It was the second day of Arbonne's training conference. It also was the day I was scheduled to take a pregnancy test after our first month trying to conceive after Olivia.
The past several days felt like others' pregnancies and my loss were thrown in my face. Not in any sort of personal way. It's just tough to escape other people's fertility when you're in a crowd of several thousand women. Pregnancy was everywhere I looked.
The first thing I noticed when I opened my eyes that morning was that boobs weren't sore anymore. The day before they were KILLING me. And I was SOOOO sure this was it.
I knew what small, painless boobs meant -- but I didn't want to believe it. I took the test anyway -- and to my chagrin discovered that I was also spotting. And of course the test was negative.
I cried as I took a shower and got ready, but tried to keep it together as I rushed to the meeting. Within minutes of sitting, a video started playing.
The face of a well-known Arbonne consultant filled the screen, her arms cradling a tiny bundle. This woman had recently given birth to her baby, and the baby had been in the NICU. She was just sending the video to let us know that "OF COURSE" her baby was OK. And that she missed being with us that year.
Arbonne had NEVER played anything even remotely like that in a training session before -- and I was completely caught off guard. Thanks to my loss, and to the losses in my pregnancy loss support group, I happen to know that a baby's health can never be taken for granted.
There is no "OF COURSE" when it comes to life and death.
So, I did what any reasonable, PMS'ing, grieving woman would do. I rushed out of the stadium seats, practically crawling over my teammates' legs, and beelined it to the first open bathroom stall. Where I proceeded to bawl like a baby for the next 30 minutes.
"GOD!!!" My heart screamed in my chest. "Have you completely forgotten me??? Are you seeing this? Don't you care?"
My eyes remained bloodshot the rest of the day, and most of my perfectly applied eye makeup had run down to my chin in a grotesque Picasso kind of fashion.
I managed to keep most of the tears at bay for a better part of the day -- but then the moment my dear friend's mom asked how I was, the tears erupted yet again. We had a party still to attend, so I mopped up my newest Picasso painting, and applied as much makeup as I thought might cover up my pain.
When I think back of this journey of grief -- there are just certain days where the pain in my heart wasn't just a dull aching, or a generalized sadness. There were days where I literally felt like my heart was ripping in two. That was one of those days.
Another time of frustration in the first months of grief revolved around a gift (of all things.) My lovely sister Sarah sent me an acorn to plant in memory of Olivia. It would eventually grow into a huge weeping oak.
At least, that was the theory.
For 3 months, we watered that stupid acorn faithfully. But as each week passed, there was nothing. Nothing. Just a dead acorn to commemorate my dead daughter. Really, 1-800-FLOWERS -- really? I guess it seemed appropriate. Olivia's life was supposed to grow just like that tree into a magnificent creation. But life it seems, sometimes just likes to be cut short.
On March 2, 2012, I walked by that stupid acorn. And here's what I saw:
The start of a beautiful tree.
Life had started.
I didn't know it at the time. (I couldn't have.)
I didn't get to meet this little miss till she was almost a year old. During that time, we miscarried another baby, and had a failed foster placement. I truly thought I was forgotten by God.
But in His wisdom and love, He had already started to redeem my pain -- even as I was stuck in anger and disbelief. God had been actively working on his plan 6 months before we even got pregnant with Olivia.
Remember that day where my heart tore in two?
My baby was already almost 2 months old. I WAS NOT FORGOTTEN!!!
I don't know where you are at today. Maybe you are new in your grief. Maybe you're not 1 year out -- but 10 years or 20 years into your journey. Maybe you have received the gift of a child. Maybe you haven't.
No matter where you are, I want you to know that God has not forgotten you.
This week, I have been consumed with God's grace and mercy in my life. He has not taken away my pain. And even though He already had a plan, I fully believe God was with me every single step in this last year. He cried every tear with me.
As my faith sometimes faltered, He patiently bore it without judgement, knowing that my eyes and my heart simply couldn't see what He could.
Today, as I go forward, I find that not only do I WANT to trust in Him, I am absolutely compelled to.
My God is very good to me indeed.