Broken People

Remember when Daisy was stung by a scorpion?

And we were in the middle of nowhere, waiting for the paramedics to arrive?

And I could barely hold her tiny, 6 month old body because she was convulsing?

And vomiting.

And then they took her from me and told me to drive to the hospital.

But, when I arrived, she wasn't there.

And no one could tell me where she was.

So I sat in a hospital, certain she was dead.

I felt those cold fingers of loss squeezing the warmth out of my heart.

I waited. I cried.

I wondered how I was going to live without her. How would I tell her brother and sister?

How would life ever be sweet again?

How would we go on?

And then they finally told me that she was on her way; that they had made a stop at another hospital because her airways had closed.

And I knew that she had almost died. I had almost lost her.

She had been terrified and in serious pain. Her airways had CLOSED.

While I wasn't with her. While I was driving away; while I had been refused the right to sit with her, to whisper to her, to hold her.

I get why they wouldn't let me come. It makes sense in a logical way.

But I am her mother. She was a baby.

And she had almost slipped away.

What they did was miraculous. Getting her breathing again was near impossible.

When they finally wheeled her into the ER, an IV punched into the bone of her leg, tubes streaming from her mouth and nose, still lightly convulsing, semi sedated, afraid...

When they finally told me what had happened in the hours that she was separated from me, my heart cracked.

Something inside of me broke.

A mother should never lose sight of her baby. She should never have to feel the pulsing ache of empty arms. She should never have to think about the days, the moments to come that would be void of laughter and soft little hands. She should never have to sob and shake, knowing that she can't hear her baby speak, laugh, cry and sing.

A mother should never have to envision life going on without a part of her soul.

It was the worst day of  my life. Nothing has ever compared.

But I got her back. After days of not being allowed to hold her, of watching Daisy struggle and sleep, I wrapped my arms around my baby and I nursed her.

I have had another year and a half of watching her grow, of loving her fiery, sassy life play out. I cuddle with her every night. She reaches up to me and says, "mama, need you". I pick her up and I never forget that I almost didn't have this.

So, when I hear of a mama losing her baby, of tiny lives slipping away, I break again. I remember those hours of wondering, of despair creeping into every pore of my existence. I know what it is to know that your baby is gone.

I hate that it happens every day. I read their stories and my heart sinks to my feet. If I could, I would walk right into their sorrow and weep with them. Because I know how deep it is. I know how far it reaches.

I know that no one can touch it. It is yours. Just yours. You sit in that emptiness and it wraps its walls around you. You sink into grey water and watch it rise up over you. You listen to the sound of your own breathing and wonder how it could be real. How are you still existing? How will you ever make it past the next moment?

Ani, I think about you all the time. I think about your Ruby Jane, who would be Daisy's age. I read your blog the day we came home from the hospital and I have never lost sight of you.

Erin, I have not stopped praying. For days, I have thought of you and ached for you and prayed that you would find the kind of comfort that cannot be bought, or imagined or fabricated. I don't have anything that could ease your grief. I have nothing.

This kind of suffering can make us want to turn away. It's so painful. We want to block it out, pretend like it isn't happening. But this is the kind of thing Jesus calls us to. When our neighbors, our family, our people are carrying loss, it's our job to carry them.

Don't give in to the desire to turn away. Turn towards the suffering and embrace the broken. It's the way of the cross. It's the way of mercy.

*November 2012