Grief Part 2- Choosing to Grieve Well

Prologue: When we first became pregnant we were surprised to learn we were pregnant with identical twin girls. 20 weeks into the pregnancy we learned our girls suffered from a rare condition called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. We experienced a miraculous healing of all symptoms related to this deadly disease and at 32 weeks gave birth to our twin girls, Marylou Janice, our firstborn was stillborn. Providence Joy was just over 2lbs. There was no known cause for Marylou’s death. Time has given me the courage to share some of what God has taught me through our experience of anticipation, joy and grief. It is my hope that I can use this venue and our journey to share with you, dear reader, pieces of what we have learned and experienced so you can walk away with a greater understanding of our God, even amidst pain.

April is the worst month for me. It is the month where the reminder of Marylou and Providence and all the trauma surrounding their birth seems to hit me from all sides. Every year I think that it will be easier because another year has gone by but instead it just seems that my grief hits me differently. It is like grief is a package (and not a fun one) that just as I think I am getting to the bottom I discover a whole new unopened section that I must unpack.

This past week I have struggled with being angry with God. Angry that with my first pregnancy I was not able to experience anything normal. Angry that pregnancy and birth will never be innocent, angry that Providence is still experiencing the effects of her prematurity and angry that once again there will only be one child in the two year old photo shoot. I think it all came to a head the other day when Providence’s cough went from bad to worse. Because of her extreme IUGR and prematurity, any type of infection settles straight to her lungs, every time. This happened the same day I went to buy Rosemary new diapers and realized the girls are in the same size. Yes I did cry at Sam’s Club, pitiful I know. It really breaks my heart to see my child (a year behind growth wise) struggling to sleep and breathe because she was born early, because she was a twin who now has to grow up without her sibling. I think it is all exasperated by the fact that at age two, preemies are supposed to have “caught up” and are often given “non-preemie” status for future health care. We were looking forward to this medical clearance because it would allow us to pursue ministry overseas, but with two years being only a few weeks away, we both know for several reasons that this clearance won’t be happening any time soon for the squirt.

All these thoughts were brewing in my head and I felt angry at God. God is big enough to handle our anger (thank goodness) and in my honest frustrated venting I found myself realizing that I had allowed myself to make the wrong choice. Because of sin, death and illness are a part of our life, a part of life we never ask for but are given none the less. My frustration over Marylou’s death and Providence’s (relatively mild) sufferings was a natural response to things not being right in the world but I can take that frustration and allow God to use it to mold my heart to long for heaven and eternity with Him or I can take it and allow it to make me embittered and angry at God and others.

This past week rather then allowing my grief to enlarge my view of God and how he works and to enlarge my heart, I chose to take my frustration and allow it to become internally focused in a pity party for me and my daughter. Such a choice leaves me no further ahead at the end of the day, but rather further behind in my pursuit of God. It is not possible for me to take my sadness and use it to enlarge me, such a task is beyond my ability or scope but if I ask for the help of God and choose to give that raw emotion to Him and ask what he want’s me to do with it, He transforms that frustration into something more. So Today, with the help of my Savior, I choose to take my grief, embrace it and allow it to enlarge my heart to better understand God’s character and to further my longing for the day when He will wipe every tear from our eyes, and where there will be no more pain or crying. The day when I will be in the presence of my God.

I wrote this several years ago but am still faced with the daily choice to choose to grieve well. God can enlarge our view of Him through our grief, or we can cling to our grief in such a way that can make us bitter and angry. What are some ways you have been able to release your grief to God, and in doing so allow your pain to become a tool to enlarge your heart’s view of God and its longing for future glory?

(Post by:Amie)


5 Responses to “Grief Part 2- Choosing to Grieve Well”

  1. 1 Summur Braley May 20, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this highly personal story. I believe it will help me next time I deal with death to better be able to support someone, of even myself. God bless you and comfort you!

  2. 2 Colleen Forry May 20, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I was pleased to see you talk about how it’s okay to be angry at God, that He is big enough to handle it. We lost a baby girl, in April, at only 2 days old. It too, changed our lives and also our future reproductive health. I recently had to have my tubes tied due to complications with her birth. I too was quite angry at God, and slowly came to realize that He was still there, holding me, even after I raged and railed at Him. Too many Christians don’t think they can let their anger out. But I like your point, that the anger is not the problem. It’s how we deal with it. God bless you on your journey.

  3. 3 Amie May 21, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Thank you ladies for your willingness to share on this topic and join in the discussion with me. Colleen, I am so sorry to hear of your loss and so glad that we both serve a God that is somehow able to turn our mourning into dancing…as we dance this dance of grief with our God.

  4. 4 Ashley L May 21, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Amie, again I am so grateful for you being willing to share with us about grief and grieving. This week has been a hard one for me, not that I am experiencing great personal loss, but as a number of people around me are experiencing incredible hardship and tragedy. It has been causing me to think of how to love and grieve with them, as well as has naturally caused me to think of how I would cope in situations such as these, as well has been causing me to think about the real effects of sin in this fallen world. I keep praising God that He is our strength and shield, because I don’t think any of us naturally can walk through these things without being crushed by them (or at least I know what my strength looks like and I know it wouldn’t carry me through), but then I see people like you and those around me and see how God upholds us and walks us even through the greatest of trials and miraculously ends up using them for good (like the ways that you have blessed so many people over the years as you’ve been willing to share your story and how God has walked you through). I had to turn to the end of Revelation yesterday just to remind myself that there IS hope and that there will be an end to the suffering and tragedy that is everywhere and that this week seems to be on all sides and is touching closer to home than I am used to. These things aren’t even my own personal losses, but even so, my heart aches for that day, like you said, when all tears will be wiped away and where there will be no more crying or pain. Thank you for sharing this process and for giving God the glory for what He has done for you and can do for each of us who experience grief.

  5. 5 Kara May 21, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Amie. I pray for continual healing and depth in your experience of God.

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