I once tried to write a blog post about what if I never found a purpose to my pain, or a reason to it? What if I never started a foundation, had an article written about my Katherine, ended up on the news, or even volunteered and did great things in my Katherine’s honor? What then? Was there still a purpose to my pain? A reason? A hope? Was healing even an option for my broken heart or did it mean I was going to live the rest of my earthly life permanently broken in pieces? I didn’t get very far with that post because I was still struggling to find the answer to those questions.
Shortly after losing Katherine I was constantly bombarded with the good things others that had lost were doing in honor of their babies. Some were volunteering, one friend started a hospice service for babies at her local hospital and they named the program after her son. Others had started foundations and were helping raise thousands of dollars for awareness for the conditions their babies had suffered from. Others had news stories done on their precious babies and why it was important for parents to be aware of pre-natal care. Others donated Cuttle Cots to their hospitals. Then there was me. Sitting at home, alone, aching for my baby, longing to be with her, wishing I had just died with her too, struggling with the concept that I may not ever get to be one of those stories because, honestly, I didn’t want any of it.
What made matters worse was that my community of “support” seem to be expecting these type of things from me too. I would hear all the time “God is going to use this to do great things.” “Your story will save lives.” “You’re going to change the world.” So, I set out to do that, I tried so hard to do a fundraiser that year for Hope Boxes…and I didn’t even raise enough funds for two whole Hope Boxes. The non-profit that sends the materials felt so bad for me they graciously gifted me with a third box, but that was it. That was when I discovered that the same community that was pushing me to do “great things” for the Lord and in Katherine’s honor were not going to be the ones to help me in my journey.
For three years I searched for ways that I could find purpose and reason for my pain…and for three years I struggled so deeply trying to make a “reason” for my suffering…trying to tell myself that somehow the pain of her loss was so worth it…but I couldn’t. The struggle was so intense that my faith was beginning to be challenged. I couldn’t figure out why the God that was supposed to have allowed this into my life for something beautiful and great to emerge wasn’t doing exactly that.
I fell into deep depression. I became lost and no longer wanted to live. It took some major counseling, anti-depressants, and a new community of support to finally open my heart to some truths I had been missing out on.
Thought#1: Sometimes there is no good reason why something bad happens. We live in a world full of evil and suffering and at no point am I promised that my faith will protect me from it. This combated my question of “why me?”
Thought #2 : Just because my story doesn’t make the evening news, or doesn’t go on to do something mighty and powerful in hundreds of lives doesn’t mean that it is meaningless pain. I’ve concluded that sometimes the only good that comes out of pain is 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
This means that for some He will do those big amazing things that seem to provide a “reason” behind the suffering. Sometimes it means that one person hears our story and doesn’t feel alone anymore. One is not greater or more significant than the other. They are just different. My story, your story, they are all important, valuable, and can be used to comfort another hurting soul. If God didn’t allow me to face what I had faced, then I wouldn’t be able to be here today to tell you of all the ways he was able to comfort me.
Thought #3: We can’t help others heal if we ourselves aren’t willing to do the work of healing.
In the first three years of losing Katherine I wanted to be somebody that God had not yet grown me to be. I wanted to have the words, the knowledge, the hope that others were expecting of me but what I came to realize was that they wanted the 5yr, 10yr, 20yr Sara, not the 1, 2, and 3-year Sara. I had to learn that in order to become the person and the mother I wanted to be for Katherine. I had to heal, and that healing process really hurt. It still hurts. But I can’t help others heal if I don’t first work on my own healing. I can’t imply words of encouragement if I don’t first wrestle with what wasn’t encouraging.
Conclusion: You may never take your loss and turn it into a motivational speech for others, or start a foundation, or raise thousands of dollars for an awareness cause. It may take you years and years to come to a point of healing where your story can even be used to help comfort and heal others on their own journey. But the pain is still one piece in the beautiful pieces of the puzzle that is your life and that make and define you. And know if there is only one person that is ever comforted by your story of loss in aiding them to not feel alone, your pain is not meaningless.