On Friday, Chris, me and the kiddies will pack up and head to meet my parents, my sister, and her husband, John Michael, at the beach for a long weekend together. It’s been planned for months and I’ve really been looking forward to it. But now, as the weekend approaches, I have to tell you that I’m a little nervous about it. Actually, I’m not nervous about the weekend. For the first time in my whole life, I’m nervous about seeing my sister.
Two weeks ago, my sister miscarried. She was 15 weeks pregnant.
I just wrote that last sentence and then sat here for 10 minutes trying to think of what to write next. And that’s the exact reason I am nervous about seeing Ginny. I just don’t know what to say to her.
She miscarried over the course of several days while she and John Michael were out in California on vacation.Â She was stuck in a hotel room, far from family, and going through such a horrific experience.Â When she finally was able to get on an airplane, she came home to her Atlanta doctor, who confirmed what Ginny had feared.Â She had miscarried.Â That day, as if things weren’t hard enough, Ginny had to go in for a D&C.Â When she woke up, John Michael and my dad were there, but it took Ginny a few minutes to understand what was going on.
“Wait, why am I here?” she asked.
And then she remembered.Â My dad said that he had never seen such raw emotion in a human being before as Ginny broke down there in the hospital.
Throughout those days, Ginny cried and cried and cried. And as I sat on the phone with her, thousands of miles away, I cried with her, but couldn’t form one supportive comment. Not one.
Because what do you say? What do you say to someone who loves kids more than her next breathe, who wants to be a mom more than anything else? What do you say when you’ve got two boxes of pink clothes all boxed up for your niece who won’t be here in December after all? What do you say to your best friend as she goes through such an incredible loss?
I love you?
I wish I could go through this for you?
I’m praying for you?
None of it makes what happened any easier.Â None of it repaints the nursery walls back to white or empties out the closet already filling with pink onesies.Â None of it seems to matter when the hurt was that deep and that raw.
And so, I sat very quietly and didn’t say anything to one of the most important people in my life as she went through one of the saddest times in her life.Â And I felt so ashamed about that.Â I still feel ashamed.Â That I can write and write and write and talk and talk and talk when it doesn’t matter, and then when it really does matter, there were just no words to be found.
I didn’t know what to say because I have no idea what she is going through.Â I can’t even imagine.Â And I didn’t know what to say because I was sad, too.Â Ginny’s pregnancy was a celebration for our whole family and so her miscarriage was a devastation for our whole family, too.
But you know who it was that finally gave me the strength to speak?Â It was Ginny.Â I was supposed to be the one lifting her up and instead, in true Ginny fashion, she taught me.Â She taught me how to really grieve for something.Â How to shut out the world and give yourself time.Â She taught me how to find strength in small, daily activities and how to look forward while still remembering the past.Â She taught me that laughter really does help, but only when you’re ready to laugh.Â And she taught – and is continuing to teach me – that every day we start over again, fresh, and even if we break down once or twice in that day, we get a redo tomorrow.Â She taught me what it really is to love the Lord so deeply that you can praise and thank him in the middle of such sadness.
But more than those things, she taught me the importance of our husbands.Â The importance of choosing well because you’re choosing someone to share your very high ups and your deepest downs.Â She taught me that in times of great sadness, it is the heart of our husbands that we turn to for support.
This was the first tragedy Ginny has experienced as a married woman and so it was the first time that she turned to someone other than her family to get her through.Â Though we were never far from her, I couldn’t be more grateful for John Michael’s presence in Ginny’s life and in our family.Â Knowing that he was the one to carry her through this made me worry just a bit less about her.
The love that they have for each other will make them wonderful parents one day.
We leave on Friday for the beach and my nerves are a bit on edge.Â I’m not sure what I’ll be able to say to Ginny when I can finally see her face to face.Â I’m not sure how she’ll react to seeing Bean and Gracie.Â I’m just not sure.Â But I know that if I stand there struggling with how to go forward, it will be my sweet, strong sister who shows me how it’s done.