Cheers, dear readers,
I am so proud and happy to share that my husband and I recently celebrated the thirteenth anniversary of the day we first met – July 4th – a day full of fireworks, jubilation and much fanfare celebrating the birth of our nation, the U.S. We however spent it with my husband sick with the flu laid up in bed while I did what I could to nurse him back to health, quietly read a book, and listened to the rain. Yet thankfully we still had a lovely day enjoying each other’s company and calm presence in our lovely home that we created together. Though our home is not filled with the laughter and antics of our children who never came to be, it is filled with love, good humor, compassion, and good fortune of other kinds. As I am writing this post, three baby deer frolicked across our backyard, happily chomping on our foliage. I feel truly blessed. Youth and the next generation does grace our home, just not in the ways we originally thought it would be. Life is funny that way.
I recently went on an incredible vacation with my husband’s family, who have of course become my family as well. It was the most time I have spent with them since I first met Eric. We decided to visit their family’s heritage, going to Norway on a weeklong amazing cruise – just a remarkable and very memorable experience with breathtaking views. I thoroughly enjoyed the time with his family and the opportunity to take this trip and have such great quality time with my husband.
There was one night that hit me sideways I’m not afraid to admit. Grief does that to you – it comes at you when you least suspect it and wallops you sideways upside your head. Bam!!! As we listened to an incredible pianist, I started up a conversation with my piano-playing 12-year old nephew. He has displayed much skill learning to master the piano – which frankly I am envious us and of course oh so proud of him. But to my surprise, he told me that he had recently taken up the saxophone – which is the instrument of choice that my father played for over 65 years of his life until he perished from complications from kidney cancer. I can hear his amazing sax playing in my head right now as I write this – such beautiful majestic music – he was an incredible musician, one of the best saxophonists I have ever heard (not that I’m biased or anything!). Listening to my nephew describe to me how much he enjoyed playing this new-to-him instrument made my heart ache in ways that I find difficult to describe. I felt drawn to simultaneously miss my father and the generation above me, as well as the generation below me that I would never get to meet. If I had a son, would I have passed on my father’s musical talents and been watching my offspring learn to play the sax as my father had so expertly? I became overcome with emotion and realized that I was about to start sobbing right in front of my young nephew while we listened to this incredible musician on gala night of this once-in-a-lifetime cruise. As I so often have on my own fertility journey, I excused myself and found solace in the ladies room nearby. Something about leaning my forehead on the cold door of the stall always provides some comfort. There’s a strange tip for those of you recovering from a loss while at a social gathering: the cold bathroom stall door! Cling to it for strength when needed.
At the Global Sisterhood Summit that I attended recently, one of my new lady friends introduced me to an incredible author, mentor, thought leader and healer named Tim Lawrence. I and Tim are here to tell you that grief is not linear. The pain we all suffer at different points in our lives does not just “disappear.” We don’t wake up one day and “get over it” and go right back to our old selves. Instead we are forever changed. We learn to live with the pain, the loss, the hole in our heart. And you know what? It’s OK. Grief and loss happens – to all of us at some point. Whether it’s loss through miscarriage, or our embryos that stop growing before implantation day, or that negative pregnancy test AFTER implantation day, or the loss of other cherished family members in our lives through cancer, old age or other means. We can survive it. But we need to support each other, listen to each other, acknowledge the pain, the grief. Realize that moments will come when you least suspect it that will bring you back to your knees, right when you thought you were ready to face the rest of your life bearing the weight of your losses. Tim reminds us of this during our challenging times:
Hold your head up and defy anyone toxic enough to utter the words:
- Get over it
- You just have to get through it
- Time heals all wounds
- Everything happens for a reason
- So ‘n’ so got through it, and so will you
- It was meant to be
- It can be fixed
- I really think you should [insert advice you didn’t request here] My work is gritty, uncensored, and takes no prisoners. Through my words, I help people navigate life’s difficulties – grief, injury, depression, or loss – and learn to forge strength in the fire.
Thank you, Tim for reminding us that life’s challenges can sometimes require healing that can take years of work to get through, and for supporting us through it all in your work. I gain much needed strength through your strength.
And to our readers here, all of us at Slow Swimmers & Fried Eggs are here to support you through the ups and downs of your fertility journey. We understand the highs and lows can be difficult. Feel free to reach out at any time that you need someone to emotionally sit with you and hold your hand. We have got your back.
Please join me next week to hear more about my personal journey down the infertility path. I look forward to speaking with you. I wish you the best on your journey.
This post is also available in: Arabic