by Leah ODaniel
Dear God, (although most of us don’t say that, myself included)
I can’t understand how you, this loving, giving, kind, and all-knowing God could do this to me.
I can’t reason how you could choose to form my beautiful sweet baby to take him away.
And I don’t know how I am supposed to put any faith or trust in you now or ever again.
I trusted you once, with the most important thing I’ve ever had – my child.
I don’t know what I have done in my life that equated this level of punishment. And if we want to say it is a trial and not a punishment, what on the Earth did I need to learn?
How did I fail before this? Weren’t there other ways you could teach or show me them rather than to destroy my very essence?
Am I not kind enough? Do I question too much?
Am I too loud?
Too obnoxious and too brash?
Do I not volunteer as I should? Should I volunteer somewhere else?
What, about my life, my person needed to be different for this not to happen? I know I am only human, but I cannot now or ever understand or reason that some grandiose plan was carried out here.
Was this just a game? Because it has felt like that to me, at times.
Even if there is a grand plan, what lesson was so important to learn that it cost my child?
Many other folks have tried to reason this with me by saying that we don’t always get to know the answers to things but to be faithful.
They’ve also said something like perhaps your grand plan, the BIG lesson is that you needed to start reaching other grieving people, other grieving mothers.
And, yeah. Ok.
But, to be honest, I liked my life just perfectly before. Before, when I didn’t question your grace, giving-ness, or all-knowing kindness so much.
When I didn’t wonder how I am supposed to trust you ever again in my whole life.
I liked it better before this happened, and people offered me visions of Eliot in heaven that I can’t even remotely visualize right now.
I liked it better before I spent sleepless nights questioning how I could ever repair or restore any semblance of faith in myself now or ever.
Before I spent countless hours on my couch or bathroom floor, grasping at whatever I could think of that would or could somehow give me any good reason for this.
Any logic that makes my broken mama heart not feel quite so shattered.
Any reason at all why this could and would happen to me. Was it my fault?
Was it my fault for not being over the moon excited like other people are the second I found out?
For being afraid of being a married but single parent?
For being afraid that this, too, would fail?
For holding my breath for so many weeks because of that fear?
For worrying about money or about how I would be able to incorporate any extended family members into my Army child’s life?
For struggling with my old pal disordered eating and weight gain? Was that my fault? Because I begged you to change my heart so many times during those weeks.
And as if all that wasn’t enough – THEN, you were going to give babies to multiple people so close to me.
As if I wasn’t already struggling to breathe.
Is the lesson to be better? To be more?
Am I required now to shoulder this heartbreaking, soul-crushing loss yet still somehow be kind and excited for others?
Because it feels like I am required to do that. To hide all of this hurt and to ultimately “forget” about Eliot and outwardly show joy to these other people.
These other people who feel less deserving of their babies than me. I know that part isn’t true, but it is hard on my sensitive mama heart not to go there.
Did the doctors fail? Because that’s what everyone else keeps telling me when I blame myself and my broken body. My body has failed so many times before Eliot.
If they did fail, why didn’t you correct it? Why didn’t you guide their hands and their minds to make decisions that would have ended in my newfound happy parenthood of a living baby?
Why didn’t you do any of these things?
Correct the doctors.
Save my child.
Save my husband from this heartache and pain.
Why didn’t you save me, too?
Is it because I question things like you? The validity of prayers?
Because of other times in my life when I have admittedly only reached out to you in times of despair and nothing else?
Was this to make me more faithful in the end?
What if it doesn’t work? What if I can’t ever restore my faith?
What if I can never believe that my prayers ever did, ever could, or ever will help?
Was I doing it all wrong from the start? And if so, couldn’t you have corrected me some other way?
Or do I fail here too by being so stubborn?
I don’t mean to ask all these questions; I really don’t. I don’t ever intend to seem ungrateful, either.
But, God, it’s so hard to feel even a tiny bit grateful for anything right now.
I want to be thankful for my life, but that feels wrong when Eliot didn’t get to have his.
I want to be grateful for others’ thoughts and prayers or sentiments in general. But I just can’t.
Gratitude for others’ prayers feels like saying theirs are and were way better than mine.
Like that somehow, you’ll answer the ones they pray for me when they ask you to give me strength, or protection, or whatever it is they pray for me about.
But you didn’t answer mine.
I prayed so hard for my sweet boy, and it didn’t matter.
I have prayed hard when my husband has been in foreign combat zones, too.
I have been elatedly grateful when he has returned, unscathed.
Is this a trade-off? One prayer answered, one prayer not.
I am angry at you for all of it, but I desperately don’t want to be.
I don’t feel like I have any prayers left at all.
And, God, if only my faith, if only my belief that prayers worked, if only my whole being wasn’t so tattered and torn, this is what I would say.