Grief. It isn’t exactly the emotion I thought I would be feeling as I welcomed my twin baby girls into the world. I anticipated feeling many things: joy, awe, wonder, love, exhaustion, even fear but not grief. Never grief.
Prior to delivering my girls 13 weeks early, I had always thought of grief as something that was experienced only when someone died, not when you lost your dreams.
Yet there it was, as I stood in the NICU meeting my girls for the first time, unable to hold them and barely able to touch them. They looked so small and vulnerable and fragile, I was afraid they would break at any moment. I watched them fight for each breath, hooked up to many IVs and wires that constantly checked their vitals and dinged whenever they dropped below or shot above certain limits and I grieved. I grieved the normal birthing experience, I grieved for their health and I grieved for the dreams I had been dreaming of them for the previous 6 months.
As time has passed Grief and I have become good friends. As the girls continue to improve, I begin to dream new dreams for them and have new hopes for their development. I hope that they will tolerate eating, that they will begin to breathe without assistance, that they will grow and thrive. Overall they are doing all these things and more, but as with many things in life, we take a couple steps forward in our journey and then illness strikes or their little premature bodies realize that they aren’t quite ready to do what they have been asked and we take a couple steps back. Each time we have one of those setbacks Grief is there to meet me, but you know who also shows up? Hope, and Joy and Faith. I have come to realize that without Grief, these other emotions lose their value. Without Grief, we cannot fully know the power Hope; for it is in our distress and loss that we find the courage and the need to dream. If we never experienced deep loss, we would never have a reason to hope in or for something better. Things would always just be the way they are. It is also in grieving that we learn to have Faith that things will all work out in the end. A few months ago I came across a quote about grief that says “Grief never ends, but it changes. It is a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith… it is the price of love.”
Psalm 30:5b (NASB) says “Weeping may last for a night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” This part of a l0nger verse is often used to comfort people who are grieving and it has often come to my mind in these past few months. However, whenever I picture the verse in my head I always remember it as, “Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the mourning,” and it is true. As I have grieved the loss of my ideas and dreams and desires for how I wanted motherhood to look, God has shown up in the midst of my mourning and given me new hopes and new dreams and shown me glimpses of His plans for my life as a wife and a mother of two amazing and beautiful girls. I experience a deep joy in knowing that all of us have been and are being changed in our grief and that this will give way to a powerful testimony of who God is and what He is able to do when we give up our own dreams and expectations.