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 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.