A Tiny Set Of Wings

It’s funny how you can be on top of the world one moment, then something comes along and just completely knocks the wind out of your sails.  Okay, it’s not really funny.  Not in the least.  But it’s part of life, so we deal with it.  At least we try.

As I began today’s blog, I was pretty upbeat.  It was, after all, a really good weekend.  Friday’s post was given top billing by the folks at WordPress, and almost 10,000 views later, people are still responding.  As a writer, not much can compare to the feeling that you’ve written something meaningful, something that struck a chord with people and somehow made their day better.

And I have to admit, today I was feeling the pressure to come back today with something equally insightful and a little more entertaining.  Somebody tickled my funny bone today, and the words were flowing freely.  I was two-thirds finished when the phone rang.

Last week I said we have another granddaughter on the way.  She was to have arrived sometime in August, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.  Saturday night we were joyfully looking at ultrasound pictures that showed a developing baby sucking her thumb.  Today her little heart has stopped, and my daughter is on her way to the hospital to deliver a memory – along with a huge chunk of her own heart.

I could say I’ve been through this before, because I have.  When I was in the Navy, my wife had a miscarriage toward the end of the second trimester.  And I’ve sat with my oldest through a few miscarriages of her own.  It’s heartbreaking.  It’s painful.  As I said, it knocks the wind out of your sails.  And the first question that comes to mind is “why?”

The truth is, we may never know.  Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, and some of them leave us devastated.  And sometimes, there’s no rhyme or reason.  There may be a medical explanation.  I hope somebody can tell us what went wrong.  But sometimes we have to just accept things as part of a master plan, or to know that no matter how bad things are today, the sun will come up tomorrow.

Every experience in life teaches us something.  Months after my wife’s miscarriage, I was in a pretty deep depression.  By then, my ship had deployed on a seven-month cruise.  The Indian Ocean is a great place to collect your thoughts.  It’s also a great place to dwell on them.  I went through the motions each day, but I was pretty much an empty shell.

Then one night, the chaplain visited one of my best friends to let him know his 10-month old son had passed away.  I remember looking at him as he got ready to fly home, not knowing what to say.  I remember thinking how hard it must have been to hold your baby, to bond with it in person, and then lose it.  And how much harder it must be to find out through somebody you’ve never met while you’re in the middle of the ocean, halfway around the world.

As I lay in bed that night, I said a prayer for my friend, and his wife and two daughters.  And I asked God to forgive me for all the time I spent feeling sorry for myself.  Because I knew the hurt I felt at our own loss was nothing compared to what it could have been.  It’s amazing how life can put things in perspective.

I wish I could be with my daughter right now, to hold her in my arms and let her know how deeply we share her pain.  I think as a parent, one of the hardest things we can experience is seeing our children hurt.  We want two things for them – health and happiness.  Everything else takes a back seat.  And few things can bring me to my knees faster than seeing my daughters cry.

It’s at times like this when I realize some of the things I’ve focused on in the past just aren’t that important.  She’s made some decisions I didn’t agree with, and there have been lots of times I wish she had been more focused on what I considered “more worthy” goals.  And right now, none of that matters. 

Sometimes people refer to bringing a child into the world as “giving them life.”  Yet all too often, we don’t give them the freedom to live their life.  I’m not saying we should let them do anything they want.  There have to be ground rules, and as parents it’s up to us to keep them out of danger and out of jail.  We need to make sure they go to school, eat their vegetables, and say please and thank you.

But beyond that, there has to be a point where we step back and let them make their own decisions.  I guess it’s possible to keep a baby from ever falling down.  But in the process, they would never learn to walk.  As parents, we know they’ll get their share of bumps and bruises.  We know they’ll break one of Mom’s favorite plates, or scribble on the walls.  And though we do everything we can to keep that from happening, we know it’s all part of growing up. 

There are no words I can think of right now that would ease my daughter’s pain.  I’ve been there, and I understand her request that we all keep our distance for a while.  People will offer well-intended thoughts, like “Things happen for a reason” or “It’s all part of God’s plan.”  And while those things are true, they just don’t offer a lot of comfort at times like this. 

And as a parent, that’s one of the hardest things to accept.  I can’t fix this.  I can’t make it better.  I can’t make the hurt go away.  All I can do is let her know we’re here, and that we share her pain.  And even that’s a hard concept to understand, sharing pain.  Because it’s not like we’re taking any of her pain on ourselves.  When it comes to pain, we all get some of our very own.

We’ll get through this, and I know she will, too.  It’s been said that time heals all wounds.  I don’t think that’s completely accurate, because the scars will always be there.  But after a while, they don’t hurt so much any more.  All that’s left is a reminder of a day when things weren’t so going too well. 

I don’t really know where I’m going with all of this.  As a writer, one of the first things we learn is to organize our thoughts and figure out what it is we’re trying to say.  And right now, I’m just letting my thoughts spill out, hoping that it all comes together in a way that makes a little sense.

And through it all, I have to remember that I have a lot for which to be thankful.  I’m thankful that I have the ability to write, to pour my thoughts out instead of keeping them bottled up inside.  I’m thankful for each of you, who lend me an ear so to speak, and let me know somebody is listening. 

