When You Don't Know What To Say


I don't know what to say about this.

In the last three days, two sweet friends have lost their babies.

The first, an adoptive mama, was anxiously, excitedly waiting for the call from her son's birth mother that she and her husband could go and meet their child.  Instead, when the call came, it was with news that the baby would be staying with his birth mother.

The second mother is in the hospital as I write this, laboring to bring her dead child's body into this world. 

I don't know what to say about this.

What do you say to the mother whose home is filled with toys and infant chairs and a just-put-together swing, things ready and waiting for the child who will never use them?

What do you say to the mother who is carrying her dead child inside her own body, who is terrified at was has happened and is happening and will happen to her and in her? 

What do you say when you know as exactly as anyone can the ache that these women are filled with, the howls and anguished moans that fight to tear loose from their throats, guttural and raw and real?

I don't know what to say.

But then I remember . . . I don't need to know.  I don't need to say a damn thing.

Because sometimes?  There are no words.

Instead, there is the drawing near.  There is the witness, to stand close and give eyes to the life that was and is gone now, the grief that spreads wide instead.  There is the beating of your chest and tearing at your hair and the adding of your own howls to those of your friends.

There is the entering in.  Into the pain, into the questions and fear and doubt and rage and sorrow.

I know how meaningful these gifts are, because I hold the ones I was given since Eve died and was born as more precious than wealth upon wealth upon wealth.

And yet, it seems like nothing.  I hold it in my hands, the witness I am about to bear, and it feels weak and paltry and not-enough.

And of course it's not enough, because "enough" would mean the empty arms of grieving mothers filled with the little ones they hoped and wept and prayed for.

I can't give them that.  I can't give these mothers back their babies.

But I can give them my eyes, my ears, my presence.  And God will turn that into something.  Into Something. 

And so tomorrow I will go and meet that precious baby who died and witness my mama friend's tears, and tonight I pray for God's presence to loom obvious and holy in the sacred space of the hospital room where no mother should be expected to birth her dead child, and yet so many -- too many -- do.

Will you pray for these grieving mamas and their families and support-givers, too?  This is sacred, horrible, beautiful work, friends.  Let us lean in and not be afraid.  Please,  Lord, make me not afraid. 

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