If you listen closely, there are moments of silence that will touch deep within your soul. But, I haven’t always been able to truly hear those moments.
For me, the turning point was four years ago: The doctor makes an awkward face — like he doesn’t know what to do with his mouth — and suddenly he forgets how to look at me in the eye. He crosses and uncrosses his legs. I instinctively place a hand on my pregnant belly, just as he says the disjointed words, “your child ... incompatible with life ...” The silence that followed was deafening. Time seemed to stand still while the ticking on the clock seemed to get louder. Words were spoken, but, my brain only heard a buzzing silence as grief settled into my heart.
Four years later, I can still feel the emotional heft of that moment. But I have found a way to embrace it. You see, in my most desperate of times, I had been granted a delicate gift. My son willed me to live in the moment, to be my best self, to be in awe of the miracle of life and to bravely hold onto hope. I have chosen to live my best life in his honor. So, today, when I hear those moments of silence, I feel his presence and it takes my breath away. Those are the times I feel closest to him and I hope I’m living a life which makes him proud.
Jennifer Stubbs is the associate director of Volunteer Services for the Penn State Alumni Association and she is a lead facilitator for HEART of Central PA, an organization that provides support for individuals who have experienced pregnancy loss, stillbirth, infant death and/or fertility issues. This column is coordinated by www.ltlwys.org whose mission is to create educational and conversational opportunities for meaningful intergenerational exchanges on loss, grief, growth and transformation.