I feel like I am gaining a new perspective on the loss of my daughters as my grief changes. I don't feel less grief yet, but I do feel my grief differently. My pain used to be so raw and intense, and often hit without warning. Sometimes it still does, but not nearly as much. Now my pain is quieter. It is always there, but instead of being right on top of me all the time it shadows me almost. I always sense it, but there is a little more distance between it and me. And that little distance allows me a deeper understanding I think. At the very least it leaves some room for a deeper sense of peace.
I often struggle to accept that my perfectly healthy and properly developing babies got thrown into the world too soon and became profoundly sick and injured as a result, and eventually died. They were not born early because they were sick, they became sick because they were born early. And it was simply too much for them to overcome. Why I went into labor so early remains a mystery, which bothers me greatly. I have this sneaking suspicion that my body simply failed. I have forgiven myself for failing my girls. I know in my heart it was not intentional, just something that happened. But it still gets to me. They did not deserve what happened to them. They really didn't.
I don't understand why they were born early, but that does not change the fact that they were. And I don't understand why they became so sick, but they did. And the fear that I felt when I learned of their permanent brain damage was beyond explanation. I would stay awake at night wondering what kind of life was in store for them, what kind of pain and suffering might be in their future, both physically and emotionally. Wondering why them? Why did this happen to them?
To be honest I did not even know how to pray for them. I wanted them to live so badly. The thought of losing them was unimaginable. But with their quality of life so uncertain I had no idea what kind of life they would have. One doctor softly commented to us that some fates are worse than death. I was confused and scared. I didn't know what was best for them. I wanted them to live. But I didn't want them so suffer. I just wanted them to be ok. I was unimaginably conflicted. Either outcome was my worse fear realized. Why won't you heal them God? I would silently pray. Please, I beg you, make them well. Do something! Anything!
At their funeral I remember telling God that this was not what I meant at all. I wanted a miracle. I wanted my girls with me. I was so sad to say goodbye to them. As time passes my perspective is changing though. I can't help but wonder if my prayers for them were answered after all, just not in the way I had hoped. God did do something. He healed them. He just chose to restore them in heaven instead of on earth. I admit that I would have preferred to have them restored on earth. I just miss them so much. But I trust that God spared my girls from a life of pain and suffering. He knew how much losing my girls would hurt me. But maybe He also knew that living would hurt them more. As much as losing Aubrey and Ellie has broken my heart, I am beginning to truly recognize God's mercy in it. I no longer see only what was taken from me, but what was given to them. God saved my baby girls. And for that I am truly thankful.