A Deafening Silence
// From the Archives //
The death of a beloved is an amputation. -C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
The silence that accompanies grief is deafening.
As I walked down the long corridor at Ochsner Baptist, you know, the one with the checkered floor, I was alone. The only sound I could hear was my footsteps and short, anxious breaths. The walk seemed to last forever.
It was eerie. Here I was in this huge hospital with not a soul around. I made it to the elevators, and I stepped on. The stillness, the silence was piercing.
I waited for my name to be called once I checked in. I sat in my chair, and all I could see when I looked around the room was fog. I could not see straight. It was like my body was in the room, but my mind was lost in a low-lying Mississippi River fog.
My ears were ringing.
They called my name, and it took a moment for me to come to. I got up and quietly followed the nurse to the room after doing some other dreaded things she asked of me.
I waited. The silence was choking me.
I looked out the window at the skyline of New Orleans and watched as the heavy rain started to fall across downtown. It was haunting. It created a sort of darkness in the room that made me want to crawl in my bed and never get out.
A knock on the door. The nurse came in to talk with me. You could sense the way she held back, the restraint. She knew something that I didn't, and it wasn't good. I needed her pity, but when I got it, I felt anger inside heating up like a volcano.
Then I was alone again, lost in the silence that was ripping me apart, staring at the rain falling on the city.
Another knock on the door. The nurse practioner asks me some questions. My brain is still lost in that fog, so I struggle getting a complete sentence out. She tells me that she believes I lost it.
I lost the baby. Again.
She allowed me another moment alone to process. I needed much more than a moment.
I sat and watched the rain, wishing I was standing in it so that maybe it could wash this day away. I could start it all over. Maybe things would be different.
The tears started falling instead. Silent, choking tears.
I have never felt as alone as I did in that moment. The pain was too great for any person.
You know what angered me the most about all of this? I never even got to see this sweet baby. I was able to see my first two on ultrasounds, to actually see their precious, lifeless bodies in my own. I actually heard the silence of their unbeating hearts. I did not even get that this time.
This life was ripped from me before I even got a chance to say hello.
It was heavier than silence. It was emptiness. A void. It was nothingness. Yet that nothingness felt like 200 pounds on my back.
A friend told me that I could come sit with her at her house, but I told her I needed to be home in the stillness. Ironic. The same stillness that was ripping me apart.
Miscarriage is a very lonely kind of grief. Your husband and others may empathize with you, but as a mom you feel it all. The anger. confusion. guilt. torment. emptiness. loss. And let the names of all the terrible emotions keep on coming. It is more than just a dark night of the soul. It is a darkness that envelopes your soul. It enslaves it.
It is inexplicable. You keep looking out of your eyes, but nothing is there. You have no thoughts. There is no sound. It is like your grief is pulling you down a dark hole with no place to land your feet. You just keep falling.
I have no breath. I can't catch it.
As I fall, I try to grab anything. Anything that will slow this down. So I play on my phone, hoping that will distract me from the silence that suffocates me. It doesn't. I try to sleep. That works... for a while.
Finally, I play Meredith Andrews' "Not for a Moment." This is the song that carried me through my first miscarriage and my second. I sit in the dark and let the tears come again. The anger erupts out of me...
"Why God? You were the One who told us to have another baby. It doesn't make sense! What is wrong with me? Why does my body keep killing innocent babies?! This is what I was so afraid of! This is why I did not want to have any more kids. The pain of loss is too much to bear. It is too much...."
And on and on and on.
But God started whispering in that silence through the truths I have already hidden in my heart:
"I will fight for you. You only have to be silent." Exodus 14:14
"I will never leave you nor forsake you..." Hebrews 13:5
"Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them..." Matthew 19:14
"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is in him." Psalm 62:5
"The death of a beloved is an amputation." There is a part of me that is lost forever every time I lose another baby, believing that I will one day be able to meet him or her. Like a piece of me that is gone with them. I will never get it back.
But I have hope that is an anchor for my soul.
It is hope's whisper that pierces through the silence. It is gentle, not deafening. It is life-giving, not life-stealing. It holds me; it doesn't strangle me. It gives me a place to land in the dark hole.
This hope is that my God is good. In every circumstance. In everything. He is only good. And even though I still look around and see so much darkness in this lonely grief, I can see a small flicker of light. I can feel someone holding my broken soul.... just letting me broken with Him.
You see, he knows my pain. He knows what it is to lose a child. He knows what heartbreak feels like. And so He holds me, and He grieves with me. He allows me to feel, and He holds me. He keeps whispering, "I'll never leave you..."
After all, you are constant.
After all, you are ONLY GOOD.
After all, you are sovereign.
Not for a moment, did you forsake me.
Not for a moment, will you forsake me.