But most of all, I’m thankful that I can say two very simple but wonderful words – “my daughter.”  I have two daughters, and they’ve brought more joy to my life than I could ever express.  I’ve laughed with them and I’ve cried with them.  I’ve bragged of their successes, and agonized over their mistakes.  But most of all, I’ve been blessed to feel the love that we share. 

And that’s what will get us through this day.  The sun will shine tomorrow.  Maybe just a little, but it will shine.  And in the days to come, it’ll shine even more.  And someday, this will be a faint memory.

And as for our little angel – we’ll get to hold her in our arms someday.  Just not today.

Copyright 2011 – Dave Glardon

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About Health and Humor - by Dave Glardon

Dave Glardon is a writer, speaker, and stand-up comedian. He has written hundreds of articles relating to humor in our world, and has performed for audiences across the entire United States. In this blog, he shares his insights with the goal of helping you achieve a higher level of physical and mental well-being through a healthy sense of humor.
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45 Responses to A Tiny Set Of Wings

  1. Ken Glardon says:

    Very well put. You will definitely get to hold her one day. It’s sad and unfair, but it will be OK in the end. We’ll be with all of our loved ones then. You all have my prayers.

  2. Sue Reynolds says:

    Dave – I’m so sorry! Had I know you received this news today I’d have walked right over there and hugged you.
    Sue

  3. Jan from Montana says:

    My heart cries with you and your family Dave. You’re right, the scars are there forever. But they do lessen with time. So do the tears.
    There may be a reason, although it damned well better be a good one. And I don’t think it’s “God’s Plan” either.
    Out here on the ranch, where I’ll admit we’re a bit earthy at times, we have a saying that covers it: Shit happens. You shovel it and go with life.
    I do know how your daughter feels. In my younger days I was pregnant 23 times and I have 3 kids. That’s not good odds…
    Love and hugs and prayers going

  4. Sharon says:

    Dave, So sorry to hear of your sorrow. Peace, love, joy and healing energy going to all involved.
    You expressed your thoughts so eloquently. It deeply touched my heart.

  5. Diana Brynlee says:

    All I can offer you and your daughter right now is a virtual hug. Words at this point would be meaningless.

  6. chlost says:

    I don’t know you, but I feel your loss. I know that your daughter has lost a child, but there is also your loss of a grandchild, which is also a tragic event for you. Watching your child hurt and not be able to help is horrible, especially when you are also hurting.
    I’m sorry. Thoughts go out to all of you. Take care of each other.

  7. Monica says:

    I don’t know what to say except that my eyes filled with tears as I read this…Sending you a Hug across the miles.

  8. Currie Rose says:

    Thank you so much for your authentic sharing. Sometimes it’s best to just let it out other than to have a very specific point… this way you get to say what needs to be said, and you did it so beautifully.

    My heart goes out to your family. You seem like a terrific father…
    I’m sure that tiny set of wings is with you, loving you all through this in it’s own special way. Loss is so difficult and sometimes it doesn’t make sense… but it sure sounds like this little angel made a HUGE imprint on your family and it will forever be with you in spirit…. in your heart.

    Sending Peace to you and your family.

  9. Kim Glardon says:

    You are my rock! Think is one of the best you have ever written! God Blessed me when he put you in my life!

  10. Laura says:

    Thinking of you and will say a prayer that everyone can get through this tough time.

  11. Shelly Johnson says:

    This news saddened me. As your oldest daughters best friend, all of you are my 2nd family. Always in my thoughts but tonight an extra prayer of healing will be said. Now you have another angel looking over you until the day you can hold her. Hugs & love you guys.

  12. maru says:

    I don’t know you, but I do. May the wind take my prayers to the hights and a hug for you, all of you.

  13. maru says:

    …sorry heights…

  14. fabiooli says:

    Dear, feel so sorry for your loss, I am living the same here, my best friend saw her little baby’s heart not beating last week during an ultrasound. I believe no one should pass through this, but this is life, we cannot control it.
    I am a big fan of you, I am Brazilian, just started my own blog after reading yours 🙂
    Best wishes

    • Thank you so much. Please pass along my heartfelt condolences to your friend. It’s tough as a parent or friend, but I can’t begin to imagine how it feels for the mother.

      Thanks for sharing this with us. And best of luck with the blog. I’ll be sure to check it out.

  15. Hazel Macik says:

    Dave, I just read today’s article and I feel so sad for Jen and all of you. There isn’t much more to say than that. I am thinking of all of you. God Bless! Hazel

  16. ButMadNNW says:

    All I can really say is: condolences. My sister’s first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, so I know it’s never easy.

    This is probably going to sound flippant, but I hope it might help at some point in the future when your daughter is ready to hear it: She won’t feel it now, I know, but she is lucky, because she’ll (I assume) get to try again. Not everyone gets that chance.

