I was told I was stoic today. Multiple times. I’m not sure if it was intended to be given as a compliment, an observation, or an insult, but here I am to tell you all the reasons why I am not and have not been stoic.
The definition of stoic:
“people should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submit without complaint to unavoidable necessity.”
I have to say that I am hardly free from passion. And I pray that I am never unmoved by joy or grief. Joy is beautiful and I always want to deeply feel like. Grief is hard, and sometimes I want to run away from it. But life is hard, and I am deeply moved by grief. My life has been changed by my baby Gaby, and the way I live has been changed by grief. And we have hardly moved through this thing without complaint. I frequently think about how it’s not fair. I never would have chosen this. I’ve been angry. I’ve been doubtful. I’ve tried to do everything I could to change the outcome. But none of that matters. Because there’s nothing I could do, and I think deep down in my heart I’ve known that all along. In January our lives shifted forever, and we were knocked off our feet by learning something we’d never thought of or heard of was wrong with our baby. In the past eight months, I would hardly describe myself as stoic. And really, I don’t want to be. Even when it hurts, even when it’s the hardest and the worst, I want to feel. I want to be moved by the joys and the sorrows of this life.
I can understand where this person came from in thinking I was stoic. I had brief encounter with her where I shared about losing my baby. And often these days when I share with someone I share the facts and give a brief story. Depending on the person and whether or not they ask questions I tell them more. But if someone asks me about my children or hears that I had a baby a few months ago and asks how tired I am, I tell them about Gabriel. I share his story. But we’re three months out now, and the crazy thing is that time moves on. And I’ve had to tell a lot of people that I’ve lost a child. For the most part, I can do that now without crying and breaking down. The thing is that it is our life, and I live it every day. I’m certainly not unaffected by it, and I think anyone who’s read my blog knows that. I’m very passionate about my children, very passionate about life, very passionate about grief, very passionate about it all. But perhaps I don’t convey that in a brief conversation.
We’ve had to learn a lot about how to talk to people. We had to figure out how to tell people we were expecting a baby who was going to die. We had to figure out who to tell, when to tell them, and how to handle it. And it’s similar now. Everything with Gabriel, everything this year, has been a great learning experience. I thought I had it down lately to where I shared it well, but maybe I don’t. Most of the time it just makes people uncomfortable to hear, and sometimes God blesses us with a moment with a truly sincere, genuinely broken for us person and that brings encouragement to our hearts. But I never want to come across to a stranger as someone who isn’t moved by the loss of my child. Only God knows how many times and how many people have seen me break down crying.
So as I think back on this moment today, this experience, it is a reminder to me of just how I tell my son’s story. It’s not just about sharing his story, but it’s also about sharing the hope we have that keeps us going. The reason I can sit and tell someone that I lost my son three months ago. The reason that I know I will see him again one day. The reason that I trust God will redeem this. The reason I can teach my two year old why he doesn’t get to have his baby brother. The reason it’s late August, and we’re still here after the worst year of our lives. It’s all because our hope is in God. And that is everything.