Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Vegan cookies are the best medicine, and other thoughts on grief and gratitude

To this day I have only received one shipment of homemade vegan cookies.

Then that box of yummy, banana-y, chocolate-y love arrived on my doorstep. I had just experienced my third miscarriage. I was delirious. I laughed constantly, which was weird to most people. A coping mechanism, I was told. My sarcasm was at an all-time high. And I was at an all-time high, too, taking more pain pills than I needed. I had lost all motivation to exist, except for to watch the box set of Harry Potter that Brittany had lent me while eating batch after batch of the most delicious cookies Carey had sent-- with love from California.

After my first miscarriage, my small group leader, Jacki (who coincidentally was also vegan), brought over this sausage and lentil stew with freshly baked bread. "My friend recommended it, and I wanted to make sure I brought you something that would make you feel a little warmer." It was February. I wasn't a seasoned miscarriage veteran at this point. I broke down sobbing in the kitchen, my bare feet on the cold tiles.

Today is the Remembrance Day / Wave of Light-- a day to remember the babies we've lost to miscarriage or stillbirth. I have three that I will remember today, along with many other babies that my friends have lost over the years.

But I will also remember those friendships that came from these losses. I will remember after my second loss my college professor and mentor, Anabel, brought me spaghetti and a heart-shaped dish and sat on the floor next to my bed for hours. It was the first time I had smiled-- really smiled-- since losing Micah. We talked about travel and family and languages, and it reminded me that outside of this overwhelming, life-altering event, I was a whole person with interests and joys and dreams, and for a moment I didn't feel minimized by my loss.

I will remember when Stephanie brought me Chick-fil-a and her favorite book of comics that she thought would make me smile. And she didn't judge me, even though I was clearly drinking too much and sleeping too little.

I remember Meghan, who baked peanut butter blossoms and sat in bed with me and just listened-- really listened-- to my sorrows and my fears and didn't turn her face away from my messy, ugly grief. 

I'll remember Julie, who saved all her baby stuff for me instead of selling it in a yard sale, because she really believed that I would need it eventually. In lieu of the divorce, I gave her my blessing to sell it to someone else who needed it, but the fact that she held onto hope for me for so long meant everything, especially on the days when I had no hope at all.

I remember my yoga-teacher-turned-friend, Sarah, who let me cry and cry and cry on my mat in her yoga class as she taught me to reconnect with the body that betrayed my children.

I remember my parents taking turns coming over, helping with chores, cooking meals, and making me shower, even if it was just to get back in bed. The depression was so heavy at times.

I could go on and on and on and on. It wasn't about what these people so graciously gave to me or did for me, but I really learned who would be there in the hard places. I really learned who my friends are and I saw God in those moments when I felt really alone.

My babies gave me that.
So today, I remember.
I light my candle.
And I give thanks.