There are some who know our story, some who don’t. My husband, Pret, and I have been married for eight and a half years. We have two beautiful daughters–Lilly, who is 3 1/2, and Stella, who would be turning 1 in 3 weeks. When I was 20 weeks pregnant with Stella, we discovered that she had some pretty major physical abnormalities. Eight weeks later, it was finally determined that her abnormalities would be life-limiting, meaning that she would not live much beyond birth.
We decided to make the most of the time that we would have with her. Both sets of parents were there for delivery, as well as a close friend, my aunt, and one of my sisters. Stella was born alive, and we had 20 beautifully, wonderful minutes with her before she eventually passed away in the arms of Lilly.
The moments after were filled with tears, smiles, hugs, more tears, laughter, but mostly peace and love.
Grief and Pain
There have been lots of ups and downs since then. Days when I didn’t want to get off the couch all day; days when I have had to call a friend to take Lilly for a few hours so I could cry alone; days when I have been able to share and laugh and mourn with others. Even as I have been thinking about typing this and looking for the pictures to go with it, my emotions have been close to the surface.
To quote a book/movie that is quite popular right now, “That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt,” (Augustus, quoting from An Imperial Affliction, The Fault in Our Stars). For this post, I want to relate pain to grief, as through my experience, whether first-hand or vicariously in other peoples’ stories who are similar to mine, grief, also, demands to be felt.
Later in the story, Hazel talks about grief being “unbearable.” As Pret and I watched the movie a few weeks ago, I asked him whether his grief around the loss of Stella had ever become “unbearable.” He replied, “Yes, those are the times when I have just had to turn it over to the Lord.”
I have been thinking about that concept since then. I do not say this to diminish or minimize the pain and grief of others, and I don’t know why I have received the blessing that I have surrounding all my experiences with Stella, but I truly don’t feel like there have been times that have been unbearable. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when I have cried, sobbed, hit pillows and pounded the bed, asked, “Why?” and just sat for a time feeling almost numb.
But through all that, I have known that I don’t have to bear it all alone. I haven’t felt the need to turn it over to Christ, more, I have just felt Him right along with me. He has carried me with Him, bearing me up.
As Pret and I have gone through this, people have asked us, and our family members, “Are they really doing as well as they seem to be doing?” We can honestly answer, “Yes.” We are blessed with faith, strength, and experience of making it through tough things. We have thought about why we have been through some of the things that we have (thinking it was so we could share our experiences with others), but we have come to realize that “all these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good” (D&C 122:7). We have learned how to grow together and make it through the tough times. We know that there will be times in the future that will require that strength again.
I am so grateful for the Gospel. For the hope that it gives me for the opportunity to be together, with ALL members of my family again. The hope that our experience can continue to be for our good and the good of others. The hope that ALL people will be lifted by the Lord through their pain and grief.