I have taken a long retreat from writing in this public space. I have done a lot of writing in my head and in my heart, but have not felt inclined to share it. The past year was one full of grief, love, fear, and hope. I think I just felt too vulnerable to share many of my feelings out loud.
I have spent a lot of time pondering specific verses in Ecclesiastes 3 about time.
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven...
A time to cry and a time to laugh...
A time to grieve and a time to dance...
A time to tear and a time to mend...
A time to be quiet and a time to speak...
God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.
(verses 1, 4, 7, and 11)
Our openness about our beautiful and heartbreaking journey with William brought our family a level of love and support we could never have imagined. It is very clear to me that the time that I carried William was a time to speak. After we said goodbye, I needed time to be quiet.
To grieve. To cry. To mend.
As the months passed after William died, I found that grief takes various shapes and forms. I had trouble making decisions, being productive, and being emotionally available to the people in my life.
I would go to the grocery store and stand in front of the shelf as the minutes passed. What kind of pasta should I buy? What package of paper towels is the best deal? I had so much trouble making simple decisions.
I would sit at the kitchen table with a long list of people to thank for the kindness, donations, meals, and gifts we had received from so many. I would hold the pen in my hand and try to find the words to write. My sadness felt paralyzing. I just could not complete simple tasks.
I could not go to certain social gatherings, especially baby showers. I wanted so much to be there for the friends and the family I loved, but it was just so hard to be emotionally available when I was in so much pain.
When we decided to move forward with attempting to have another child, I was fragile. Losing William left my heart wounded and sore. When we received the miraculous news that our second IVF had worked and I was once again pregnant, fear and hope overcame me.
I was still grieving so heavily, but in the quiet moments I found myself whispering to God, Is my time to dance coming? Is it time to laugh again?
Time continued to pass and I found that I noticed the sun again. I felt the warmth of hope and the promise of happiness returning. The waters of grief began to recede. I felt less and less like I was drowning and gasping for air. It didn't hurt to breathe anymore.
It is now over a year since I held William...since I handed him over at the hospital, knowing I would never see him again on this side of Heaven...since I knelt in the grass at the cemetery wondering if I could truly go on without him here with me. And although the tears are falling as I write this, I can often speak of him without tears. In fact, I often speak of him with a smile now.
God has used the love of our friends and family, the birth of our daughter, and the passage of time to methodically mend the scattered pieces of my heart. I'm able to see the beauty of the seasons I've lived through.
My season with William, my season of grief...the long season of pregnancy with our daughter, her days as a newborn...there has been beauty all along. Sometimes painful beauty, the kind that refines. Sometimes beauty filled with joy and dreams fulfilled.
But God has truly made everything beautiful in its time.
Time will continue on, and there will surely be many seasons of joys and sorrows to come...but right now, I'm overwhelmed with gratefulness for this season.
It is time to laugh. It is time to dance.