To the one who held me close as my heart broke,
It hasn’t been easy lately. My heart has been cracked and splintered, and my body aches from loss. I feel bruised and beaten down, weary with grief and exhausted by the act of living without the child we created together.
I know that this hasn’t been easy for you either. You, too, feel the weight of this pain. From the moment I first showed you that pink-lined pregnancy test, your world changed, too. You wondered if you would be a good father, if you were ready for the responsibility of a little life held in your arms. You dreamed of the things you’d teach this little one, and of the ways you’d protect and defend him. You built a crib and bantered about baby names. You drove me to ultrasounds and doctors appointments, proudly showing off those blurry black and white photos. You took on extra work to help cover new-baby costs.
And then, when it all ended, you sat with me in the hospital. You held my hand as we cried together, clinging to one another.
Our voyage to parenthood ended quickly but right now, these tears of mine seem endless. I cry over the vegetables at dinner, and break down as we pass the baby aisle at the grocery store. I know it’s confusing at times. You don’t always know what’s wrong, or what triggers my sorrow; for the time being, this is just how I need to grieve. Let me bury my head in your shoulder and sob for what could have been, even when it garners odd looks from fellow shoppers. Even when you don’t understand.
We’re wired differently and because of that, we mourn differently. Our grief doesn’t always make sense to one another and sometimes it’s hard for me to remember that you’re grieving too. My grief is vocal and verbal, loud and messy. My bookshelf is full of books and journals on grief, my online presence flooded with fellow mourning mothers. This is what I need right now: validation that my baby’s life had meaning, and acceptance of the depth my grief has carried me.
Your grief sometimes seems quieter. Quicker. But I know it’s there. I see it in your eyes and feel it in the way you wrap your arms so tightly around me.
Whenever a casserole arrives at our doorstep, I hear that well-intentioned parade of neighbors ask you how I’m doing. You shelter me from questions too difficult for me to yet answer on my own, and your instinct to protect is fierce. But my heart aches over the fact that no one ever asks how you’re doing. It’s as if the world has forgotten that fathers grieve too and I worry that you’re not getting the support you need.
I know that the burden you carry is extra heavy. You see how this loss has devastated me, and it hurts you all the more to know that there is nothing you can do to fix this wound. You want to help shoulder these burdens, to pull me into your arms and alleviate the heartache. You want to carry my heartache as well as your own.
But I want you to know that you can’t fix this. I don’t want you to fix this. I just want you to sit with me and hold me close. To whisper that you love me and that you love the child we will never meet. To tell me that life was important and significant and had immeasurable value. To tell me that we will never forget that life.
Sometimes the emotions and hurt we carry gets in our way. There are days when I snap without reason, when I blame you for things that are simply extensions of my own bruised heart. We fumble around our loss, each trying to navigate our own pain without wounding one another further. Our marriage has been marked and creased by many things over the years, but this spot is heavy. This spot has the potential to either break us or draw us ever closer to each other.
So thank you for continuing to fight on our behalf. Thank you for giving me the gracious space to mourn for as long as I need to, in whatever way I need to. I promise to return that grace to you. I promise to keep choosing us—every day, no matter the pain. The days are long and dark but this road is easier with you by my side. We will face these fears and battles together, clinging to one another for support, and reminding and pointing each other to our eternal hope in Christ. Throughout the messiness of this grief, I will always chose you.
This journey is a difficult one but there is no one I’d rather do it with than you.
Your grieving but hopeful wife