Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dealing with Happy Endings

A friend's baby was in the neonatal intensive care unit recently and I had some major flashbacks to the days when my babies spent time there. I realized that I was on top of my game (so to speak) while comforting a friend in crisis.

The days passed and I felt such compassion as I loved on her and consoled her during a time of uncertainty. I felt nothing but optimism concerning her little one's full recovery and I looked forward to holding her when she arrived home.

Then the day came for her to actually come home.

This was a scenario with which I had no experience. I never had my own happy ending. I understood the emotional drama a NICU stay could create for a parent, but I never knew the joy of welcoming my baby home.

My heart filled with such longing. An emptiness crowded my initial joy for my friend. I hung back as they walked into the house with their carefully bundled baby. How would I react? What could I do to avoid the uncertainty of the moment?

My friend handed me the baby and a sweet hope pushed away my sadness and fears. She was beautiful and I knew in that moment my time would come, too. I can't see the future but Romans 8:25 says that if we hope for that which we see not, with patience we will wait for it (paraphrase). If we could see the future clearly, we would have nothing to hope for.

Until my hope becomes reality (and after!) I choose to create a life focused on a bright future rather than a painful past.

Oh, and my reaction? Yes, I did go on and cry my eyes out, but I shared my feelings with my friend which opened a dialog between us that we would have missed out on had I kept quiet. She was understanding and supportive and reinforced my belief that it is crucial to talk about how we feel instead of pretending all is well.


Brooke said...

I have a friend who was recently pregnant and ended up in the hospital sometime at the beginning of her third trimester with a scare. But, everything turned out ok, the baby was fine, and they got to go home.

That was SOOOO hard for me. I had to take a trip to the hospital, just like that, but I did not have a happy ending. In all honesty, I experienced extremely conflicting emotions - of course I was relieved and glad she did not have to go through what I did, but really, my first thought was "why did her baby live and mine didn't?" That was the question I just couldn't stop thinking about. And it hurt.

Thanks for sharing.

Sharee said...

As bereaved parents, I've discovered that having those types of thoughts are completely normal, but trying to express that to those who haven't experienced such loss seems impossible. We're judged (the way you were on one of your recent posts) and that hurts, too. Although the why questions float around in my head, I'm learning to change channels, because there's rarely been a response to my agonizing questions.

I believe that we'll both have our happy ending.