Miscarriage

As I write, my wife is rushing Widget2 to Urgent Care. He did a face-plant on the sidewalk, blood everywhere, and now he’s got a nasty gash on his nose.
After the barrage of unfortunate events this past month, though, a few stitches feels like a successful evening.
I won’t bore you with my list of grievances. But there’s an important part of the story I’ve been keeping to myself for far too long now. You see, this post was supposed to be the announcement of the coming of Widget3.
Instead, it’s an obituary.
Two weeks ago at church, while I performed the closing music of the service, my wife went to the bathroom and miscarried. She was 7 weeks pregnant.
Word didn’t reach me about the miscarriage until after the service, when she was already on her way home with the pastor’s wife. The following night, I rushed her to the emergency room with excessive bleeding. Evidently, the “plug” that had kept the bleeding to a minimum at church had finally given way, and now the rest was flushing out.
Over a week later, the last of the bleeding ran its course. Now life goes on, fast and furious and too many tasks for too few hours, as if nothing ever happened.
Most obituaries come with a portrait. But what do you do when the only image you have is a blurry gray blob on a sonogram print? There was no face. No voice. No personality. Maybe not even consciousness. But for those seven short weeks, my wife carried the mystery of life. And that life had a heartbeat.
Call it providence that shortly before we lost our little heartbeat, I came across a Christianity Today article about men and miscarriage. The article itself wasn’t particularly memorable, but the photo illustration grabbed me. It was a picture of an empty swing, set against a shadow of a child on the sand. The picture reminded me of our first miscarriage last year, when my wife returned from her sonogram and handed me the results. I expected a growing fetus. What I saw was nothing. No baby, no biological matter; just an inexplicable void. The loss had caught us by surprise. Our boys had gone with her for the appointment, and Widget1 was with her in the room, trying to understand why he couldn’t see his little sister on the screen (we thought this one would be female). He still talks about her sometimes, and he asks questions about death. I watched him tell a complete stranger how he has a brother who lives with him and a sister who lives in heaven.
He doesn’t know about miscarriage #2. We’re in no hurry to tell him.
But I keep seeing that swing set. Now with two empty swings. And the boys swinging beside them. It’s like those macabre family portraits from the late 1800s that included deceased relatives dressed in their Sunday best.
Carl Sagan famously said that humans are star stuff. I think that’s a problem. Because the stars are fading and the galaxies are dying, and the soul wants to live forever. But if the dust is all there is, then at the end of it all, we’re just so many empty swings. And the cosmic joke laughing back at us through the vast depths of space is that the swings were built for riders who never were and never will be. Or maybe they’ve been there all along, and maybe life is more mysterious than a fuzzy blob on a sonogram.

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2 thoughts on “Miscarriage

  1. i’m so sorry, tony and misty. i guess i have nothing helpful to say, but i’ll remember you have four children.

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