“Did you find it hard to breathe at first?
Were you wounded and in disbelief at how much it hurt?
Now the ache’s still burning, but the world’s still turning, isn’t it?
I will think of you each time I see the sun.
I didn’t want a life without you, but here I am living one.”
113 days. 2,712 hours. 162,788 minutes. 9,767,342 seconds.
On average, human beings take about 16 breaths per minute – which means that I’ve taken somewhere around 2,604,608 breaths since she’s been gone.
Grief is an interesting thing. The heaviness in my chest ebbs and flows like the coming and going of a morning tide. Rhythmic, predictable, overwhelming, covering me as I embrace the rush of emotions and memories that flood over my heart and mind almost daily.
Oh, how I have been naive. In the first weeks after losing her, I questioned when I would begin to feel normal once more.
Why do tears flow when a pregnancy announcement settled into the top of my newsfeed? Why am I overwhelmed with grief when other’s pregnancies joyfully end with a beautiful pink, fleshy, crying baby?
When you spend more than 16 hours in labor only to give birth a lifeless, silent baby, you learn that time doesn’t heal. When you come home from the hospital with a box of mementos instead of a baby to love and nurture, you learn that your arms will never stop aching for them.
Oh, but there is beauty in the brokenness. Like a needle and thread, this love that goes beyond the boundaries of this world and extends into the next has woven itself through all the shattered pieces of my fragile heart.
There is a beautiful Japanese art called Kintsugi. When a piece of pottery is broken, the pieces are welded back together using gold. Though the pottery will never be the same again, the gold veins running throughout transform it into an even more beautiful work of art.
Like a vase that has been shattered and restored with gold so has my heart been put back together with love – and love is beautiful.
In the moments when I feel the warmth of the sun upon my face, when I am strong enough to say her name aloud to a listening friend, when my husband’s arms embrace me as the tears continue to fall, when I’m reminded that God is always good and His love is always perfect – there is still love.
Some days, the darkness hovers and wraps itself around me. Some days, I struggle to get out of bed. Some days, I lose sight of the good that still exists even in the midst of heart-wrenching loss.
But love always meets me in the darkness, right there in the midst of my wet tears and tired eyes and aching heart. Love meets me in the midst of it all.
The love of the Lord, the love between my husband and I, the love that we have for Emma Rose that will only continue to grow just as we tally the days since saying goodbye.
2,604,608 breaths since she’s been gone – and there is still love.
“I assure you: You will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice.
You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.”
– John 16:20