Sometimes, in the very moment you’re struggling, god sends you someone, or something, to remind you of how strong you are. He reminds you that you’ve been through so much, and he reminds you that he is in control. Sometimes, you must listen.
After losing our boy, I returned to work quickly. I had been back to work for exactly one week, and had been doing so well. However, this particular morning, I was not. Grief is like the ocean. At times, the water is calm, and breathing is easy. Others, you are hit with wave upon wave of drowning, breathtaking emotion without warning.
On this Wednesday morning, as I’m sitting at my desk fighting tears because something had triggered me, I was trying to pull myself together, trying to weather the wave I was just hit with. As I took a large number of deep breaths, I start listening to my surroundings, searching for a distraction. I hear a conversation about a family going through the process of adoption. Something tells me to get up, and intrude. I must hear about their story, how they got where they are, this is something I’ve been interested in for years. I must know. Without hesitation, I rise.
I ask the family if they feel comfortable telling me how they’ve gotten where they are. How hard has it been?
The mother begins to tell me about their deep need for an addition to their family. They have a daughter, and she is also a mother of loss. Three years ago, she lost her second daughter at birth. She is also the mother of a baby born sleeping. She then moves on to tell me about how the adoption process proceeds, as I swallow the lump in my throat. She sees my eyes welling up, the look of concern and interest on her face.
“I lost my son three weeks ago. I was 36 weeks.”
Her hands rise to her mouth in shock. I see you mama, you know where I am. You feel for me on such a different level than everyone else. How cruel is it that I find such comfort in those that know my story because they’ve been there.
We begin to exchange our stories. The remarkable similarities comfort me, until we connect on a much higher level. We share the things we do to remember our babies, I mention my tattoo, and she mentions they’ve just celebrated their sweet girls third birthday. She mentions the date. Until now, I had been so proud of myself for containing my composure. Until that very second, I didn’t know our babies had the same birthday. My tears keep me from being able to form words. Instead, I expose the now healed tattoo on my right collarbone, his name and birthdate now visible.
Of course, in the conclusion of our conversation, we exchange contact information. As they leave, I can’t help but think to myself, how remarkable that was, how I needed to talk with someone in that very moment.
I’ve learned that there are no coincidences, there are only reminders.