The season of Samhainn is upon us. I set up my ancestors altar a few days ago; we used to have a permanent place for it, but since we moved space has become an issue and at the moment it's temporary. Just this morning I set up the beach stones I had collected after I lost my baby. I have not written about it here (because I haven't written anything!), but just over 2 years ago I was pregnant. We were all excited, my son had just turned 4 and he was happily anticipating finally being a brother. I went in for my 15 week appointment and found out the baby had died. It was devastating for everyone, and then I had to carry the baby for another full week before I had a D&C. This all started a chain of events that would change our lives forever.
Grief is a funny thing. It lays dormant, allowing you to go through the days feeling happy, not thinking constantly of the losses we all endure, and then one day it decides to surface, totally blindsiding you.
She kneels by the small pile of stones, the cairn that is the only earthly remnant of the baby she never got to hold. She touches the base stone and it is cold against her fingers. Two years and more have gone by, but she still remembers the child. The thought of the child, the hope of the child - their daughter that was never born. She is overtaken by grief; a grief she seldom lets through.
"Why, why ... why did this happen?" she calls out. She calls to Brighid. She wants the answer to an unanswerable question. "What did I do to deserve this? What did we do?!" She thinks of her son, already a brother because he has a love for a sister he never met. A brother who misses her daily. How could that innocent child deserve such grief? She thinks of her husband and the trials he qent through after the baby died, the trials they all suffered, the things she endured because to do anything else would have meant death and defeat. The trials that saved her from the immediate pain of losing her daughter, merely distracting her with a new and more urgent type of pain. "Why did this happen at all?"
She is confused, she is angry, she is wondering if her Gods have abandoned her. Her bitterest tears salt the earth ... then she feels a presence, Her presence, Brighid. She feels the warm comfort of being wrapped in a mother's embrace. She feels rather than hears these words:
"Child you have done nothing wrong. You do not earn your pain, and pain comes to every living person. I can not control it, nor can I take it away. I too have felt the pain of loos, and the loss of a child, and it is deep and it lingers. But I have come to hold you through the grief. I am the voice that led you to your husband when he was in danger. I lend you strength when you feel you have no more to give. I can not shield you from every hurt, but I am witness to it and I help you to move on."
She has cried all her tears for now. She feels warm and comforted, and no longer alone.
Edit, 10-17-16: I realized after I posted this that Oct. 15th is Infant & Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day - check out October15th.com for more info.