Originally written March 18, 2106
A week ago (literally while I write this) my Esposa miscarried our daughter. No one told me it hurts dads to lose a child by miscarriage. I always assumed the pain from this type of event was felt by the woman, not the man. It turns out that’s a lie. It hurts.
In the wake of this life event, people often ask me how Esposa is doing. I appreciate their care and concern for her. However, few ask me how I’m doing. Like I used to do. They assume this is something primarily the woman deals with. (Thank you to those who genuinely have asked me how I’m doing.) The truth is I’m a mess. I’m grieving. This hurts.
Sometimes life feels completely normal; sometimes even back to normal in a way. I had just begun to fully grasp the reality that life would soon turn upside with the birth of our new baby. Sometimes the thought of many night wakings, frequent diaper changes, complete dependence of another child on Esposa and I began to feel overwhelming. However, my tepid emotions began to grow more and more into excitement and anticipation despite the minor exchanges. And now we’re desperately back to normal with no baby. And much sorrow.
I used to think seasons like these were periods I simply needed to get through so I can resume my normal life. Just push through the grief and eventually it will go away. I no longer think it’s that simple. Or think thinking that way is even a healthy goal.
I don’t understand this situation. I sometimes find platitudes in my head. “This will turn out for good.” “There’s a good reason for this.” I want to spit in the face of some of those thoughts. Sometimes life just sucks. Yes, God is faithful and loving. And sometimes we experience heaven on Earth. But sometimes we experience hell on Earth, too. Jesus has won, and the fullness of that victory is not completely present on Earth yet. For now, we still experience genuine pain. As well as God’s presence.
I believe God grieves with me. I don’t think he’s looking down his nose saying, “John, just get through this. I have some pot of gold at the end of it.” I believe he thinks the situation sucks, too. I imagine him holding me in my moments of overwhelming grief crying on my shoulder as I cry on his. And even sitting in joy with me in my moments where I return to a normal I no longer want and temporarily forget my grief.
So sometimes I feel completely normal. And sometimes grief sneaks up and sucker punches me when I’m not expecting it. Somehow it’s not all one or the other but both. The grief goes on. And the joy does, too.