It was now late October, the 25th to be exact, and suddenly I found myself lying on an ultrasound table, with my husband and little girl at my side, staring at a screen displaying my dead baby. What was supposed to be a wonderful and exciting 20 week ultrasound had now turned into every mother’s biggest fear. In the blink of an eye the sympathy I felt for my friend transformed to empathy, and the sorrow I felt for her and every family who has ever lost a child, skyrocketed. In that moment my relationship with her changed forever. I was now “in” the club. In our pain and sorrow we were now bonded. Today, she is one of my closest friends. She is my sister. We are members of a club that no one wants to be in.
It has been almost 4 years since I delivered our dead baby. In that time I have learned many things about the club. First, it is a much larger club than I had ever imagined. After I joined, countless women came out of hiding to share with me their own stories of pain and loss. Young women who had suffered miscarriages in recent years. Women who had lost grown children. Women who had lost children many, many years before, and who had never told a single soul, because well, “in those days we just didn’t’ talk about these things”. All of us in the same club, filled with a sorrow and sense of loss that only we can fully understand. It didn’t matter if the loss was days or decades old, the wounds were still there. I quickly learned that while the pain dulls, and the wounds scab over, they never fully heal. Each and every time another mother experiences this unique loss, the scabs are torn open and the wound is once again exposed.
These women, the club members, gave me strength. I understood that I was not alone. I never wanted to be a member of this club, but I am very grateful for the support of those who have been there. Not because we didn’t have support from others. We did. We were flooded with support. I am eternally grateful for the group of friends and family who were there, and continue to be there for us, who are not club members. They “get” it too, just on a different level.Very recently a new member was initiated to the club. It is my turn to be a support to this beautiful soul, mourning the loss of her son. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last, and I never quite know what to say. There are no words to take the pain away, but I can listen and pray, and I can share my own experience. It helps to know that you are not alone and that others have traveled the same road, carrying the same cross that you now bear.
God is great and brings good out of every evil, and the loss of a child is no exception. There is hope for all club members. We just have to trust in God’s Perfect Plan and know that He can take our suffering and turn it into something more beautiful than we can ever imagine. I like to imagine our baby playing in the arms of The Blessed Mother. She, who is the perfect mother. She, who was there at the foot of the cross. She, who knows so intimately the pain of losing a child. She, who is the original club member. Perhaps when you think of it that way, it is an honor to be a member of the club.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.