Difficult Year Part II--Dealing with Grief
I left off my last post having found out I had lost our baby after an ectopic pregnancy. Most likely our baby had Trisomy 18. This time I had seen our baby move. I saw the heartbeat. I loved (love) that baby with all my heart.
The next day C1 was in a geography bee at school. I went to cheer him on, but it felt hollow. It felt like the world should be stopping so I could grieve.
My husband was across the world in China when I called him from the doctor's office. Even though there was nothing he could do physically to bring our baby back, he cut his trip short and came home. He got home on my birthday, which was two days after I found out we had miscarried. When he walked in through the door I just melted into his arms and sobbed.
We talked and talked about our options. In the end we scheduled a d&c for the following week. I could not bear the thought of my baby accidentally being flushed down a toilet. In truth, I was still having trouble accepting I had lost another baby, and so I asked the doctor to check for a heartbeat one more time before they removed the baby. They checked, put me to sleep and I woke up after everything was done.
I still cry thinking about it.
Turning to my Father in Heaven helped me get through the grief. In my past, I've had experiences where I thought I knew what my family and I should do. My husband's job was, at one point, going to take him to Florida for over a year. Rather than commuting, we thought about renting our home out and renting another in Florida. I kept trying and trying to make it work. The arrangements kept falling apart. My dear sister wisely asked me, "Have you prayed about this?"
In truth I hadn't. I figured reuniting my family was a good thing. Eliminating the need for my husband to travel was a good thing. That's why I pressed forward.
When I finally humbled myself enough to pray about the matter, we received inspiration that the children and I should stay put. I didn't understand why, but trusted in our answer. That year Florida was hit with four hurricanes and where we would have been living would have required us to evacuate at least three times while I was in my last trimester of pregnancy with Princess Ballerina. I would have had to do this with three boys six and under who had (though I didn't know it) autism and one in particular that gets terrified of big storms.
Though having a traveling husband while I was pregnant had its own challenges, I feel grateful for that experience that showed me in very definite, concrete ways the Lord knows better than I do.
And I should add that my DH (dear hubby) was always able to get on a plane back home to us before any storm hit. Blessings indeed.
A month or so after my miscarriage I was met with our ecclesiastical leader for my temple recommend. (Everyone is welcome to worship in our chapels--whether you are a member or not--but in order to enter the temple--our holiest buildings--you have to be interviewed by ecclesiastical leaders) At that time I was asked if I would accept the call as the next Relief Society president. In our church we all volunteer to serve. Where we serve comes through inspiration to those entrusted with the stewardship or "keys" for a given unit. The Bishop is the head of our local unit (or ward) and he has the responsibility to receive inspiration on where individuals serve. He has two counselors who help him in decisions and management of the unit. They (the bishopric) work with other auxiliary leaders. Those auxiliaries are: High Priests Group and Elders Quorum (the adult male groups), Relief Society (all adult females), Sunday School (gospel instruction for the second hour of church for all individuals over 12), Young Men's (males between 12 and 18), Young Women's (females between 12 and 18) and Primary (children 18 months to 12 years). Each group has a presidency (a president and two counselors) who have the responsibilities of helping their designated group. The presidents (or a counselor if they cannot come) meet with the Bishopric and others in a ward council to discuss the welfare of the members. The Primary presidency is always composed of females.
As I mentioned, Relief Society is the women's organization in our church. My responsibility would be to help look after the physical (temporal) and spiritual needs of the women in the ward. I would also meet with families who needed assistance and help assess what needs the church could help meet as well as counsel /guide/direct/point them in the right direction to gain skills they could use as well.
I chose two wonderful women whom I didn't know very well at the time to be my counselors. Susan and Katie. Susan had been a Relief Society president in the past and she taught me so much. Katie was younger than I though still a mother of four.
The first couple of months that I was Relief Society president, there were three funerals in our ward. I was able to use my own very personal and very raw experience with grief and the comfort I found in the Lord to help others in their time of need. Though none of us can understand the suffering the Savior went through in the Garden of Gethsemane, the scriptures teach us:
Alma 7:12 And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities.
My Savior endured unimaginable agony as He made the Atonement , and He did it because He loves me, and so He would understand how to lift and help each of us, and because it was part of our Heavenly Father's plan to help us all return to them someday. I am grateful for that.