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Miscarriage Notes, Part 6

alec vanderboom

Wednesday, "Hump Day."

Yesterday was tough. I signed the final contract for Leo's cemetery plot. Then I marked my son's grave. My stomach clenched when the funeral director said "Our final task today is to flag your son's grave."

It took a long time to buckle my two little girls into their car seats and drive to the "Babyland" part of the cemetery. While I was doing that familiar task, I felt self-doubt. I sort of started a mental argument with God. "I totally understand why people don't bury miscarried babies. Leo's so little. If he was full term and five pounds, I'd have to do something serious with his body inside an actual graveyard. But right now, this is sort of optional. It feels like I'm signing up for extra pain. Why am I being an idiot about this?"

God is crazy. That's what I believe as a Carmelite. His ways are not my ways. I walked to Leo's grave site. I saw a specific spot marked out with four green flags waving in the wind at the corner. I felt better. Immediately ahead of his grave was a freshly dug hole covered with flowers and a Winnie-the-Pooh bear. I asked how old the baby was. "He was really old. I think two."

"Okay," I thought. "That's your neighbor, Leo." I said a quick mental prayer for that family. Then the funeral director and I talked pragmatic stuff about Leo's grave stone. They were really cheap. The funeral home even offers a monthly payment plan. For less than the cost of diapers for an extra baby, in a few months we can get Leo a stone.

I felt good. We are going to get Leo a stone. My family can come here to this exact spot to pray. I more comfortable. I could better picture what it would be like to bury him at the funeral. I had a plan in place for after the funeral, too.

The director gave me a yellow flag. It had the name L. Benjamin and the date of his funeral. She handed it to me. I stabbed it in the muddy ground in the center of the invisible box marked with four green flags. I watched his name flutter in the wind. Then I turned and walked back to my car.

This grief is like body surfing in the ocean. Really bad. Followed by Feeling Okay. Sometimes even Feeling Good. It's tough not to rush ahead. I keep thinking "I've got this. I've got this." Then I crash mentally. Then I get humbled and think "This is really hard."

God is crazy.  Yet he's got my hand. This is his healing process. I'd like to fast-forward to "Feeling great all the time post-miscarriage." I'm slowly catching on that the fastest way to feeling true peace is to take a long hard look into all the hard stuff. Death is messy. Death is uncomfortable. Looking death straight in the face without fear  is the true capstone of our Christian Faith.

Today is Hump Day. There will be more hardwork to come.