Throughout both of my pregnancies I feared miscarriage. I tried to commit myself to not entertaining such fears— I tried not to let them prevent me from falling in love. But in the back of my mind the fears were always there. I feared the loss and I feared the sadness but even more than the loss and sadness I feared my reaction to it. I feared I would regret allowing myself to fall in love. I feared I would feel that the love was wasted, that the hopes were silly, that the faith was futile. I feared I would become bitter. I feared I would feel like there was no point to it all if all it was going to do was end. I assumed I would yell to the Heavens in reaction to the senselessness,
Why did you give us this life only to take it away?
And I didn’t want to feel that. I didn’t want to yell that. Because it seemed like an unanswerable question and its unanswerableness seemed to deny God’s goodness. It seemed, in many ways, to deny everything. To deny all the good we do, all the love we have. Why give life, if only to take it away?
But now that it’s happened, the thing I so feared, I find I’m not yelling why. I’m not even whispering it. I’m not even wondering it.
And this is not because Baby Peace is in a “better place” though he/she probably is. It’s not because it just “wasn’t meant to be.” No. It certainly was meant to be. It is meant to be. Baby Peace is and always will be.
So I’m not wondering why we were given this life because I know why we were given this life— to fall in love with it entirely and completely with no reserve. We were given this life so we could give ourselves to it. Pour ourselves into it. Because that’s what we were made to do.
The second part of the question– only to take it away– no longer crosses my mind for I realize now that no life was taken away. A life was given, is given— in the grand scheme of things it is irrelevant that death came. After all, death comes to all. Death is a step in life. If you believe in eternity it is irrelevant whether death comes at eight weeks or eighty years.
Not to say that it doesn’t affect us with its timing. Of course it affects us. It hurts us. It changes us. Every death brings with it different types and degrees of sorrow. The time between now and the second part of eternity is a long one and it is hard one especially when we feel physically separated from those we love. But the timing still remains irrelevant to the philosophy of life. That is, that every human life is another addition to the family— another dimension of love. Every human life invites us to grow further into that love. And when we are given a human life to love and choose to partake in that love it can really never be taken away. Circumstances can separate us but eternity awaits us.
And so I do not know why Baby Peace died so soon. I do not know why Baby Peace only grew to the size of my fingertip and why I only have a black and white medical photo and a positive pregnancy test as proof of his or her existence. But I find that I do not really wonder and I do not need to know. If Baby Peace had lived longer I might have watched him or her pick a favorite color, say a first word, laugh, get married, have children— and as long as the choice was a good one, as long as Baby Peace was happy and at peace and surrounded by goodness I would not persist in questions like why did Baby Peace walk at ten months instead of eleven months? Why does Baby Peace like blue instead of yellow?? Why, why?! No. I would know that such a thing was simply the life path and I would choose to believe it all had a plan and purpose. And so I find this sort of firm assurance that Baby Peace’s death is just one— albeit dramatic and transformative— just one aspect of his or her life path. Baby Peace’s early entrance into Heaven has a real purpose and reason. I don’t need to know that purpose and reason. All I need to know is that Baby Peace is and always will be. All I need to know is that Baby Peace lives.
And I find that, to my surprise, I cannot help but rejoice. In fact, I find that the joy is even stronger than the sorrow. Somehow, it is not the utter gloom I so feared. It is not hopeless. It does not feel pointless. In fact, the whole thing has filled me with even more hope in the universe. For there is more life in the universe now. There is more love in the universe. There is another member of the human family, and another member of our little family. What an amazing reality that is! And so we miss Baby Peace. We hurt for what we do not get to see, what we do not get to watch, what we do not get to share with him or her. That hurts a lot. But the hurt is overwhelmed by the joy. Baby Peace is not gone. Baby Peace has not been taken away. I feel that truth, and I know it. And it brings me peace.