To acknowledge the grief.
Originally posted on September 12, 2013.
Awhile back I was having a conversation with some friends when the subject of twins came up. One of these friends was an identical twin and it was her birthday week. Everybody was fascinated by her story and life as a twin. After a few minutes of talking about it, people started asking questions about her mom and the pregnancy. Everybody was asking how her mother responded when she found out there were two babies – most people said they just couldn’t imagine. Others guessed what it would have been like to give birth to two babies, one after another. I sat quietly for a few minutes and then excused myself.
I know what it’s like.
I know what it’s like to find out there are two after expecting only one. I know what it’s like to give birth to two babies, one after another. I also know what it’s like to find out one of them has gone. And, I know what it’s like to give birth to one that is no more and one that is very much alive.
I didn’t realize it before, but this kind of scenario excludes me from the conversation in a very awkward way. You see, I can’t speak up and say I know because then what everyone thought was a very light conversation has now become a sad and depressing conversation. But, I also can’t jump in and say I wonder what it’s like because I don’t wonder what it’s like. This leaves me with one option; sit quietly and say nothing.
But, the next time it happened was just last weekend and it was different. I was attending a wedding in which both the bride and groom had a twin sibling. The father of the bride got up to make a toast and in that toast he said something like, the greatest surprise of my life was when the doctor came out of the delivery room and told me there was another baby and it was a girl. . . . . .
I was standing next to a friend and she started to say, can you imagine finding out about twins like that? And then it happened. . . . .
She corrected herself and said, yeah, you probably can imagine that.
And just like that I felt my heart get a little softer and the burden get a little lighter. This time I was included in the conversation.
My silence was broken.
I can’t even count the number of times I have come across twin girls and wanted to exchange pregnancy stories with their mom. Or, how many times somebody has asked me about Livia’s birth and I’ve had to avert the question. Sometimes the silence builds up and sometimes God brings friends around to let a little bit of it out.
There is healing in these moments. These moments when someone steps out of their comfort zone and asks me what it’s like.
To acknowledge the grief and help me let it go.
Yesterday we celebrated the girls 4th birthday. Every year we let Livia release a balloon in memory of Mia.
And, every year I feel the sadness become a little less and the joy become a little greater.