Starting today, you can get Grieving Together: A Couple's Journey through Miscarriage from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or direct from Our Sunday Visitor (with free shipping)! We're thrilled that Grieving Together is making its way into the hands of parents who need it after infertility, stillbirth, miscarriage, or the loss of a child. The greatest joy has been hearing from couples who are reading it together or talking about aspects of grief they might not have shared or understood before. (In the words of Billy Collins' poem on sending a book out into the world, "stay out as late as you like, don't bother to call or write, and talk to as many strangers as you can.") Learn more here and here about what makes the book unique. To learn more about Grieving Together, check out these resources: Franco and I did a live webcast with Our Sunday Visitor to share more about why we wrote the book and how all of us can support people in our lives who are grieving. You can listen … [Read more...] about p.s. the book is here!
He and I stare down at the freshly laid gravestone, edged by spring-green grass. "When people come into our office for this," he trails off, shielding his eyes from the morning sunshine, his weathered face suddenly young in disbelief. "It's the absolute worst when this happens," he shakes his head, unable to speak the words "baby" or "dead" in the same sentence. I nod. I can say anything; I have already baffled him with my sunny cheer, interrupting his silent, solitary task by jumping out of a minivan full of (living) children to ask if this was my daughters' gravestone he was laying. When you start having a Strange Conversation with a Stranger, you can say anything and it is marvelously freeing. (It wasn't theirs; there is another baby buried next to them now; she lived two months; my mind calculates the math every time; dates are codes in this terrible club.) "It's not like Grandma who got 80, 90 years, lived a full life," he continues, waving a heavy hand toward his … [Read more...] about hearts of flesh & hearts of stone
Here is today's first reading. The promise of the new Jerusalem, part of the prophecy of Isaiah. Here is today's Gospel. The healing of the royal official's son, the second sign in the Gospel of John. And here is my whole heart, caught between the two. The same Scripture passage from Isaiah was read at our daughters' funeral. (Among the handful of sentences in the English language that I wish I never had to write, that might top the list. That possessive pronoun and plural apostrophe still wreck me.) And yet, they were the best words for the worst day. The promise that one day there will be no more weeping, no more crying, no more babies who live but a few days. Sign me up. Let me hope. Pull me out of the pit. Lift me toward the light with the hope that one day no more parents will have their dreams crushed to dust. But wait: there is more. There is always the rub. Today's Gospel, too. Two sides of hope held in tension: the promise and the fulfillment. That … [Read more...] about I wanted the miracle. We got the revelation.
Two years ago, I had two hearts beating beneath my own. Twins. I was overwhelmed most of the pregnancy, to be honest. Worry multiplies with multiples. How would we care for two babies at once? What would life look like with five kids? Deeper, darker questions slid underneath, slimy and squirming. How could I love them all well? Would I lose myself? I worried about the wrong things. Most of us do, most of the time. Two weeks later, their tiny hearts were beating outside my body. Each fighting to keep pumping: one with too much blood, one with too little. Trapped inside giant isolettes, wrapped in plastic and tubes, poked and prodded, too much and too little. Neither heart strong enough to survive. A week later we held two tiny urns. Hearts to ashes. . . . Everyone we love will die. Of course you don't want to read that; I don't want to write it; no one wants to believe it. But it is truth. Can we hold it between steady hands? Look it straight in the face? Even … [Read more...] about when hearts become ashes