09 November 2010

Not Broken Enough

That word has been floating around in my mind a lot lately: broken. If someone asks me how I feel, that is the most honest response I can think of.


It's not a bad thing -- at least not in my mind. In fact, it seems fitting. When reality deviates this much from our most visceral notions of how things ought to be, it seems only fitting to be broken in response.

Even though my ability to extend myself outward is limited right now, losing Ewan has given me a broader perspective. When I think of all the parents before us and all the parents after us who have or who will have lost a child, it is far, far too much for me to take in. When I consider the collective weight of grief people are bearing, I am amazed that the world does not sink under it.

When I look out at others now, I wonder what they have suffered or who they have lost. I wonder how many times they, like me, have exhausted themselves with grieving.

This happens every day, and I was inoculated from it. I have experienced different kinds of grief and loss in my life, but this one shattered my illusions like nothing else. It took those sterile categories of "grief" and "loss" and obliterated them. It softened my heart. It made me consider other parents who have experienced the complete upside-downness of choosing a twenty-four inch coffin, or who have held a dying child in their arms. It is impossible to fathom: this happens every day.

Losing Ewan taught me that if anything, I wasn't nearly broken enough.



Lord, have mercy.

19 comments:

Emily said...

Thank you for writing. The process you're going through is very humbling and encouraging to me at the same time. I'm amazed by how you articulate what you are thinking and feeling. Thank you for extending your faith to so many through this blog.

Sarah said...

This post reminds me of that quote, "Be gentle. Everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." (That may be my paraphrase). So much pain, and you at the center of it, in these moments. I love how you love Ewan, how you honor him with these words and your tears. Love.

BJ mommy to angel Alexis said...

I feel the same way. Before losing my daughter I never imagined the grief of losing a child, tho I had miscarried many times it was a raw and broken pain like you describe. I've found over the last (almost 11/20) 5 years that giving to the parents also grieving has helped. I donate once, sometimes twice a year to the local hospital for parents who've lost a child. This year I donated 6 gift bags to the hospital my daughter was born at for October 15th (pregnancy and infant loss awareness day) and on the 20th in memory of her 5th birthday I will donate to a neighboring hospital. I just feel like.. it's my way of giving what I can and knowing somewhat how they feel. My heart aches for you every day honey. I wish I could hug you.

Rebecca said...

Kirsten, thank you for sharing these intimate, soulish thoughts with us. Truly, God has used you to break me in ways that I needed to be broken. I hate, though, that it is because of your great grief that you have this wisdom to share. I would that it was another way.

Megan said...

I couldn't agree with you more. And I too find myself looking at people differently now... "what heartache are YOU going through." I never once thought before all of this happend that the woman behind me at the checkout could have very possibly just held her baby in her arms while that precious soul met the Lord.
And the 24" casket... I am all to familiar with those measurements.
Praying for you and your husband, dear sweet Kristen...
Megan@ A story unfolding.

terri said...

sometimes i feel scared to think what it would mean to be broken enough. i'm so grateful that we have a savior to lean into when it becomes too much. and one another too.

love you. can't wait to be in the same space with you.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts echo Rebecca's...

Bria

Allison said...

Kirsten you are an amazing writer. I have been with you on your journey since before little Ewan was born and I can't tell me how many times I have said to myself, "wow, I feel the same way and she has such a way with words".
No, I have not lost a child and cannot imagine the pain that goes along with such a loss...I have experienced and continue to experience pain for loved ones lost and sadness for things in my life not going the way I thought they would.
I am broken too.
And sometimes, unfortunately, I have to sit amongst the mess of my broken pieces and JUST "BE". BE sad, be mad, be broken.
I never wanted to be this strong but I know there is a plan for me and my journey on this earth.
There is one for you too.
Thank you for sharing your wise words today and always.
Allison
from Chicago

rosecalyx said...

Thanks for these wise vulnerable words, so beautifully expressed... I too have felt this brokenness through my NICU nursing experiences and the families and babies whose lives I have been privileged to share. These experiences opened my eyes to see the weight of pain and grief in the world and also the incredible grace and hope God gives- it is a wonder that the world keeps moving, and I think the only reason it does is because it does not actually contain it all. I cherish the taste of Heaven that we have now and eagerly anticipate being there myself and seeing clearly all that we have experienced here and now. Much love and prayers to you, James, and all those who are experiencing especially the loss of a child...

HennHouse said...

Lord have mercy.

Katie said...

Kirsten,
Loved meeting you and James for coffee too- thank you for driving over to do that. It was refreshing seeing you two and the love you have for one another. I loved hearing about Ewan. He was such a blessed little boy to have parents love, pray over him, and advocate for him like you did during his time here. It's evident that you both have surrendered to His will and trust that He will make all things right. I so admire the strength and faith you have.

Love and heart hugs to you,
Katie & Maddie

Anonymous said...

Family of Ewan,

It is impossible to fathom that it happens every day.

During the ceremony for all the babies that were lost at our NICU, I kept reading the dates that these babies died. I realized that some of these babies died while my boys were in the NICU. While my Nathan was fighting for his life after his emergency NEC surgery some other babies lost their fight. This really struck me. How was I not aware of what was happening just down in the hall in another room in the NICU? How did I not sense the pain of another mom after feeling such pain myself after the loss of my girls? I don't have any answers to these questions. But it makes me so incredibly grateful that my boys made it and still so incredibly sad that my girls did not.

With love, prayers and hope
Maria

The Sears Family said...

I have no words that haven't already been written here. I love you & I am praying for your raw pain. I have learned so much from you & I have found myself way closer to Go because of you & Jill. I hate that it came from your loss. I hate that you have this burden. But I know that great things happen...even out of darkness. God is Good.
Thinking of you.
Dana Sears

Jamie said...

Just wanted to give you a virtual hug. I don't always comment but I always read your words and they impact me more than I can say.

Kelly Sauer said...

Kirsten, I read, and I am quiet, and I try to swallow my embarrassment and duck away before you see how you touch my heart - because what is the loss I've felt compared to yours?

And I realize that too often we compare the grief and think, "at least it wasn't ______" and say trite things like, "it could have been worse," but your worse than mine doesn't hurt different when I'm sitting beside you here, praying and wishing I were near enough to hug you, to look in your eyes and tell you that I have lost too and it is wrong on every level except the one where God holds both and draws us back to life...

I think of you often.

Stefenie said...

Always thinking and praying for you Kirstenn.

Lauren said...

Broken is the word I used when telling loved ones of our Caleb's death. It's how I felt, and still feel. Lots of hugs.

christianne said...

I read this from you yesterday and haven't had words to respond. I still don't, except to say that I know this word "broken" touches you deeply right now. I know God has changed you and your life forever because of this, in so many more ways than one. I love you.

Jess said...

Beautiful post. It touches my heart so deeply. I once heard in a statement that has stuck with me and this reminds me so much of it. It was simply "building up by breaking down". How often my ideas aren't the ones God has and how He can sometimes use the brokeness to shape us. Praying for you and your family xxx