In Her Shoes is a series written by readers to give us a glimpse into their lives – what it is like to walk in their shoes. Today I am honored to introduce you to my friend Tammy. She is sharing with us her story of learning to come together with her husband and healing after a horribly painful year. Let’s join our friend as she shares with us what it is like to be in her shoes. ~ Love, G
My family and I spent New Year’s Eve 1999, celebrating with food and fireworks. Everyone was anxious as to what would happen when the new millennium made its appearance. The media, as they are wont to do, created quite a frenzy leading up to that day and the world sat by and watched as midnight came and went around the globe without a hint of the chaos it was slated to bring. No lights went out, no computer systems crashed and we all breathed a sigh of relief and began to look forward to what the new year would bring.
Little did we know as we celebrated away the night that the events of 2000 would be the most difficult our family had yet to experience…
Throughout our eleven year marriage we had experienced events that were life-changing and incredibly difficult. As a couple, my husband and I joined forces, and forged on, with God’s help. We muddled through our days, grieving, working, enjoying the good, laughing, and crying together.
However, one event that happened in the year 2000 ended up being the most difficult of our marriage. Our daughter was eight and we were past our plan of having another child by a couple of years. On my husband’s birthday, in April, I took a pregnancy test, which was positive, and presented him with the best present he had ever received. We were expecting and were over the moon!
I made an appointment with my OB and, with a routine sonogram, our hopes were dashed. He informed me that it wasn’t a “viable pregnancy” – I still have a difficult time wrapping my mind around those words – but we would give it a couple of weeks and he wanted me to return for another sonogram to be absolutely positive that he was correct. My heart was broken in a way it never had been before. I couldn’t talk about it and didn’t even share it with my closest girlfriends.
Life went on around me as the days turned into weeks, and my second sonogram confirmed that I wouldn’t be meeting my child until we are united in Heaven. I was scheduled for a D and C and my husband and I left the doctor’s office.
As in most marriages, we are very different in many aspects. We have different personalities, but up to that time, we had worked to complete the other person. I am realist, he is not. He is very emotional and forthright in his response to tragedy, I am private…VERY private. He lets it all hang out (so to speak), I retreat to somewhere I can be alone to release and sort out my emotions. I didn’t really understand the importance of understanding another person’s grieving process, and that despite the “five step process”, there is no cookie-cutter way in which we process our grief.
Upon leaving the doctor’s office, we were traveling down a busy city street. The intensity in the vehicle was mounting. I don’t remember the conversation other than one particular part. We were stopped at a stoplight and I remember saying, “You act like I am some hard-hearted person and that doesn’t care.” He responded, “I don’t think you do.” My already breaking heart shattered.
In the weeks to come, we found a way to come together as a couple and a family. We talked to others who had experienced the grief of miscarriage. We released a balloon in a very private ceremony all our own to begin a type of closure to our dreams of expanding our family. I added a sterling silver pair of baby boots and heart to my mother’s bracelet. Those tangible actions helped us begin to heal.
I remember in talking to other women, being able to tell by look in her eyes when she told me how sorry she was, if she had traveled the same road I was currently traveling. I had never before and haven’t since experienced anything like that. I received some excellent help from those women. The one thing that helped me most was something a co-worker told me. She said that every year around the time of her miscarriage she would find herself “unexplainably” grouchy and emotional. She would, after a time, realize that it was time that she had suffered her miscarriage. That was so very true. The first year was especially difficult for me.
One of the biggest lessons through my miscarriage was that even those we love are built differently than we are. That person we have pledged our life to and love and care for, is a different person, with different life experiences and many times drastically different at handling their emotions. No one is right, no one is wrong. It is imperative that we make allowances for that and not expect for someone to feel or react like we are. Since those emotions and reactions are different than what we experience, they are sometimes impossible for us to wrap our minds around. In those times, we have to accept by faith that what they are doing and saying, or not doing and saying, is exactly what they need. Give the other person the space that they need to process and heal. It is also imperative to find common ground, to process, and to heal together. The balloon experience in our story was very meaningful to my husband, but didn’t hold as much meaning for me. I am glad that we did it – it helped him begin to heal and was a special moment for all of us. The additions to my bracelet are two of the most important pieces of property that I own.
They hold great meaning, and most likely that meaning is for me alone. Over the last 14 years, other tragedies have come our way. Having learned a great deal about ourselves, each other, and tragedy through the experience of our miscarriage, we were able to come together and make it through these times, leaning on God as our ultimate stronghold.
Thank you so much, Tammy, for sharing your story with us today. Reading how you and your husband were able to come together through your loss, and how you learned to lean on the Lord is something that I’ll never forget.
To read more stories, or if you are interested in sharing your story, please go to the In Her Shoes tab near the top of the page. I love learning about the people in this series. Connecting with others seems to make the world feel not quite as big and scary. We’re all in this together. I can’t wait to hear from you, to read your stories, and learn more of what it is like to walk in your shoes. ~ Love Ginger
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