I have close friends who grieve the recent loss of a child through miscarriage. Other family members also have lost a child this way. At first, I resisted writing this post due to the sadness of the topic, but this is a blog about writing and life. Grief is one of the harder parts of life.
Interestingly enough, I’ve come to the part in my novel revision where a baby has died. Life imitates art sometimes and vice versa.
I’ve never had a child. I can’t, due to having been born with a malformed uterus. I won’t go into the ins and outs of that (and you might be squirming and hoping I won’t), but suffice it to say, I can’t have children. Though I can’t, that doesn’t mean I can’t understand the pain of hopes shattered and plans made that are now unmade. Just when you get used to the idea of welcoming a little one into your family, you have to say good-bye.
I can’t help thinking of King Théoden in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Two Towers (J. R. R. Tolkien). His son Théodred was much older, and in fact had been killed in a battle. But Théoden’s words ring true: “No parent should have to bury their child.”
Sorrow wears many faces. There’s the sorrow of rejection when a manuscript you’ve worked on gets a no from an agent or editor. In some ways this feels like a miscarriage, and you have to deal with the shattered hopes and the unmaking of plans. (I said in “some ways,” so please don’t send me a how-dare-you-equate-human-life-to-a-manuscript message. Some of us can’t have children and can’t afford to adopt, so book “children” may be all the children we’ll get in this life.) You also have to deal with well-meaning people who tell you to “Snap out of it” or “Move on, you can write others,” just as grieving parents are told, “You can have other children” or “Be thankful for the one you already have.” As if they aren’t.
Another sorrow includes the disappointed expectations that come with broken relationships. I don’t have to tell you about those. I’m sure you’ve experienced them. You can’t live on this earth for long and escape that experience at least once or twice.
The sorrows of those close to you take a bite out of you. We were made to live in community. But sometimes, being in community hurts.
Cradle photo from lizcurtishiggs.com. Théoden (played by Bernard Hill) grieving photo from pinterest.com.