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  • Helen Hawersaat

First Things First

Your feelings of grief are not a rejection of God



Less than two years into marriage, we are officially regulars at a funeral home. I think it's safe to say that this life has not been what we imagined at this moment. 🥂


Brian and I got married on September 23, 2017. On St. Patrick's Day 2018, I miscarried our first baby. I was six weeks pregnant, so his gender is only a hunch, but we named him Charlie. Three months later, I was rushed into emergency surgery with a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. The doctor removed my right Fallopian tube, and with it, my second baby, Marie.


100 blood tests, a dozen bottles of supplements, and a few doctors later, we conceived our third baby, Rose. Rosie made it to sixteen weeks, and I found out at my 17 week appointment that she no longer had a heartbeat. I delivered her body on April 25, 2019, after about 12 hours of induced labor.



If you have been here, you know that absolutely nothing can touch this pain. No matter when it happens, or how, or why. Nothing can compare to the pain of holding your dead baby in your hands. Nothing can compare to not getting to hold a baby at all. Nothing is worse than not knowing why it happened, and nothing is worse than knowing. Every single option you have is the worst possible option.


If you haven't been here, you've been there. Grieving a friend's suicide. Losing a sibling. Losing a parent. Losing a husband, a boyfriend, a Someone.


If you've been neither here nor there, chances are, you will be. Soon, maybe.



After losing each of my children, I've felt, and do feel, all of the Grief Things. Anger most of all: at my husband, my doctors, myself, pregnant women, people who say the wrong thing, legislators, God.


God. The God I know, who holds everything in existence at every moment, who numbers the hairs on my head, who gives the sparrows their nests, and the flowers their glory. The one who, ultimately, inescapably, let this happen.


The one who died on the Cross for me. What kind of a child of God was I, if I constantly had to fight off this anger? Was I so weak?



I remember one day when I was probably 2 or 3, being buckled into my car seat and driven to the grocery store, throwing a screaming, sobbing, kicking, out of control tantrum. I didn't really have some coherent reason for it, and I definitely couldn't calm down and see things from my mom's perspective. I wasn't questioning her love for me or my love for her, or her fundamental goodness as a human being. I wasn't cutting myself off from the family and going off to start my own life. I didn't hate her. None of that crossed my mind. I just REALLY, REALLY didn't want to go to the grocery store, okay? I HATED the grocery store. That was it. And boy, did I let her know it!


Saints always talk about being a child in the spiritual life, and for some reason, I've always pictured calm, clean, happy children, sitting quietly in somebody's lap. But you know what? Childhood is not all fun and games. If I am two, and tired, hot, hungry, and way past my limits, a giant tantrum is really all you can expect. Suffering well, suffering like a child of God, does not mean that you will feel less emotional pain. Feeling that pain and telling him about it does not mean that you are rejecting his love.


Absolutely losing it, I think, is just as much a part of being a child of God as anything else.

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