Space but not power

Grief continues to be a journey, a journey I’m probably less patient with than most of those watching me go through it.

I have been thinking a lot about grief in the sense of giving it space, but not giving it power.

Recently several friends from church have had babies. Every Sunday morning there are so many of these itty bitty new born babies all around. I have to admit the maternal part of me wants to hold all of them. For the last two years, I haven’t held new born babies. It’s not been out of a lack of desire. In fact, it’s the opposite. Everything in my being wants to hold, cuddle, and care for a little baby. My body and mind got ready for 40 weeks to do just that, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. But that desire never changed. It’s why I would lay on the grave, or sleep with his blanket. I so desperately desire to love, care, and be close to my son who was so far away. And two years later the desire remains almost as strong.

What kept me from holding the babies the past two years is that I gave grief power. Mainly it came in the form of fear: fear that holding a baby would trigger my memories of Enoch, fear that it would be too sad, fear that the baby I was holding would die, and fear that I would make Tim and friends sad by seeing me hold a little baby. There are a lot these thoughts and honestly they continue to role around in my head.

But several weeks ago on a Sunday morning I decided I didn’t want grief to have power. I didn’t want it to keep me from holding babies or engaging my friends who were pregnant. So I didn’t let it. I turned around to the little baby sitting behind me in church and held him this whole time! He was cute and sweet, and it was healing. Healing for me, and also his mom, who happens to call me mom. She was so excited I held him, that she posted on FB how “Grandma” was holding the little guy.

I didn’t give grief power.

But there still has to be space for grief. I didn’t know the next week would be hard with different kinds of loss (not death), but it felt like grief and triggered memories of Enoch so intensely. The exact following Sunday, Easter, was too much for me to bear. Between my week of the grief trigger, all the cute plaid shirts on the kids running around church, and the countless Easter photos, I hit a grief wall I haven’t hit since his birthday in December.

It resulted in an unsuspecting friend getting a decent dose of crying as she was in my path coming back from the restroom during church. It caused us to leave Easter dinner a little earlier than we normally would have. And the rest of the day ended with me in my bed and the phone off. I gave grief space, and I had to. I had to give myself some time to process my grief and miss Enoch.

Grief needs space, but it doesn’t need power. And this is me trying to figure out the two.

Here is my Easter picture with the little baby, his mom, and his sisters that I held the week before.

5 comments

  1. Oh, settle down my heart, that is feeling your pain and in awe of the insights God is giving you in this journey. Thank you for this gift of words describing the truth And being so authentic, sweet girl. Though many may not comment I know this helps others.

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  2. Noelle, your heart is so beautiful, and your pure vulnerability sharing such personal emotions is so brave— and so important. I still love you friend. You are the first friend who was willing to share her faith with me, and I cannot imagine how different my life could have been if you weren’t in it at such a difficult period in my life. I’ve been thinking a lot about the ripple effect and how our lives can impact others—even generations down the road. Your impact on youth, young adults, and their future families cannot be measured.

    I’m no expert in how anyone is “supposed” to grieve, but I think your process is unique and beautiful. You lean on God, your spouse, your family, and your friends, and you allow yourself to feel. I love that you are coming to a place where you can find joy once again, and that is a sign of healing—not forgetting. You are free to feel sorrow AND joy, and sometimes simultaneously!

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