There are better days ahead

I remember Christmas eve last year, which is strange. I remember nothing from my hospital discharge to the funeral, and virtually nothing from the funeral until the end of January.

Days on days, hour and after hour, blank. For someone like me, who always has a plan, a list, an idea, something to do, this is both bewildering and disturbing. It is disorientating, to think that I somehow have lost the better part of 60 days. As my mother remarked, why would I want to remember them. Some sorts of pain are likely better forgotten, left in the world a a mind fragmented by grief. At any rate, whether or not the immediate pain of losing your son is best left in the past, is not the point of this post.

I remember the Christmas Eve service last year, probably better than I remember most things. I remember the hymns and the readings. Perhaps the liturgy helps, after all, the service for Christmas eve has been the same for all of the time I remember.

But, I remember the remarks of 2 people. A woman who sat behind me, and at the passing of the peace, she held both my hands in hers and told me "Next year. We'll pray for a baby for you next year." Now, I realize that for some of you, this would be horrendous pain, but for me, it was the first time that anyone had held out hope for something other than this pain. It was the first time that someone reminded me, in the words of the psalmist, weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. It was the first time I realized that there might be something in my life other than unrelenting agony.

There's a guy in my church, and I don't mind calling him a guy, because that's what his title in our youth group is. He's the resident "wise guy". Which is more than a play on words, but it's an accurate description of him. He's wise. And I remember this wise guy, talking about losing his children years before, as a result of a relationship gone sour. It was not the same he told me, but in his eyes, I could see that he got it.

"Hold on to me children, there are better days ahead." He told us that he had been praying for us during the service, and these words had popped into his mind and heart, and he wanted us to know what God was saying. At the time, I put the 2 comments together, and I decided that better times must equal another baby. At the time, Mr. Spit desperately wanted me to get pregnant, and I equally desperately wanted to adopt, not ever wanting to be pregnant again.

I had all but forgotten these words in the last few months. Perhaps because church has become, all to often, a real source of pain, perhaps because we feel abandoned by our congregation, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

But, I stood in church on Wednesday night, and I heard the verse announcing the birth, and I remembered.

There is, in spite of a few months of trying now, still not a baby. But I am learning, slowly, tentatively, better days do not refer to the removal of my pain, rather they refer to my ability to cope with it, to alter myself as a result of it, to integrate it into my life, physical and spiritual, and to abide.

Better days indeed.