    My housemate was rendered sterile against her will, due to surgical complications, when she was a young wife, 20ish years old. When I met her in 2007, she said she’d made peace with it and decided she didn’t really want kids anyway. And then this year happened: the year of the emergency hysterectomy (two weeks ago) – everything taken from her due to a 10cm fibroid tumor; and because of other internal ‘messiness’, the surgeons weren’t even able to leave the ovaries as they’d planned, because they couldn’t FIND them. So she’ll be on hormone replacement therapy until she reaches her natural menopause age. But it’s still a good thing, because she’d been in constant pain for two months before she found surgeons willing and able to help her.

    The thing is, even though the organ was effectively dead for 14 years (and, in essence, attacking her) and she’d written off the idea of having her own kids, this surgery was the official fatal blow for that idea. Because I thought she’d made peace with it long ago, it struck me completely by surprise when she suddenly started sobbing the other night after I’d (stupidly, I fully admit) shown her a friend’s ultrasound. She’s in mourning – for the loss of the organ by which (like it or lump it) we define femininity, for the kids she’ll never have… (Adoption isn’t an option; long story.)

    I wish your daughter, you, and your family all the best going forward in this healing time. As you say, the pain will never truly leave, but there will be a day when you notice it’s faded a bit. And then, someday, when your daughter is ready, the time is right, and the biology doesn’t betray you…. A new person to love and cherish. 🙂

    When you next see your daughter, hug her tight from all of us.

    • Thanks so much, and I’ll gladly pass along that hug. Be sure to give your housemate a hug from me. It’s hard sometimes to understand our reaction to life’s trials, and as you said, just because we think somebody has made peace with their destiny, that’s not always the case. My oldest daughter had a miscarriage a few months ago (her fifth), and as thrilled as she was for her sister, she still has a hard time dealing with her own loss. Thankfully, both of my daughters have a child they can wrap their arms around. At times like this, that can be all the keeps them going.

  17. Lacey... says:

    I know these words from a stranger are not really going to make you feel any better, but they are heartfelt and sincere. I am deeply chagrined by your loss and send my prayers to you and yours, especially your daughter.

    I was ranting and raving today, and this just smacked some perspective into my sometimes selfcentered life. It is easy to forget what is truly important in life and get swept away in discontent by all the little things that can, and often do, go wrong and shrouds our thoughts, and our heart, in anger and bitterness.

    I am sorry for the heartache you are suffering but must also thank you for reminding me that life is about family and friends and the rest is just not as important.

    Lacey…

    • Lacey, your words mean more than you could imagine. Thank you so much. You know, I think we all have those days when we focus on the things that irritate us – that just makes us human. If you read some of my older blogs, you’ll see that I had a day like that not too long ago. It happens. And more often than not, we later realize it wasn’t all that important. But you’re right – it’s family and friends that really count. The rest is just fluff. And that’s why I think it’s so critical that we share those moments with one another, and try to laugh every chance we get. Because there are days when we need a chuckle or two in the bank.

      Thank you for taking the time to write. It really means a lot.

  18. Leah Dotten says:

    I’m so sorry for you, your daughter and your whole family. What really struck me about your post is that you sound like a really great dad. Your family sounds warm and happy to be together. And maybe I’m not any sort of expert on things like this, but it seems to me that, if you have that, you’ll come out intact.

  19. word2live says:

    Dave, just like there are no words you can say to your daughter, there are no words I can say to you to make you feel better. But we’re thinking of you and wishing you strength and love to be there for each other. That’s all that counts in the end.

  20. Jo Bryant says:

    I very recently found your blog and have gotten a huge amount of joy from your posts. I was saddened and found tears forming as I read your words. You sound like a terrific father – knowing how much my own daughter misses with a father who, while he loves her, is very self centred I can’t help but feel how lucky your daughters are to have you there. And she know that. And in knowing that, it will give her a basis to come back from her sorrow, wounded yes, but able to live and love and laugh again at some point. My prayers are with you…

    • Thanks Jo. I’ve made my share of mistakes as a father, but it goes with the territory. I’ve tried, and I guess we get points for that. I’m saddened to hear about your daughter’s father, because I know what it’s like to grow up with two parents who always put us first, and I can’t imagine not having that. But I think she’s lucky to have you, because you recognize what’s missing and try to make up for it. Hang onto her and make her know how important she is. The years will pass quicker than you realize. God bless you both.

  21. Sharon Harris says:

    Dave, I am so sorry. I was so happy to know about the third grandbaby and as soon as I saw the title of the post, I knew what had happened. I keep telling myself that things happen for a reason. I wish I could tell you what is going on here as well as the reason why I’ve not had contact with my daughter for over 2 years. You are right — pain fades with time, but scars are still there, but you can’t let them cripple you forever — you just have to work through them and around them to have a good life.

  22. Gladys says:

    I’m sorry about what happened to your daughter. I can’t say I know how it feels because I’ve never experienced a miscarriage. And I won’t tell you “time heals all wounds,” because it doesn’t. All I can tell you, is, that my heart and soul go out to you and your family. I know how it feels to be up one day and the next day be in hell! Again, I’m sorry for your loss.

  23. Tanya says:

    well put, yet again I’m amazed by your post. I wish my own father was more like you in what you said but that is not true. So your daughter is very lucky in that she has u.

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