re at,” he said. “It makes sense to me.”
“Should I push the button?” I asked. He nodded, so I published it. And then I started to have doubts. It was, as I call it, “vomit on a page.” It was my stream of thoughts, spilled onto the screen, and mostly unedited. A little fragmented, disjointed, foggy… but then again, I am my worst critic. As I wrote it, I fought the urge to take out the parts that could sound illogical or confusing or frustrated. I left it ragged for the bereaved mother who, maybe a few years from now, will stumble upon my words, and be comforted in her own similar grief. I wrote it because I want the next mother blessed with a baby like Sam to know that it’s OK to be raw in her grief. I want her to know that it’s OK to be angry like this. I want her to know how big God is for me, that He will be that for her, even as her thoughts are screaming and crying like mine, and she’s realizing how devastated she is and even was before all of this happened.
Today was a day filled with tears for me. My little home has never felt so glaringly empty. Solace highlighted Sam’s absence. I had plenty of work to do, but very little mental capacity to do much more than scrub whatever had dirt on it. So, that’s what I did. I scrubbed whatever had dirt on it. I filled a bucket with soapy water, and walked around the house, wringing out the rag, watching the water drip back into the bucket like tears, and scrubbing. Floors… baseboards… walls… Wringing, sudsing, crying, praying over and over, “I hurt… I hurt… I hurt…” Outside, the March wind was blowing in like a lion, as they say, and I knew it was what my heart looked like in that moment–the battle between winter and spring. The tears felt like scrubbing out a wound. Painful, but good. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed, knowing the cleansing was just beginning.
I came to the bathroom, and found evidence of the “battle scene”… tiny spatters of blood on the wall from the day Steven called an ambulance for me. The EMTs had cleaned most of it up… my mother came in a few days later and cleaned what they’d missed… and here I am, one month later, cleaning up the final residue of trauma. Maybe it’s morbid to tell. Maybe it’s not what I ought to talk about, but I’m talking about it. I winced when I first saw it, and I cried because that day was the beginning of the end. But then, as I scrubbed, it felt like healing, to remember that it really had happened, to bring it to the front of my mind so that I could wrap it up and keep it in a safe place in my memory. Healing isn’t rainbows and puffy clouds. It’s washing blood off the walls.
Steven came home this evening, and I could see in his eyes that he was weary. One guy at work asked how we were. No one had told him we had lost Sam. Steven told him how big he was, how we held him. “I’ve never had to face emotions like this,” Steven told me after he had recounted his day. Emotions like these are difficult for anyone. But especially for guys.
Emotions are worth facing, we decided, because when you face them, you share them, and you help others heal as they watch you heal. I told Steven about my friend whose miscarriage I had accidentally found out about. She’d been very private about it, very emotionally controlled. This whole time, I’ve wished she would let me watch her heal, to gain wisdom for my own healing, but she forfeited this in favor of emotional control. What she has is less messy than risking offending her readers by writing about cleaning blood off the walls like I have, but the mess is cleansing in the end. We’re all devastated, after all. We’ve all got blood on the walls.
So, day one of “back to life” is down. Many, many more days ahead. The world is spinning underneath us at breakneck speed, and we’re moving about as fast as molasses. But that’s grief, and you can’t skip this part to get to spring. This is the part that makes spring so pretty. The blustering wind… the rain… the cold and warmth battling… then, what we’re all waiting for: Redemption.