Tears, Loss, and Daffodils

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It’s daffodil season.
Every time I see that first bunch of them in the market, I catch my breath, and feel the tears filling my eyes.
4 years ago when we lost our 4th baby, I was given many beautiful bouquets of daffodils.
And so they became my baby’s flower.
They are a sweet reminder of the care I received at time when I was broken hearted.
But they are also a reminder of the little person that I never got to know.
4 years later, I still cry for that baby.
Those yellow blossoms are heavy with feeling, sorrow and joy mingled together.

I’m still surprised at the sometimes intensity of my grief.
In the beginning, when I could finally get through a day without dwelling on the loss constantly, I felt guilty.
How could I live my life normally after losing a baby?
And then, years later, when I suddenly find myself sobbing about a long past miscarriage, I feel guilty about that.
Should I still feel the hurt like this?
Is it right for me to feel this way when there is so much goodness in my life?
And besides, other people have losses much greater than mine.
It seems no matter what I feel, I struggle with finding an explanation for it, a justification.
As if I need one.

After we lost our baby, well meaning people assured me there’d be more babies.
And then, after Davy was born, other well meaning people said we could be glad because we never would have had Davy if it weren’t for the baby we had lost.
I understand what they were trying to say.
And I wouldn’t trade my wild Davy boy for the world.
But please, please, understand something, the gain of one wonderful thing does not erase the loss of another.

Oh I know we should count our blessings.
And I know we should be grateful for the way God brings goodness out of brokenness.
That is redemption, and redemption is the most beautiful thing in this broken world.
But don’t you think God cries over the brokenness too?
I do.
He was with me in my tears.
He still is.
And it’s OK to cry.
Even when we reach that point where we can say, “I’m am so sad about that, but I am so glad for this.  This goodness which has come after such sorrow.”
Even then, in our gladness, we are allowed to acknowledge the loss that is still there.

I have been a crier my whole life.
I cry because of beautiful things.
I cry over broken ones.
I cry when I look at my husband and children because I love them so much.
I cry when I am sad, happy, mad, when I’m reading a good book, or when I know a friend, or a stranger, is hurting.
I used to be ashamed of my tears.
I was embarrassed.
But I’m not any more.
My tears don’t mean I am weak.
They mean I feel deeply all the goodness and the hurting this life holds.

I still miss my baby.
I think I always will.
And that is how it should be.
I will never forget a friend who told me, with tears in her eyes, that she still felt the pain of a baby lost 20 years ago.
What a gift she gave me.
She gave me the freedom to cry for as long as I need to.

Four years later, I am learning that I don’t have to explain away this sadness I still feel.
I can walk through the days of spring with joy in my heart because life is beautiful and full of much goodness.
My eyes can fill with tears of happiness when I spend a beautiful day in the sun with my 4 sweet babies.
But I can also sit still in the waves of sadness that wash over me at this time of year.
I don’t have to fix it, pretend it isn’t there, or wonder what is wrong with me.
I can cry tears over a love lost.
I will wipe them away, but I won’t stop them from coming.

I love the poem, On Another’s Sorrow, by William Blake.
It talks of how we should be with one another in our pain–that we should sorrow with one another.
Like the friend who came to me with arms full of daffodils, and a candle.
She sat next to me on the couch and cried with me.
She was with me in the hurting.
But the poem speaks also of Another who is with us in our sorrow.
In those times when no one is there to see us cry.
When everyone else has forgotten, or we just can’t share the hurt.
When we’re crying over a lost baby, aging parents, a failing marriage, financial woes, loneliness, a child with special needs, or feelings of desperation, He is there, crying with us.
You aren’t alone.

The last stanza of the poem really speaks to me.
O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.”
To you who are hurting, may you find joy.
And until then, may you make peace with your sorrow, and know you are not alone in it.

All the best,
Greta

*The beautifully illustrated quote is by the amazing artist, Lisa Congdon.
*And if you are interested, here is the full poem by William Blake:
On Another’s Sorrow

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear -

And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear?

And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.
Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear -

And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear?

And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.

 

9 thoughts on “Tears, Loss, and Daffodils

  1. Rachel Reeves

    My anniversary was on March 12th. This week.
    And I cried, 7 years later.
    And I will each year.

    But the Lord! He brings so much joy!

    Reply
  2. Denise

    You are reminding me of a statement made by a Prof. I once had Who spoke of the importance of saying “and” rather than “but.” In other words, I am sad for that AND happy about this. One thing need not replace or erase the another.

    Reply
  3. Betsi

    On April 5th it will be four years since my baby girl entered into Glory. Leaving me with empty arms and heavy heart. While we look forward with joy to our heavenly reunion, it is right and acceptable that we grieve the empty place at the table. They were fearfully and wonderfully made and they are worthy of our tears.
    Love you, dear friend. You are in my prayers.

    Reply
  4. Angie

    So sorry for your loss. This post is beautiful, and daffodils hit me with longing for my lost babies every year too. Four years ago, after back to back losses, I sobbed in the rain one fall planting bulbs and grieving. Now they bloom every spring, and I cry again, and thank The Lord for my darling two year old boy, and miss the children that should be here but aren’t. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  5. Cindy

    It will be 28 years for me this Easter. Easter is my daffodil. At first I mourned every spring and would retreat far into myself, but then I learned the power of forgiveness and strength and hope. Our past cannot be changed but it truly molds us into the phenomenal women that we are.

    Reply
  6. Anna

    I just happened to find this post, as though I was led here while thinking of my losses. I go on every day with no chance of comprehending what I lost and then all of as sudden I burst into to tears, and God sends me comfort! Amazing! Only he knows my heart. No one else, not my husband, not my children, not my family. Just him, without words, without anything. He just knows!

    Reply

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