I’ve found that reading about loss and grief, particularly around the issue of losing premature babies and stillbirths, has been incredibly helpful for me. To be honest, part of it is probably to be able to have a cathartic experience and cry. This seems to be a tangible way for me to feel like I’m still connected to Micah and Judah – crying.
Part of it is also just to know that this has happened to other people – that we aren’t the only ones who have been dealt this shitty hand. It’s not that I would wish this on other people – far from it! But when others who have experienced a similar type of loss as you have, reading about how they processed it has been such a lifeline for me. And in some ways, perhaps my writing on this blog might be able to help someone else. Just last week I got an email from a father who had recently lost his son at 26 weeks, and was looking for resources on the grieving process for fathers specifically. He hadn’t found much, but he did run across this blog.
Last week I listened to the audiobook version of “An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination” by Elizabeth McCracken (read by the author). Sometimes I think there are books we read (or listen to, in this instance) at just the right times. Last weekend was that time for me. I had a long drive up to a youth ministry training, and I finished the book on the drive up and back. At times, it caused me to laugh (which I needed). At other times, it caused me to cry (which I also needed). McCracken begins the book with this line: “This is the happiest story in the world with the saddest ending.” I feel like this should be the tagline to any person’s story that ends with infant loss (whether it’s the birth of premature babies that die, miscarriage, stillbirth, or other complications that end with death).
Her approach is easy-going, intimate, light-hearted but with a profound depth to it as well. Sarah read the book, and I think enjoyed it, though perhaps not as much as I did. It just goes to show that what might be meaningful for one person going through loss might not be as meaningful for another. It might also have something to do with the fact that I listened to the audiobook, and there was something about hearing McCracken share her own story that made it feel even more honest and heart-wrenching.
If you’ve gone through any type of infant loss – and are at a place where you think reading might be helpful for you – I’d highly recommend McCracken’s book. Or if you have friends who have gone through this type of loss, I’d think it would be a very helpful book to have a sense for what we are going through.