Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Shattered Dreams

Yesterday evening before I came home from work, I felt so compelled to go to the cemetery. I felt like I was being called there. Called to visit, and called to find closure. Called to a place that I had only been to once before. A place where I have never taken flowers, and to a place that I was unsure of where I was going, or could even find again.

The cemetery was beautiful. I parked my car outside a small chapel that was surrounded by fountains, tucked deep in the middle of the cemetery. Flowers and shrubs and small brick paths wound around all sides and ended with concrete benches that had scripture engraved upon them. I had only been inside the chapel once before, five years ago.

I don't remember if I ever told anyone about this little chapel that only held twelve short cushioned pews and a tiny little white coffin, so small that I could have carried it myself. On top, a single white rose with nine delicate white ribbons decorated the little box. This tiny little coffin held my unborn baby, and eight others.

There were four other couples in the chapel with us, and four other Mothers and Fathers that didn't come. This doesn't make them bad, it only made them not present. For I am sure they had shattered dreams too.

One particular young woman I noticed was so visibly upset that she could hardly sit there. She was sobbing out loud and her husband comforted her. Tears streamed down his face as he held onto her. After the prayer service, and after they announced each couples name that had lost their baby, we moved on to the cemetery. We walked, each holding the tiny white ribbon that was all that was left of our dreams. Surrounding us were other little graves .... all from The Women's Hospital, all little graves from other lost dreams. This hospital has a wonderful bereavement program, and they opt to have these services, and to have a burial if the parents so choose. The nurse in charge of this service, Darlene Inman RN helped me to feel like the child I lost had a home. He was somewhere that I knew would always be there. Somewhere that I could find peace in knowing that he had existed.

I spoke with the woman that was so visibly devastated with her loss. Her name was Tracy. She lived close to me, and she had miscarried twice before. We exchanged phone numbers and stayed in contact for a couple of years ... then lost touch. I heard through the grapevine that Tracy went on to have a son.

My husband and I were so devastated by our miscarriage, and we had kept our heartbreak to ourselves. We didn't share our plan with our families to go to the memorial service for the unborn babies that were lost, and buried together in a tiny white coffin. It was awkward for them, and as time went on, for them it was over. They didn't share our grief, or even begin to comprehend our loss.

Like a small piece of a precious treasure that was snatched from us, before we were able to reach out and grasp it, we lost it. I miscarried at nine weeks. A week after we saw that tiny heart beat. A week after we had chose a name. A week after we had a made a world full of plans, for this tiny little being, that wasn't meant to be. The dream of having this child was gone. We had planned his life. We had talked about how our lives would change, and how this child would grow up on this farm and would be so special. Von had waited all his life to become a Father, and his dream of having his son with him vanished as quickly as it came, very unexpectedly.

So the drive to have a child bloomed and grew. We suffered two more devastating miscarriages over the next year. Then we successfully had our triplets: Sam, Jay and Meg. I was told once by a nurse I worked with, when we found out that we were having triplets, that God was giving back what was taken from us.

I still remember my due dates and still remember the dates I miscarried. I never thought this would happen to me. A woman that had successfully carried and delivered four healthy children almost twenty years before. A woman that was stunned to complete heartbreak.

I had been told to not have hope. To guard my heart. To not buy things for this baby. I was not at a safe point yet. But the maternal drive is strong ... stronger than anything I've ever experienced, from the very first moment that I knew this little being existed inside of me. And I had lost him, or her. It hurt.

Today I found that little grave. There were fresh flowers there. Someone else had come to visit. Someone else with a shattered dream. Someone else was called there, and someone else was remembering. I wondered if it was the young woman named Tracy that obliviously was very heartbroken by the loss of her unborn child, or was it one of the others. I also found the graves of the other two babies that we lost. Just larger than a brick, a flat little bronze stone marked where they each lay. There was only a date and a tiny pair of wings engraved on each stone. No names, but lots of shattered dreams lay there, just outside of baby land, under a little tree, not far from that peaceful little chapel that I sat in five years ago.

Tomorrow I will return with flowers ... and I will never forget them. I will pray for them and let them know that they have brothers and sisters, and my heart still yearns for them.

Be Blessed,