It was a quarter of a century ago that I spent SpRiNg Vacation bleeding, assured by technicians & physicians that everything “looked good.” (My progesterone was just low and so they gave me some to take.)
It was this night that I would wake before dawn with a kind of rhythmic cramp that I’d never felt before, on & off, on & off. I thought I had a stomach virus.
By morning, I knew something was wrong and so I woke my husband and we drove an hour to the hospital. The midwife extracted the intact sac from my cervix. At least that’s how I remember it. That’s what I can still feel between my legs all these years later.
I’ve never forgotten the date even though the agony of loss was later overwhelmed by the joy of two sons, but not until I miscarried that fall. We had conceived immediately that time, living in the little ski rental beside the brook above the mill across from the cow pasture, our first place in Vermont.
It was the grief of the first loss, at the end of the first trimester, after a year of trying, that drove us from home–from the sea to the Green Mountains.
I was teaching 3rd & 4th grade in a little school nestled against a mountain just across from the ski place when they called me with the results of the ultrasound. I took the call in the nurse’s office and then went into the bathroom and sobbed before returning to my classroom.
I left that school after a single year. I loved my students, but I had fallen into despair, working 12 hours days, which was never enough, thinking my life would always be like that.
My sister sent me a cassette tape in the mail. “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” I’d always loved bridges even though I’d planned to name both babies after the Beloved who I lost to one. I still have that plastic Easter Egg that I painted this month all those years ago–a small-petaled flower and the name: Lila.
“When you’re weary, feeling small. When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them off.
I’m on your side…”
I never went back to teaching after that, not full time, but next week I’m returning to that school to consider a classroom support position, twenty-five years after I left.
Perhaps there’s a bit of soul retrieval going on behind the scenes with both boys graduating, one from college, the other from high school, and the book about my grandmother rounding its last corner.
Let it be.
That was the other song from the tape that ministered to me,
“Mother Mary comes to me…
Let it be.”
I’m still learning what that means.