The invisible causes changes in the visible.
The visible gives evidence of the invisible.
I am altered.
The course of my life is altered.
My heart expanded to let four children in. When parents of a single child are expecting their second, they wonder “How can there be room in my heart for another?” After the second baby is born, that answer comes easily: your heart expands.
Even though I never met my daughters, it does not mean that I loved them less. It simply means that I did not know them as well. But like all parents have for their children, I had dreams for them. I made plans. Underneath the blanket of fear, I still let my mind explore the impact that they would have on the world.
And they did have an impact, just a different one than I imagined. I am changed.
The world can see shape of them in me.
My heart carries them perfectly. My eyes see all four of my children playing. My hands capture words to honor them. My feet keep walking forward. My mind processes the stages of grief, sometimes with understanding, sometimes with confusion, sometimes quietly, sometimes screaming. My throat swallows both deep, calming breaths and sobs. My soul has evolved in its dimensions.
In the remarkable book Cry, Heart, but Never Break by Glenn Ringtved, Death tells a story about two brothers, Grief and Sorrow, who marry two sisters, Joy and Delight. “They all lived to be very old. When the time came to die, Grief and Joy did so on the same day, as did Sorrow and Delight. Their happiness together had been so great that they couldn’t live without each other. It is the same with life and death. What would life be worth if there were no death? Who would enjoy the sun if it never rained? Who would yearn for the day if there were no night?”
In my losses, I have broken down preconceived notions I had about grieving. I have found a community of people who must be support for each other, and who share something that the rest of the world cannot understand. I have learned to write a little more bravely. I have opened myself to new angles of navigating the course of my life. Since I cannot change what has happened, to say that I wished I were not grieving would be to say that I regret the lives of my daughters, and that is not true. My pain reflects how much they were loved.
All of the above reflections and acceptance are probably something that I could write only on Easter morning, a day to rejoice that Life does not end in Death. That a parent’s love was so infinite that He watched His son die. Today, I can allow steady, sustaining air into my lungs.
One day you’ll look to see I’ve gone
For tomorrow may rain, so I’ll follow the sun