When Loss Reveals the Depth of Love

I am moving all my poetry and writing to this site slowly so I can have it all here moving forward, including some of the new short stories, creative writing exercises, and poetry I will share as well. Over the next few weeks, I will start by sharing my first 3 AM Epiphany prompts I responded to back in 2012. Once I have the first ones here, I am going to pick up in 2022 with writing a new one each month, at a minimum. Let me know if you’d like to join me in that journey!

The following talks about baby loss so please proceed with caution if you are still healing from it. If you need a book that shares the story of baby loss and how a couple thrived after their very deep and real healing in front of many, read Interruption: Navigating the Detours of Life by Brandon and Cornieta Whitfield.

Until today, I did not know the true meaning of love. Until today, it was only a thought. Flashbacks kept entering my mind of the day three years ago when my friend held her baby in her hands for the first time, crying that she would never be able to take him home. Visions of how her husband reached over and hugged her. Tears streamed down his face as he comforted her and loved her. He provided warmth and affection despite his own pain. Their hopes of becoming great parents who cared about their child’s every need and encouraged him to become everything he could be, had diminished with each passing moment in the delivery room. Their dreams of a young boy who would grow up to be a lineman for the Falcons were crushed within moments of giving birth. They had not expected to arrive to the hospital pregnant and leave with funeral plans pending.

Everything in the pregnancy had gone as planned. The baby grew according to “What To Expect When You Are Expecting” and the doctor had been pleased with my friend’s small weight gain. She took care of herself, exercised daily and ate well, and ensured she remained stress free throughout the entire pregnancy. But in the delivery process, the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck without the doctors noticing. Instead of hearing cries of life, they heard the silence of death when the baby arrived.

My friend looked around the room, tormented within her mind. She wondered what she could have done differently, where in the delivery process something could have changed. Her husband was beside himself wondering how this could happen. They had been trying to conceive for five years. How was this happening? When they called to share the news with friends and family, heartbreak was instantaneous.

Later that evening, they allowed visitors and we all arrived at the hospital. At least 50 people filled the room and provided encouragement and hope for this young family. No one knew exactly what to say and yet the words provided comfort, even a few laughs in this moment of sadness. It was obvious that love was in abundance in this room. People came from across state lines, left work early, had children waiting at home, all so they could come support their friends and family members in this difficult moment.

My friends later shared during a group dinner that they were only children of parents who were only children. If they did not have a child, their family legacy ended with them. They had always seen conception as the only way to ensure the family name continued and wanted to ensure their parents had grandchildren and that the name and legacy could continue. They looked into one another’s eyes as they shared how they had longed to have a large family and had started the process with foster children when they were newlyweds. As we listened, it became clear my friends truly wanted to have a family and the loss of their first baby was simply a sorrowful moment on the way to a joyous occasion.

Tears filled my eyes as those flashbacks played in my mind. Yet being in this moment, celebrating my friends’ adoption of their new twin baby boys, it seemed overwhelming to think about the power of love. The power that held them together through the past three years as they struggled to complete the testing and paperwork that goes along with adoption. The power that encouraged them and kept them going when mothers would call to say they wanted their babies back only days after giving them up. The power that gave them the courage to believe this was finally it when the last mother called and said she was going into labor. The last 30 days had been filled with raw emotion, and yet here we are, papers signed, babies now having my friend’s last name, and cries filling a house that once seemed as though it would be forever silent.

©2012 Michelle Vera

The Challenge

To increase my writing ability and expand my thinking, I sometimes open up 3 AM Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction by Brian Kiteley. This challenge, Point of View Exercise 1: The Reluctant I, was to write a 600 word story from the first person point of view using “I” only twice. Let’s talk about HARD! I had to rewrite several times, use passive voice (which I am not a huge fan of though I do use it sometimes), and really think about what was happening in the story. I drew upon an experience from many years ago to complete this exercise. If this this is 1, can you imagine how much tougher this going to be by exercise 201!

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