Today was my six-week follow up appointment with Dr. Denney. I pushed myself to walk through those hospital doors. Frankly, it sucked. But there is something about doing hard things throughout this experience. A loving lady at our small group, after hearing our news, kindly said, “We have this saying in our house: We can do hard.” As believers in the One who conquered the grave, we can do hard! There is an odd, rewarding aspect of checking off a challenging task.
Pete and I have talked about this, especially as it related to when we went into the funeral home after having Charlotte’s earthly body cremated. The pain was wrenching. I can’t even put it into words. But there was something healing about going through that experience together. In faith, when I choose to fully walk through my grief, though I did not choose this path, there is healing.
At today’s appointment, Dr. Denney was therapeutic for me. She told me that at this point, it is unlikely that we will ever know how/why Charlotte died, at least medically. Everything was coming back negative. The placenta pathology didn’t show anything, there was no known issue with the cord and the preliminary report of sweet Charlotte’s autopsy was answerless. Dr. Denney expressed how she longed to give me some sort of answer but that she will walk this journey with me. Despite the agony of the unknown, there is peace from people simply being with us through this.
For me, the most comforting people to talk to are those who don’t try and say something neat and tidy but rather just be with me and welcome any emotion I bring to the table. When I hear, “I am just so sorry. There are no words. I am here,” I feel loved. And that’s what my doctor did for me today. She was Jesus for me today.
Though my time with Dr. Denney went well, I was obviously devastated. Unintentionally, some people at the hospital had said things like, “How’s your baby?” Not to mention, just being back at the hospital was hard for me. So, I left there in tears. Talking about Charlotte medically and in the place I delivered her, stirs me up. By the time I reached the parking lot attendant, my eyes must have been beet red because she said to me, “Honey, you look sad. What’s wrong?” I couldn’t get anything out except, “I’m just sad.” And then this complete stranger said with assurance, “Just pray.” Her courage and vulnerability to recognize my tears and not simply take my money and open the gate in monotony struck me. God uses all things to minister to His children.
I called Peter and he came home from work early to be with me. I loved that. For the first time since Charlotte passed away, I felt the urge to go through all of the things we had collected since leaving the hospital (her blankets, ultrasounds, footprints, handprints, pictures of her after she was born, countless cards …). Out of love, Peter kindly said, “You sure you want to do that now, Han?” I replied, “Yep, I’m sure.” So, I carefully took each piece out and laid them all out on our bed. I cried holding the blanket they wrapped her in. I re-read some cards and God comforted me in new ways.
One card that fell through to my attention was in a blank envelope. Curious, I opened it and it was from Megan. Megan is married to one of Peter’s co-workers. They lost their daughter, Emily, in a very similar way to how we lost our Charlotte. God gave me Megan. She and her husband came to Charlotte’s memorial and she has sent me such sweet texts and grabbed coffee with me. She’s just been with me. It’s like Peter and I are now apart of this super sucky club that we never imagined being a part of. But in all of it, He keeps showing us that we are known and that He is with us always.
I read Megan’s card again. In it, she shared that after Emily died, a dear friend told her and her husband “that she knows no words can take away our tears and she wouldn’t want to because our tears are our outward expression of our extreme love for our daughter.” In my tears today, Jesus knew I needed to read Megan’s letter. He also knew I needed to read about this revelation of Hope:
Revelation 21:3-5 NIV
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”