a trimester of grief
Maggie and Abby have been gone for three months.
Some days it feels as if their deaths were three minutes ago. Sometimes it feels like three years.
Every morning I wake up, turn to the greening trees outside our bedroom window, reorient myself back to the world in which my babies are dead, and then get out of bed.
I move through motions. I make breakfast, I drive kids to school, I work, I write. I play with the kids, I make dinner, I clean up, I go back to bed.
It has been three months since I held my daughters in my arms. I will not get to do that again in this lifetime. Each day – sunrise to sunset, one spin of the earth on its axis – pulls me twenty-four hours further from this time when they were here.
What frees me is kairos: God’s time.
In the eschatological view of time, each day I edge closer to joining my daughters again. And somehow I am with them here and now, beyond the constraints of chronos. When I remember myself back into the fullness of time that belongs to God, there is a rushing return of peace. And hope.
Nothing is lost. Life is changed. Not ended.
Christians have always been of this world and not of this world. We stand with one foot planted firmly and one foot edging beyond. We move through earthly rhythms, but we long to set our hearts to a heavenly pulse.
We are here, but this is not our home.
. . .
I write all the time.
Not as much in this space, because I can’t figure out what this place is called to be now. It used to be about the ordinary. Everyday parenting as spiritual practice.
Then extraordinary happened. Now I’m not sure what to do anymore.
But I am writing a new book. And journaling as if my life depended on it. Because it does. Words are the ways I have found my God. Now they are the way I wind back to my daughters again.
The other night, I rolled over and scribbled down words that had appeared clear as day in my mind:
If we believe God is always with us,
And we believe they are with God,
Then they are with us, too. Always.
Maybe I don’t need to write another word, I thought.
Maybe this is all I needed to figure out. Maybe I simply had to write my way to the place where Incarnation met Resurrection. And then I could be quiet, there with God.
But here is what a trimester of grief means. Something new is growing, too.
Doctors and scientists tell new mothers that the first trimester of pregnancy is the most crucial for a baby. All the major systems and organs are formed within the first 12 weeks. Everything after this point only brings growth, strength, and further development.
But what matters most happens in the first three months.
What has happened to me in the twelve weeks since Abby and Maggie died? What has happened to our marriage? What has happened to our family?
It is beyond even a book’s worth of telling. It is rebirth and recreation and resurrection. It is terrifying and reassuring and life-giving.
This new growth will take time to gestate. It will take a long time.
But I hear God whisper in the dark. Behold. I am doing something new; do you not perceive it?
Be not afraid. Be at peace.