I didn’t grow up in an extremely religious home. For the most part, we stepped into church for weddings and funerals.
Despite that, believing in God was somewhat of a default state for me.
I never really thought to question it.
I just did.
After the stillbirth of my son, I tore myself down. I blamed and hated myself, no matter how irrational it was.
The doctors had told me there was nothing I could have done to have caused it, but it didn’t change how I felt.
I cursed my body for failing me – for failing my son. The heartbreak felt like torture that would never end, neither in death nor release.
It became very clear over time that if I was going to survive this loss, I couldn’t continue down that path. I needed to free myself from the torture chamber.
However, I was so angry.
If I could no longer direct that anger inward, I needed a new target. And who better than God?
I cried and screamed at him.
How could he do this to me?
How could he allow such a tragedy to happen?
I needed answers but that’s the thing with faith – you need to have it. Questions won’t be answered just because you have them.
I had heard all the well-meaning statements. “Everything happens for a reason.” No reason would ever be good enough for me.
“God needed another angel.” Why would he give me this child only to allow him to be taken from me?
The intentions behind most of these were good, but they didn’t help me feel any better.
I tried so hard to reconcile with God, but I couldn’t forgive him.
While I didn’t trust in him anymore, hating God wasn’t healing me. It kept my wound open.
When I came to the realization that my faith was gone and I couldn’t keep trying to force myself to regain it, a lot changed.
No overnight miracles, but slowly I was able to let go of the anger while holding onto the love.
Then one day when I said my son’s name, I didn’t immediately start crying.
I was able to laugh about how bad my morning sickness was with him.
I could sit down with my loved ones and discuss the events of the day he died from their perspectives so I could know as much as possible. There may have still been tears, but it was a conversation I was finally able to have.
Faith and grief can go together and I am not here to persuade anyone to leave behind something that is helping them.
My son’s father found a lot of comfort in God and the idea that our son was safe with him.
I just couldn’t feel the same way.
I lost some things when I let go of my faith, like the promise of seeing my son again in Heaven.
But I gained the ability to smile when I talk about my son now – to appreciate the time we had together, however brief.
The sorrow hasn’t vanished and I imagine never will but it no longer commands the show – love does.