Grief Together


After my second miscarriage many years ago, a coworker told me I should really be careful about announcing pregnancy before it was safe because, "it affects them too."  In the last week, another person told me that I "really needed to consider that my choices [referring to us continuing to be prayerfully open to additional children] affect a lot more than just us."

Both comments rubbed me the wrong way when I heard them and they still grate on my raw nerves a little even just writing them down again.

On one hand, I guess they are correct.

Our life's choices have caused pain to other people.

On the other hand, do they honestly hold me responsible for the pain in their lives?  Like somehow their life would be happy if only I made choices that they approved of? Have they lived their life in such a way that they have never inadvertently caused pain to another person?

Is that even possible?

I do think it is important to think about how the choices we make moving forward in the months following Siena's brief life affect a small group of people.




That's it.

That's who's wellbeing we will prayerfully consider in our future decisions.  We will not consider how our choices affect anyone else, because anyone else has the ability to walk away.

That probably sounds harsh, but hear me out.  When someone else has pain in their lives we have a choice.  No matter how close of a family member it is.  No matter what the kind of pain is.  We can choose to walk away.

Or we can choose to stay.

We can choose to make a meal, scrub a toilet, help with daycare or dogcare.  We can offer our prayers, our monetary assistance, send flowers or cards.  We can go to a funeral and support the family even if it is uncomfortable or hits close to home.  We can listen, and even cry with our loved ones or even a stranger.  We can read and comment on blog posts or pictures that push us outside our comfort zone.

We can make grief better together.

There are people in my life right now who are taking many approaches to our grief.  Some are choosing to stay and show up before I even think to ask... others are preferring to stay an arm's length away or are telling us how we could be doing "better", either now or in the future.

I am choosing to focus my energy on those who are choosing to stay.

Those who are loving Siena, grieving for Siena, and remembering Siena with us.

Tim and I are in this grief business together.

We are sorry (I mean this honestly) that our story has caused you pain or makes you uncomfortable.  We are not sorry, however, if Siena pushes you outside your comfort zone and encourages you to grow or try something new.  We have already begun hearing how her story has impacted YOUR stories.  How her strength and endurance has become your strength and endurance.  How eyes have been opened to certain harsh cultural realities.

I will not apologize for that.

Because grief is not the only thing that is better together.

Stories woven together, through good and bad, make life better together too.


Meghan said...

I know I've shared this with you before, but a friend's public grief is why Felicity is here. I don't know what it's like to have a stillborn, because my dear friend did not hide her mourning from us. I will be forever grateful to her every time I look at Felicity...and that's not just sentiment. My friend's baby shares a birthday with Kenna (just a different year) so I've always felt a connection with you before we officially knew each other.

Siena's life has reminded me of how love hurts, but how important it is to love fiercely anyway. Your courage and the life that you have shared with us has made me love you even more! I know you know this, but you and Tim alone, in prayer, are the only ones allowed to make decisions for your family. The comments sting nonetheless.

We pray for you every night. Veronica (our little fiery redhead) never forgets.

The Teska's said...

Thank you for sharing your story... Has my heart ached for you and have tears come to my eyes almost every time I see a picture of Siena ( not necessarily because they always make me sad, but because it gets me every time how incredibly precious she is!)... Yes, it does, but I would not have it any other way! ... Allowing me to share in your grief in little ways and to offer my prayers for your family is a privilege, thank you. As always, prayers<3

Lisa Steger said...

Oh Heidi,

Although this is not a journey I would ever wish on anyone to have to experience, you have handled it with such grace. Don't let other people's inability to handle this change how you live your life or how you allow others to share in your grief with you.

There's not a day that goes by where you guys are not in my thoughts and Siena as well. Sure, there's a bit of sadness there, but there is also so much more. The outpouring of love that you have seen through Siena's story is so important and not without merit.

And, you also know our story. ;)

Lisa Steger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer Marie Lawrence said...

Hi Heidi,
I've been following your sad story and praying for you and your family. I don't often leave comments - just because of lack of time - but I wanted to reassure you that I agree with you.
We are meant to be there for one another. That's God's plan. It takes true unselfish love (Christ-like love) to care for another person when they hurt, because it will hurt us, too. People today forget the need for sacrifice.

Pregnancy is a blessing that should ALWAYS be celebrated. God has created a new person to help show His wisdom and spread His word. (Weather the new person does that in action, prayer, or just being) Why wait to announce the good news till you are sure everything is okay? That's silly. Celebrate the time they are here even if it is a short time.

No man is an island, we will always effect one another. - That's God's wonderful plan, it makes us grow.

God Bless you, your family, and all those who are helping you get through this.