The Way of Sorrow

You know how, when you talk to someone every day, you never seem to run out of things to say?  The daily minutiae is not too small, and even the discussion of a new brand of coffee creamer does not feel like wasted air between you. But as the frequency of your interaction fades, as you find yourself wondering "when was the last time I spoke to so-and-so," it gets harder to know where to pick up.  There's more to say, really, but somehow it feels like there are fewer words on your tongue.  Where does one even start to fill in everything that has been missed between you?

So it is, I have learned, with the page and me.  The more I write, the more I have to write.  And the less I write, the less I can think of to say.

You would think, after launching this blog at a time of grief over a lost pregnancy, after talking about the often unspoken aftermath of miscarriage and the slow return to feeling like some semblance of myself; you would think after leading with that massive dark cloud, I would run back here to talk about being pregnant again.  You would think I'd have plenty to say.  You'd thing it would feel like picking up a conversation right where it left off.

But instead I have gone quiet, and the words that were once my comfort feel foreign to me now.  In truth, I have been holding my breath, waiting for another round of sorrow to find me, fearing the worst and terrified to give words, give life, to that caustic venom of fear.

I sit here caught between the miracle and the messiness of it, alternating between thinking how there's a tiny thing inside me sucking the energy right out of me and thinking there's a tiny person inside me who can now hear my voice, can now smile and frown, can now perceive light even though eyelids that won't open for two more months.  I sit here feeling the first stirs of movement, the faintest signs of life bumping almost imperceptibly around inside my abdomen.  I sit here all by myself and not alone at all, two hearts beating away as I sit in my office chair and use my lunch break to look for the words I've lost.

And I sit here listening to the Wailin' Jennys sing about coming "By Way of Sorrow" over and over again.  I wonder if this maudlin and yet strangely hopeful lullaby will be the first this baby hears me sing:
"You have come by way of sorrow,
You have come by way of tears,
But you'll find your destiny
Meant to find you all these years."
I sit here thinking how grief gets into everything, like one drop of red food coloring that colors everything, turning everything pink no matter how much you water it down or thin it out with joy and peace and laughter.  There is no way to remove the mark of grief on our lives.  But that's only part of the story because there is also no way to remove the buoyancy of hope, even when I try to tamp it down, even when I beg the hope to stay packed away because I cannot bear the letdown if I get carried away, pulled up in its ascent and then dropped back to the earth again.

From the moment I got my drugstore prophecy, two pink lines and a racing heart, I have begged to keep my feet on the ground.  I have tried so desperately to stay tethered down here where the fear and the grief live, down on the hard earth, because it's so much easier to live here than to fly up and off in a whirl of excitement only to bruise my tailbone on my way back down.  It would be so much easier not to get my hopes up, but up is just kind of what hope does.

And though I have not had the words for it yet, not perhaps until today, I dream with aching arms of holding this child.  I will its existence with prayers more fervent than I have ever spoken.  I look at pictures of nurseries and read reviews of baby products online, painting an elaborate picture of how this child will be welcomed home: dressed and cradled, laid to rest, nursed, bathed, rocked, carried.  All the ways it will be loved.

So I will sing about coming by way of sorrow, and I will marvel that this baby might be hearing the tune.  I will sing about the fear and the sadness, but I will also sing about the hope, and I will remember that neither one is the final story.  I have come by way of both just as, Lord willing, this child will come by way of both.  Born of pain to our tears of joy, the first step in a cycle that will always include both, as long as we are in this world.  And as I sing, I will hold out the last verse, the verse that I pray is a forecast for us and for this child:
"All the nights that joy has slept
Will awake to days of laughter.
Gone the tears that you have wept,
You'll dance in freedom ever after."

Photo Credit, used under Creative Commons License


  1. Liz, I hope all is well with you and your pregnancy. I experienced (and blogged through) miscarriage after getting pregnant for the 4th time. I found myself gripped with fear during my 5th pregnancy and really felt like I could breathe only after they handed him to me, at last. Now, we're all here. Praying the same for you, this day.


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