I drove through the drive-through eager for sustenance after many hours walking with a grieving family who lost their baby. The sun, feeling warm and too bright at the same time.
“Have a great day!” the friendly worker said with a wide grin.
I nodded numbly, still touched by the raw pain of grief bearing. A little shell-shocked by the stark reality that the world dares to keep turning, while someone else, somewhere is facing a shattered world, shattered dreams.
I flashed to the grandmother’s question:
“How do you do this everyday? How do you not break down and cry?”
I remembered 18 and 17 years ago, when my own world stopped, and the startling injustice of the world’s cheeky resolve to keep turning when mine had come to a screeching halt, lying in helpless pieces in front of me. Because you heal in many ways. You join the spinning pace of planet earth in its relentless rotation. Sometimes maybe even finding comfort in the certainty of it. But you never forget.
“I’m carried. And I do feel it later. I do break down later. But this is your time, and it’s my job to make sure you are supported in this time. I’m also a mom who has said goodbye to her babies. And I know how much this time with your baby means. I want to give you the most we can.”
As I cried over the fast food I shouldn’t have been eating in the car after leaving, feeling the pieces of their pain mixed with my own that always come with the grief bearing, I smiled as I thought of the grandfather’s response after my reassurance that I do have emotion too, and feel the pain with them. I just save it for later.
He said, “I saw her tear up a little bit ago.”
It is a sacred privilege beyond what I can express to care for babies with brief lives and to walk with their families in that most precious time. A lifetime in moments. It is as healing as it is wounding to the soul who walks there bathed in love and grace and peace beyond our human understanding.