Miscarry. Mis-carry. Like, “Whoops! I dropped the baby! Next time I’m carrying a baby I really should try to be more careful!”
I don’t like that word.
I woke early, to the unmistakable pains of labor amidst a rush of blood. Since I wasn’t pregnant, this confused me. But then, in a collage of startling clarity, a hundred small happenings of the previous weeks crashed across my mind and I realized that I was indeed pregnant.
And then I wasn’t. Before I could comprehend that I carried a child, I had mis-carried him. I was left cradling, in hysteria-edged bewilderment, the nearly-intact miniature world that had been his home for the blink of his mortal life. All men are like grass. . .
I didn’t really need a second opinion to tell me that I had miscarried, but I visited my doctor anyway, to see what else she could tell me. She estimated that I had been 7-9 weeks along: a January baby.
We would have complained cheerfully about the “poor planning” of a child who entered the world in the least tax-practical month and in the middle of flu season. Instead, we ceased to speak of things too wonderful for us to understand. We put our hands over our mouths and returned to the dust: We visited a cemetery.
In the diocese of a largish city, we walked among the graves in the section reserved for little ones. Even without the weight of fresh personal grief, this via dolorosa would have been overwhelming. So many stones bore only a single date: babies who, like ours, had never drawn a breath. Babies who had lived a day, a week, a year. Infant and toddler siblings, buried together. Flowers, fresh and faded; toy trucks, both new and rusted; stuffed bears, some fluffy, some already rain-bedraggled. Crosses and verses scattered throughout grass salted by the splash of a million tears.
I could almost feel the groaning of the overburdened earth—its lovely surface gashed open and shoved full of the carnage of the Curse.
Our baby isn’t buried there, and the June memorial wasn’t yet erected (the tissue of early miscarriages is gathered, then buried together every few weeks in a joint service—oh, how many tears in each small, shared grave!). So we left our flower, as our Brephos, at the feet of Jesus. Those love-scarred feet! How painful the resolve, how deliberate the act of will by which our Lord turned those feet down the Via Dolorosa that must have seemed endless, to win for us an end to our way of mortal sorrow.
Surely, surely, the Day is coming when we will no longer weep our way along this grave-gashed, weed-wrecked ground.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Hasten the footsteps of your return. We long to shout together for joy at the sight of your feet, your most beautiful feet, returning to proclaim the death of Death our foe, to reclaim forever the life of your creation.