When I lost my first pregnancy, my daughter at 27 weeks, I had friends who drove from out of state to be at her memorial.
When I lost my second pregnancy at 10 weeks, I had friends who left dinner for me on my doorstep.
When I lost my third pregnancy, a son, I had friends with me in the emergency room, driving from hours away – in the middle of a New England winter blizzard, friends who babysat my living children while I slept.
By the time I lost my fourth and last pregnancy, another son, I was living across the country from almost all of my friends and family.
They sent me cards, flowers, gifts, made phone calls, and even boarded flights to bring me on a ladies’ weekend to the beach a few weeks later.
I have been blessed beyond measure with these friends.
And I’m sure they were uncomfortable at times, that they felt sapped of emotional energy, that maybe they didn’t know exactly what to say – but they SHOWED UP. In different ways, on different days, they showed up, they were there, and they stayed.
They shared my articles on social media, they liked my posts about my angel children, they defended me against the ideas of some that I was stuck or attention-seeking or blowing my experience out of proportion.
They shielded me from that kind of ugliness.
They made me feel normal. They made me feel validated. They made my babies feel real.
They made their lives feel important.
I have said thank you to them so many times over the years but it never feels like enough.
How do you really thank someone for holding your hand, in a silent hospital room, while the tech goes over and over and over your belly with the wand, at 12:30 in the morning?
How do you thank someone for dropping everything to drive four hours in the blinding snow just so that they could hug you in person?
How do you thank someone for taking pictures of you holding your dead son in your arms?
It’s too intimate, too overwhelming, too unspeakable. And though I am a ‘words person’ through and through, I’ve learned that some things really just can’t be said with words.
The best I can think to say is that my circle of friends morphed into a safety net at the moment I fell from the sky. They saved me when I could not save myself.
They stopped the bleeding when I wasn’t sure I even cared enough to try. They held on tight, even when I tried my damndest to pull away; they wouldn’t allow me to sever myself from them.
It was non-negotiable.
They’ve heard me rage and watched me break and seen me be the most hateful, unlovable, angriest, miserable version of myself – and they’ve loved me anyway.
They’ve loved me through it.
They’ve loved me back to health.
How do I really thank them? They’ve gone the distance for me, four times over.
The best I can think to do is to keep going, keep doing life, keep participating, keep trying, keep putting my mangled little heart back on the line and keep being human.
I will keep going the distance for our friendships because I have learned that they are so much more than just people to have fun with during good times.
They were my lifelines in the worst of times.
They rescued me. They loved me. They loved all of my children, and they still do today.
They were there.
It’s not nearly enough, but thank you for being at the hospital. Thank you for being at my house. Thank you for checking in.
Thank you for the flowers. Thank you for the cards.
Thank you for asking about my babies. Thank you for calling on their due dates – still.
Thank you for the beautiful jewelry with their names on it.
Thank you for breathing softness back into my hardened heart.
Thank you for not giving up on me.
Thank you for the love.
And, most importantly, thank you – God, thank you so, so much – for staying